Information for the Schoenstatt Movement
on the status of the legal proceedings
concerning statements in the publication
„Vater darf das!“ (ISBN 978-3-95948-494-7)
After the publication of the book “Vater darf das!” in October 2020, our Secular Institute initiated legal action against the author Dr. Alexandra von Teuffenbach and the publisher Traugott Bautz. In the book, among other things, the accusation of sexual abuse is made against Father Joseph Kentenich.
Our concern was to prevent corresponding allegations, which seriously damage the person of Fr. Kentenich, from being spread in public or presented as proven fact without reliable evidence. The fact that accusations are made against a person or can be found in archives does not necessarily mean that these accusations are correct or true. Our action is therefore aimed at protecting Father Kentenich’s personal rights even after his death.
On September 16, 2021, the District Court of Berlin dismissed the application for a preliminary injunction. We have already informed you about this.
In the reasons for the ruling, which were made available to us on October 7, 2021, the District Court weighed the protection of Father Kentenich’s personal rights against the rights of the author and the publisher.
The court did not undertake an investigation into whether the accusations made against Father Kentenich were true. Rather, the court granted academic freedom the widest possible scope. This includes “irrationality” as well as “one-sidedness and gaps” in the presentation. “Minor opinions and research approaches and results that prove to be erroneous or flawed” are also “encompassed by academic freedom.” The court considers a limit to academic freedom to be the “gross distortion” of a person’s good reputation, for example “through untrue or at least unprovable factual allegations against which the person concerned cannot defend himself.”
In Father Kentenich’s case, there is no proof that the accusations made are true. Nevertheless, the court does not consider his personal rights to have been violated by the serious accusation of sexual abuse. We cannot follow this line of reasoning.
We therefore reserve the right to take further legal action.
We would like to emphasize once again that the historical reappraisal of the visitation and exile time of our founder is an important concern for us. As before, we will continue to actively pursue and support the ongoing research.
Mount Schoenstatt, October 10, 2021