KR-3 EN 68

68. Apostolic World Confederation

It was particularly difficult to find a representative text on Schoenstatt’s third goal – the constitution and leadership of a federally structured Apostolic World Confederation. On the one hand, there are studies written by Fr Kentenich on this subject (e.g. long passages in the “General’s Letter” of 1956, and his “Thoughts on the Apostolic World Confederation”, written in 1962 in the third person), which deal with this third goal comprehensively, but in such a way that central statements are so strongly embedded in an historical context that it would have been necessary to quote them out of context. On the other hand, the goal of the Apostolic World Confederation is such a complex subject – especially when we consider the historical development within Schoenstatt and the tremendous tension between the practical realisation at the moment, and its final configuration and goal – that a single text, no matter how central it might be, could not encompass the subject in such a way that it could be considered representative of the whole reality.
So no other choice was left to the editors than to compile a text from various sources. As a result it lacks the unity of a single text in keeping with the usual style of our Reader. So, contrary to our usual practice, the source is given at the end of each individual text.
In order to give a better survey of the whole subject, a brief summary is given in this introduction. Although the texts do not keep exactly to the arrangement given here, they should take their bearings from it, because the main emphasis of each text follows the structure given here.

I. The historical root of Schoenstatt’s third goal is to be found in Fr Kentenich’s believing acceptance of St Vincent Pallotti’s mission in 1916, and in the way he understood this mission. What is at issue is not just the universal apostolate, but an organisation that would co-ordinate and inspire all the apostolic forces of the Church. Fr Kentenich was convinced that this “mammoth mission” could not be carried out without a special divine initiative and a corresponding spirituality, such as can be found in the covenant of love of 18 October 1914.
The combination of St Vincent Pallotti’s mission with Schoenstatt’s original spirituality was the decisive reason for the tensions between the Pallottine Society (242) and Schoenstatt, that finally led to their separation.
This separation required in the end that a new community, the Schoenstatt Fathers, had to be founded. According to Fr Kentenich’s thinking and intention, the mission and task of a “pars centralis et motrix”, which included the Apostolic World Confederation, passed over to this community. So what is said in the following texts about the Pallottine Society, now applies to the Schoenstatt Fathers.
The challenge of Schoenstatt and Palloti accepting one another, however, affected not only the Pallottine Society. It is also directed to Schoenstatt, to the extent that it devotes itself to bringing about the Apostolic World Federation. It has to recognise St Vincent Pallotti and his mission, and become attached to him. From this point-of-view – and only from this point-of-view – he is also a “point of contact”, or “permanent head”.

2. The strategy Fr Kentenich applied could not possibly begin with an attempt to co-ordinate all the apostolic forces in the Church. It would have seemed an absolutely preposterous pretension. Fr Kentenich chose the route of founding his own communities based on Schoenstatt’s covenant of love. In relation to the Apostolic World Federation they form only the first wing. However, the organisation of this wing is federal, while its spiritual orientation is such that it can act as a model for the Apostolic World Confederation.
Just as the constitution of the first wing depended completely on divine guidance as read from the signs of the times, so the constitution of the second wing will have to follow the same method.
Fr Kentenich saw such a sign of divine guidance in the “Catholic Action” proclaimed by Pope Pius XI, with the intention of collecting all apostolic forces under one umbrella body.

3. The final configuration of the Apostolic World Confederation, therefore, comprises a first wing, which is united in Schoenstatt’s covenant of love, and a second wing, in which all the other apostolic forces in the Church collaborate, each with its own spirituality and preserving its autonomy. The “pars centralis et motrix”, which would include representatives of all the communities involved, is the umbrella body uniting both wings.
The structure of such an Apostolic World Confederation is based on St Vincent Pallotti’s idea of the “Procura”, (243) but organises them, at least in Schoenstatt as the first wing, not according to the nature of the apostolate, but according to the degree of the apostolate.

4. Dependence of the whole confederation on the first wing.
The “complementary founding act” of 1916 can be tellingly expressed in an image. It is possible to graft a piece of one fruit tree into another. This branch or twig will bear the fruits of the tree from which it is taken, but it will be wholly nourished by the roots and the vitality of the tree into which it is grafted. Similarly, the realisation of the Apostolic World Confederation will draw its life from Schoenstatt, as the tree rooted in the 18 October 1914, if its mission is to be carried out from Schoenstatt. So if Church authorities were to forbid Schoenstatt from building up such an Apostolic World Confederation, this branch would be cut off from Schoenstatt, the tree. However, Schoenstatt’s mission of bringing about the new person and the new community, and saving the original mission of the West in salvation history, would continue to exist and bear fruit for the Church. Yet if the Church – and this was a very real danger in the past – were not to acknowledge the original covenant of love of 1914, and the divine initiative that brought it about, it would ring the death knell for Schoenstatt.
At the same time Fr Kentenich pointed out that the divine initiative of 18 October 1914 would remain incomplete without the goal of the Apostolic World Confederation, which may be seen as a powerful way of making Schoenstatt the heart of the Church. Both Pallotti’s foundation and Schoenstatt would remain a torso without the opposite pole.
It is necessary to add that the realisation of an Apostolic World Federation – if serious steps are undertaken in this regard – will essentially depend on how well the first wing, Schoenstatt, becomes profoundly united and learns to co-operate fruitfully in a Confederation, despite the juridical autonomy of the individual communities, in order to be a credible foundation on which to build the second wing.

1. Historical root

I first became aware of, and interested in, the uniqueness of Pallotti’s concept, and the possibility of carrying it out, in 1916. Read it up again in the text I have quoted. (244) There is the significant reference to Pallotti’s idea of organising the whole world. Think of classifying and centralising the entire apostolic work of the Church in “Prokuren”. So we are dealing here not simply with the universal apostolate and its unification and inspiration in connection with our Society. It is not as though a significant outward undertaking had been started in this regard in the time that followed. On the contrary, not even the proximate forerunners of the planned system of “Prokuren” appeared in the Pallottine Movement. A fruitful no-man’s-land lies before us and awaits cultivation. On the other hand, we have to remember two historically important facts.

The first fact: Observe the calm development of ideas and life in the Family until then, as a result of the leading ideas and motivating forces I have described. (245) Compare with it the tremendous leap obviously connected with the acceptance of Pallotti’s concept. It is a leap into endless depths, heights and distances. I may and must admit that I would never have dared to take this ideological leap without Pallotti’s authority, at least, not at that time. To put it in our way of expressing things: The only chink God opened to me in this regard was Pallotti’s authority and worldwide mission. Actually the general public would have looked upon this tremendous goal as something grotesque and ludicrous, and would have branded the realisation of such an enormous structure as nonsensical, fantastic and utopian. Ever since then, however, it has increasingly been for me like the star that led the Wise Men, and allows me no peace. I have, at least in the background, orientated all my plans and undertakings to it, while at the same time taking great care to allow the law of the open door to direct one little step after another towards this towering mountain peak. (Letter to Fr Menningen, 31 January 1955, p. 12f.)


In the past I used to say in very general terms: At the time when Pallotti lived and worked, the times were not yet ripe for his ideas. This statement implies two things:

Firstly, the dissolution of circumstances had not yet progressed sufficiently for the new image of the world and Church, planned by God and expressed in the framework of Pallotti’s concept, to appear clearly enough in outline.

Secondly, God considered that the time had not come to call into existence the second essential element of the whole work, that is, Schoenstatt. So he waited for the “fullness of time” to come. In the meantime he has spoken his creative and omnipotent Fiat: et factum est! (246) Both essential elements now exist as they have rested in God’s plans from all eternity. Both are essentially interdependent. If they do not remain inseparably united as a two-in-oneness, both will simultaneously lose their completion, and hence determine the catastrophical development of the whole work, or, to put it better, either its partial or complete collapse.

Don’t you think the reverse could also apply? This by no means implies that the two partners don’t at the same time have a right to live and exist independently. The opposite is true. It is not without reason that we have spoken from the beginning about the autonomy and membership of both partners, or, about two central “axis points” that are equal in value.

Allow me to repeat this profession of faith so often, so understandably, and so continuously – even at the risk of being a nuisance – until it has become common knowledge. I am taking the time to describe it in various formulations and variations, and finally to illustrate it with a fable. (1956 Letter to the Superior General, Fr Wilhelm Möhler, p. 62 f. in the typewritten German text.)


When we think of our work as a whole, we want to distinguish between two pillars. We know the two pillars. The first pillar is Schoenstatt as it has developed in history; the second pillar is all that exists in the Church that is in some way coloured by the apostolate. If we want to specify Pallotti’s position more precisely, we mean his position in the framework of the first pillar, for Pallotti’s position in our pillar differs essentially from his position in the other pillar. Of course we cannot require the second pillar to give Pallotti the same position he has for us, because that contradicts the truth. The second pillar ultimately recognises Pallotti only objectively, and we recognise him personally. Objectively, that is, they defer to his idea and adopt it. It is a similar situation when I say: Here is a little community that is joining the Marian Sodality. On the whole the community doesn’t even know who the founder is. It was Fr Leunis. However, they join the work that has come into existence. This is the case when I think of the second pillar. If I think of the Jesuits, for example – I like to highlight them, because it is such an extreme example – if the Jesuits, or whatever apostolic community it may be, join the Apostolic World Confederation, we may not expect that this will happen overnight. Perhaps they won’t discuss who had the idea of forming the Apostolic World Confederation. However, if we do so – we in our section of the Movement, in our pillar – Pallotti has an essentially different position. Why? Together with him, and in dependence on him, we accept the whole responsibility for constituting, inspiring and leading the Apostolic World Confederation. The others don’t do this. (Milwaukee Tertianship 1963, Vol. 3, p. 190f.)


So can we say that also for our community of Schoenstatt Fathers, Pallotti is for us the permanent head? Can I say that Pallotti is also a point of contact, a permanent contact point, not just because of his idea, but also because of himself?

A great deal could be said for and against this idea. However, in order to clarify and continue the train of thoughts and the scrutiny, I want to add another thought. Let us suppose that tomorrow or the next day, the Salesians, or, let us exaggerate for a moment, even the Jesuits or Franciscans were to commit themselves to Pallotti, and co-operate in his work. Would that be in exactly the same way in which we commit ourselves to Pallotti, and at the same level? In my opinion this would never be the case. According to my way of thinking we, as the first pillar, also accept the mission from him. So it is not just a case of joining him and saying: We will cooperate in the confederation. No, we accept his mission, and we do so as an overall structure. To accept his mission means that we will see to it that the Apostolic World Confederation is constituted.

This goes significantly further than other communities can or will go later on. They love their founder in such a way that actually the Apostolic World Confederation is something accidental to them. Am I expressing it correctly when I say tentatively: For us the constitution of the Apostolic World Confederation is a central task? If you can enter into these thoughts, I think a great deal of light will fall on our fundamental relationship to Pallotti. However, let me tell you that this is not a makeshift solution. I consider it extremely important to state and to express that it has always been my fundamental attitude to Pallotti and his mission since 1916. If you can agree to it and enter into it, I think it would not be wrong initially to say: For us Pallotti is a point of contact, indeed, an essential contact point! It is as though we were to say: The Servites have seven founders, so each of the founders is an equal point of contact, of course from a different point-of-view.

May I repeat? If these things are true – and the historical facts are without doubt quite clear – we could say: It is not wrong to state that Pallotti has to be seen in our Family history as one of the permanent and essential contact points.

The Institutes and communities in the second pillar cannot say this of themselves. Why not? The individual communities are actually complete. They have not assimilated the central thoughts as an essential component, but as something accidental to them. With us it is essential. Can you understand, therefore, why we always say: We are Pallottines! If being a Pallottine means upholding Pallotti’s idea, (247) then we are Pallottines per eminentiam. (Milwaukee Tertianship 1963, Vol 3, p. 179-182)


2. Strategy

Carrying out this tremendous idea followed three stages. All three have to be seen as a whole, even if they are described separately.

[Stage I]

In the first place there is the belief and conviction in the conditional feasibility of the tremendous plan. […]

The historian will not find it difficult to establish that “faith” in Pallotti and his worldwide mission on its own is insufficient to explain Schoenstatt’s daring. Schoenstatt’s history points very clearly to the greatest world power that has creatively formed all that was ever planned and developed in Schoenstatt. It is our original covenant of love. It is unnecessary at this point to emphasise details. Knowledge about its nature, its greatness and effectiveness is simply presupposed. So, besides the “faith” in Pallotti, there appeared as an all-surpassing reality the “faith” in the fruitfulness of the above-mentioned covenant of love. What could be understood in some way or other as God’s plan has become a reality in the course of the years to the extent that it was connected with this covenant. Why should it not – thus the calculation based on faith – also apply to Pallotti’s tremendous goal?

Just as in other contexts “faith” without works is dead, so also in our case the daring of action, which always took its very careful bearings in every circumstance from the law of the open door and creative resultants, was added to the “faith” of the mind and heart.

[Stage 2]

This double law urged us, first of all, not to amalgamate all existing apostolic associations into a united phalanx (the reason is obvious), but to create many and varied original new foundations and assemble them into a united block, which gradually and increasingly experienced that it is the rightful wing of the planned Apostolic World Confederation,

[Stage 3]

that also tried as time went by to acquire a second wing that, in its final stage, will embrace all the existing communities (outside Schoenstatt) that by virtue of their Constitutions devote themselves to the apostolate. Both wings will then group around a pars centralis et motrix, which knows it is dependent on the Pope and Bishops, and which receives directives and instructions from them in order to pass them on and carry them out with a united front.

So as time went by, and in conscious contrast to Pallotti’s principle of organisation, which used the form of apostolate as its yardstick, the Schoenstatt League formations, the Federations and Institutes came into existence, which are distinguished by the degree of apostolate, as well as the degree of self-sanctification and cultivation of community life. In their relationship to one another and to the pars motrix et centralis, all the formations of the first wing, in exactly the same way as in the second wing, are juridically absolutely independent; but on the level of life the first wing is extremely closely united by the covenant of love, by the same spirituality and method of education, and by adopting Schoenstatt’s autonomous configuration and goal. Also in an organisational sense the formations – setting aside their juridical independence – are co-ordinated to one another to the extent that the lower levels are entitled to choose their leaders not only from their own ranks, but also from the higher structures, and to draw their cultivation of the spirit from there. (Study, Thoughts on the Apostolic World Federation, 1962, p. 3-5.)


Instead of theoretical discussions, which would in this instance be really inspiring, I want to use the opportunity to describe briefly what I have done until now to answer the question. You will again see how all the parts of Schoenstatt came into existence not merely from great concepts, but always through empathy with everyday life. A sense of reality was always connected with simple childlikeness and a sense based on simple faith that I had been given a mission. These three realities gave rise to the whole of my work. I think I may add that all this happened without any of my higher superiors – although they knew about the individual institutions – fully understanding the inner related realities in detail.

The question that moved me personally, and that had to be answered in some way, was: How could the ancient Orders, like the Jesuits, Benedictines and all the other associations and communities that had proved their worth, be brought into a certain dependence, as Pallotti understood it, or at least into a corresponding connection with his Society? To start with it seemed impossible, a fantastic undertaking. In order to use an image, it was as though a humming bird wanted to look after not one, but countless numbers of eagles. The opposite would be easier to comprehend.

The new divine initiative that had taken place in Schoenstatt, and the new breakthrough of grace in relation to Pallotti’s concept, and the new divine authentication of an obvious divine plan that resulted from it, awakened an unshakable faith in me, and motivated me to dare to follow new paths to reach what looked like an impossible, fantastic and audacious – if it wasn’t quite crazy – goal. Actually there were two new ways. I will repeat them again, because they were not followed by Pallotti.

So I waited until Schoenstatt’s autonomous source of knowledge – in its own way it was part of the new foundation of my work: practical faith in Divine Providence – gave a clear sign from above. This happened at the right time and was immediately answered in practice. Instead of waiting for the existing Orders and congregations, I personally founded a number of new communities. I did it deliberately according to the example of the Sisters of Mary, in the form of a Secular Institute. All of them were meant to be – in a similar way to the existing Orders and communities – completely independent: all of them together, together with the Pallottine Society as the born pars motrix et centralis, were meant to carry out and exemplify Pallotti’s concept, in order to draw in further groupings within the Church. In the process I constantly kept in sight the final goal – the consolidation of all apostolic communities, and their corresponding connection with our Society. I then waited, trusting completely in the divine mission that based itself on Schoenstatt and Pallotti, for the moment when the time was ripe and one community after another was led to us.

I repeat, as I have done so often: Without a new divine initiative, or authentication in and through Schoenstatt, I would have kept my hands off it, as all the others had done.

Wouldn’t you like to contemplate Schoenstatt’s history once again from this vantage point? Many things and events will then look different. I think it should not be difficult to bow down before the divine powers that are at work in Schoenstatt.

Truly, ‘He that is mighty has done great things for us, holy is his name’. (Letter to Fr Wilhelm Möhler, Superior General, 1956, 129-131, 133)


3. Final form

Perhaps, in this context it will be a good idea – at least for future generations – to lift the veil a little and allow you to look into the final stage of the mammouth work, as I see it and have tried for years with quiet and dogged energy to bring it about with my faithful followers. From here also my strategy since 1945 will be easier to understand. For many it seems to be a book with seven seals. Without knowledge about the inner related realities, especially the 31 May 1949, it will remain an irredeemable muddle, or an unforgivable blunder.

According to Pallotti’s concept, our Society, in dependence on the hierarchy – I will express myself in modern terms – is meant to be the pars motrix et centralis of Actio catholica (248) and all related apostolic foundations.

Please pause for a moment and become aware of the enormity of this goal. Reflect on how insignificant and unattractive our Society is. … Then consider: It is obvious that our immediate community will have to combine with the apostolic communities mentioned above, and, despite their juridical nature and autonomy, work closely with them to achieve this goal. (Letter to Fr Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 127f.)


The question now arises: How can we describe the collaboration between our Society and the other apostolic Orders, Congregations and communities? In practice this means: According to Pallotti’s idea, how can we be the pars motrix et centralis of them all, without limiting their freedom and independence unduly, but instead securing them sufficient place in the sun, that is, by sharing with them the task of inspiring and governing the whole work [as part of a Confederation]?

The ideal image of the Schoenstatt Movement presupposes two bodies which, with regard to the apostolate, are distinct yet co-operate in implementing a God-willed basic relationship. On the one hand there is the hierarchy, with the Pope at its head, and on the other hand, all apostolic organisations centred on the Pallottine Society as the uniting, inspiring and guiding focal point in the apostolic field, without on that account limiting the individual organisation in its autonomy, and without reducing the divinely documented rights of the hierarchy. The Pope is the centre and head of both bodies.

It is probably not sufficiently known even in our closest Family circles where the seeds of the starting points of our expansion into the mammouth work envisaged in this way can be found. It is even less known to the broadest public, according to which laws and structures the more remote development has been foreseen and prepared, and how the composition and the rights in the General Presidium in the final stage have been planned. I only want to remind you of all this very briefly in this context, so that we don’t talk at cross-purposes.

Unfortunately there is hardly anyone who is finally prepared to get involved with such vital questions. From experience I know that the discussion, if it even arises, always gets stuck half way. It is broken off before an ultimately valid answer has been given. Why does this happen? The one has no interest, the other lacks an insight into the actual problem, while still others painfully lack the ability, time and strength to confront the opposing difficulties. Besides this, most of those who are interested are so strongly caught up in the present battles that they are not prepared to lay down their weapons until the final goal has been reached. All too often it is unfortunately a matter – just as in a nursery where people are unable to see into the future or into the depths, and even less able to take serious and manly responsibility for their words and actions – of harmless and superficial banter and argument. The poet would say for it benignly: sunt pueri, pueri; pueri puerilia tractant. (249) In extenuation we could say that this is often based on ignorance of the real facts and circumstances. Often enough these pages have recorded examples of this and passed them on to posterity. (Letter to Fr Wilhelm Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 660-662)


One can be in doubt about what is better organisationally: centering such a Movement on a religious community, or on a loose group that is repeatedly renewed according to certain principles. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. In the course of the years, he [Fr Kentenich] (250) has repeatedly preferred the former idea. He did so not just because this was Pallotti’s conviction, but also as a result of personal insight into the psychological and sociological contexts. He liked to point to the advantages of a hereditary monarchy in order to shed light on his opinion. Of course, he saw clearly what character such a community would have to have as the pars motrix et centralis.

He highlighted two points on countless occasions. This was done most extensively in the Tertianships he conducted. In the process he first of all took for granted what Pallotti always emphasised, that such a Society would have to be imbued with the will to serve selflessly. (…) He repeatedly declared: If the aforementioned community is to do justice to its extremely difficult task, it must be a link between the secular and the religious clergy, and between religious and the laity, not only in its method of work, but above all ontologically. His entire work as an educator took its bearings from this goal. If we are to understand all the implications of this attitude and adaptation, we have to recall what the ontological character of a link includes for the individual and community in our present times. (Thoughts on the Apostolic World Confederation, 1962, p. 14f.)


When we look inwards on the structure and layout of the Directives (251) we will notice three things with great satisfaction:

1. The clearly recognisable foundation and root of Pallotti’s mammoth work. Whoever looks more closely will notice that all the possibilities of the apostolate are taken up, connected organically with self-sanctification, consolidated into an enormous work, and made dependent on an administration that is precisely adapted to hierarchical organisation, and recognises all documented, hierarchical rights.

2. At the same time full consideration was given to the distinctive existence and jurisdiction of other organisations, and the position of the mammoth work was outlined. It was not to be terminated. Schoenstatt tried to inspire it, and to appoint and educate leaders for it. So the foundation for both has been laid down: Schoenstatt as ens in se, and Schoenstatt as ens in aliis. (252)

3. Pallotti’s point-of-view for the organisation he had foreseen had been deliberately abandoned and replaced with another. Pallotti’s formal differentiation was the form of the apostolate: spiritual and material support for the work of the Church. Ours … is the degree of apostolate. (Letter to Fr Wilhelm Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 101f.)


The overall situation of the Church is more favourable to an Apostolic World Confederation today than ever before. Opinions increasingly differ everywhere. Many boundaries between countries, peoples and nations collapse overnight. The concentration of people and initiatives, on the one hand, demands a concentration and guidance of forces, on the other. That is why the Popes never tire of calling for the collection, inspiration and guidance of all apostolic forces – regardless of their specific character. That is why the plan again appears in the foreground which Pallotti designed a hundred years ago, but was unable to carry out. (Letter to Fr Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 675)


4. Dependence on the first wing

Let me repeat what I have said so often before: Without a new divine initiative, or authentication in and through Schoenstatt, I, like everyone else, would never have touched it.

The newly founded Institutes were envisaged as such in their connection with the Pallottine Society as a whole – in the same way as all the other affiliated Orders and communities. They were meant to be the pars motrix of the Movement along with the Pallottine Society, that is to say, they were meant to promote and inspire the Movement. However, the members who were exempted in order to work on a fulltime basis in serving the Movement, had, together with the Pallottine Society – to the extent that the work was at issue – the same rights and duties as the pars motrix et centralis.

All the newly founded Institutes live from the covenant of love with the MTA. For them it is the source of their life and grace. All have the same founder. All pursue the same goal: the new person without vows in a new community without vows that belong to the state of perfection. With their many and varied common ties and interests, it showed that – at least as long as the head of the Family was still functioning as such – it was relatively easy to keep them together, and to unite them into a large, common Family. The fundamental relationship to one another, to the Pallottine Society, and to the hierarchy, has in the meantime been regulated by the General Statutes. … Now my work as such – like a well-equipped battle fleet – should set out onto the high seas. However, everywhere they lacked a clear plan and coherent leadership. So the danger is great that the fleet will disband into smaller units, and that it will break apart and end up in pathetic destruction. Yet, according to the original plans, what had been achieved so far was only meant to be the first great stage in the battle for unification according to Pallotti’s concept.

The second has to follow: the slow confluence of the apostolic Orders and Congregations – without prejudicing their juridical autonomy – into our riverbed. To express it more clearly: The newly founded entities, about which we have talked so far, all share the same character of not having vows. It is a matter of course that the mammoth work will gradually also intergrate entities that gladly take vows, and allow them to share in the leadership. So they also have to have a seat and vote according to the established model, partly in the pars motrix, and partly in the pars motrix et centralis. Otherwise the work will lose its universality and thrust. However, if we find it so difficult to govern and inspire our own Society, which is by no means so terribly large, we will be even less able – as the past years have shown – to keep those entities together which are essentially identical to us. How are we, then, to dare to aspire to leading a fully developed and mammouth work in a meaningful way, as Pallotti planned it? Add to this the inevitable tensions with the hierarchy and the existing Orders. Finally, think of the lack of a strategic tradition. Then you will again feel the whole force of our task.

From this vantage point all the questions that have excited minds, and still excite them, take on a new character. Come what may there is one demand that is indispensible: We have to burst the inherent and often carefully cultivated narrow-mindedness, pettiness and timidity, if we are to be able to carry out our great mission. (Letter to Fr Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 131f.)


Third question (253): If the Apostolic World Confederation is the umbrella term, and Schoenstatt is called its first wing, it would seem that Schoenstatt was created for the Apostolic World Confederation.

Answer: Schoenstatt was also founded and constructed on account of the Apostolic World Confederation, but not exclusively for it. It is not without reason that we distinguish between a twofold configuration and goal: an autonomous one that is directly connected with the central act of foundation. It is: the new person in the new community with a universal apostolic character. Since 1916 we have adopted the idea of the Apostolic World Confederation from Pallotti. Since then we have spoken of an external configuration and goal. Both can easily be combined. It is easy to prove from history that both have simultaneously influenced the development of the Movement in their own way. However there is also the philosophical consideration that the causa finalis essentially co-determines the causa formalis. It is equally obvious that Schoenstatt would also have a right to exist if the higher Church authorities were to forbid the Apostolic World Confederation. It would then only have one task, to carry out its autonomous goal. However, it is quite another question whether the Apostolic World Confederation would come into existence, continue to exist and develop fruitfully without Schoenstatt. In abstract terms it would have to be affirmed; seen in practical terms, that is, on the basis of the historical context and development, it would have to be negated. (Thoughts on the Apostolic World Confederation, 1962, p. 18)


[Once again a description of the key concern]

I am sure you will understand that I do not want to close this section of my letter without taking the opportunity to enter into my personal and most central key concern once again. I don’t think I am mistaken if I also see and evaluate it in a similar way as the key concern of Vincent Pallotti and the MTA.

Should I say: We are dealing here with an integral Schoenstatt and an integral Pallotti? Or do I hit the nail more precisely on the head when I state: In the interests of an integral Pallotti we are concerned with an integral Schoenstatt? But also vice versa: In the interests of an integral Schoenstatt we are concerned with an integral Pallotti? Both are correct, both are important. How often in the course of the years have I not described the same key thoughts in various ways. The key idea is: without an integral Schoenstatt, I personally consider Pallotti’s concept utopian. I am basing myself on philosophical and theological knowledge and rich experience in life, as well as on my observation of life. With an integral Schoenstatt I consider it feasible.

From the beginning (since 1916) this has been my belief and conviction. It was strengthened as the years went by. Today I am even more convinced of it. At any rate one thing is unalterably and irrevocably certain: As far as Schoenstatt is concerned, nothing has happened in this regard since 1914, absolutely nothing has developed; since 1916 nothing has been done to carry out Pallotti’s concept as a whole without the most vital contact with the covenant of love. Everything that has come into existence in both directions bears the very distinctive stamp of this complete interdependence. If the law omne regnum iisdem mediis continetur, quibus conditum est (254) applies everywhere else, why should it be different here? Who and what can prevent us from coming to the conclusion: If someone believes and is convinced that God’s plan has essentially orientated the two partners to each other, or that it is God’s idea that the two should exist in an indivisible two-in-oneness, it does not mean that the mind is exaggerating and confused, or the heart has become hardened. If we base ourselves on the foundations of the general law of building and orientation: Ordo essendi est ordo agendi, we will not find it difficult to draw the immediate conclusion: What God has united so closely, may not be wickedly separated or torn apart by people. (Letter to Fr Möhler, Superior General, 1956, p. 62f.)

(242) When Fr Kentenich speaks of “our Society” in these texts, he is referring to the Pallottine community (Society of the Catholic Apostolate).
(243) The Italian Word Procura, derived from the Latin procurare (care for), can mean: Representative, mandate. Pallotti adoped this ancient concept to designate the individual sections of his apostolic work. [Heinrich] Schulte therefore called the Prokuren the apostolic committees or working groups. The emphasis is placed on the central committee in Rome and the local committee in a town, city, or parish. …The whole world is divided into twelve areas, and a member of the Council takes responsibility for each of these areas under the protection of one of the Apostles. (Cf. B. Bayer, Zweifel, J. (ed).: Vinzenz Pallotti, Ausgewählte Texte, Friedberg, 1985.)
(244) Letter to Josef Fischer, 22 May 1916, (Cf. Text 14): “I envisage an organization – similar to the one into which our revered founder wanted to divide the whole word – that could offer our studying youth a substitute for the Sodalities that have been forbidden, a bulwark and counterbalance to the monistic Youth Movement. Dreams! Of course! But if they become a reality one day, it will need a lifetime to carry them out prudently, purposefully and organizationally.”
(245) In the letter (to Fr Menningen, 31 January 1955, p. 8): “The guiding idea was and is the new person in the new community characterised by the universal apostolate. The motivating force is a high degree of simple faith in Divine Providence as the effect of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” Subject developed in “Schlüssel zum Verständnis Schönstatts” [Key to Understanding Schoenstatt], p. 148-184.
(246) Let there be … And there was… (cf. Gen 1,3).
(247) Fr Wilhelm Möhler, Pallottine Superior General, in a letter of 6 September 1956, quoted “a letter from the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, of 7 July 1956,” which states, among other things, “… ‘Schoenstatt … is nothing else than a special form of apostolate of the Pallottine Family founded by Blessed Vincent Pallotti.’ … Through this statement, and quoting the General Statutes, Schoenstatt is recognised as Pallotti’s foundation. … So it is not correct to adopt two titles, Pallotti and Schoenstatt, or to place this work on two axis points. The concept of a bipolar structure is expressly rejected: ‘It is only a question of a work founded by Blessed Vincent’… This (form of apostolate, Schoenstatt) is not equal with and equivalent to Pallotti, but has to be integrated into him.”
The letter of 7 July referred to above was a decisive trigger for Fr Kentenich’s decision to separate himself from the Pallottine Society, and to found a new pars centralis et motrix.
(248) Catholic Action
(249) Children are children and children do childish things. (Roman saying)
(250) Fr Kentenich is writing here in the third person.
(251) The reference here is to the unchanged Directives that were drawn up when the Apostolic Federation was founded in 1919.
(252) Schoenstatt as an entity in its own right, and Schoenstatt as an entity in collaboration with others.
(253) The first question, which is not dealt with here, was:
Is the umbrella term ‘Apostolic World Confederation ’ in which there are two wings?
The first wing is Schoenstatt as it has developed historically, the second comprises all the apostolic formations within the Curch as a whole, which – without prejudice to their juridical autonomy – join it of their own accord.
Answer: Yes, that is correct.
Second question: As a member, does Schoenstatt also belong to the second wing?
Answer: No!
(254) Every kingdom is preserved by the means with which it was founded.