Pope Francis to elevate journalist to sainthood
Carmelites: Canonization comes during ‘our present struggles against the venom of deceit, lies, fake news, historical revisionism and all other forms of disinformation’
Pope Francis is set to canonize a journalist revered as a “martyr of press freedom” and may be one of only two saints of the profession.
Titus Brandsma, one of 10 candidates for canonization at Vatican City on May 15 was a Dutch Carmelite priest, educator and journalist executed at the Dachau concentration camp on July 1942 for his refusal to publish Nazi propaganda in Catholic newspapers.
Brandsma was subjected to hardship and starvation and killed with carbolic acid injection in the same year. He was 61.
Brandsma’s fellow Carmelites in the country said they rejoice at the martyr’s ”much anticipated” elevation to the Roman Church’s roster of saints, saying his canonization is a gift to the order in the Philippines.
“The canonization of Titus Brandsma is truly a milestone and an inspiration, not only for the Church but particularly for Filipino Carmelites,” Prior Provincial of the Philippine Province Rev. Fr. Rico P. Ponce, O.Carm. said in a statement.
Brandsma is the patron of the Order of the Carmelites in the Philippines (formally the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel), a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order for men and women.
“Having our Province named after this modern-day martyr and mystic is made more meaningful by our own present struggles against the venom of deceit, lies, fake news, historical revisionism and all other forms of disinformation,” Fr. Ponce said.
“We have much to learn and to imitate from Titus Brandsma, who defended Truth and Press Freedom until his dying breath,” Fr. Ponce added.
The Carmelites in the Philippines named an institution and a program after the “martyr of the faith” patron.
The Titus Brandsma Media Center in Quezon City is learning resource institute for media education and pastoral care for media professionals while its Titus Brandsma Media Awards honors media practitioners “whose work reflect of truth, freedom, and genuine service to the poor and marginalized.”
Fr. Ponce said Brandsma’s canonization comes at a time when the country is “currently embroiled in a battle against the vicious enemies of truth, as well as those who try to manipulate the use of media and communication technology for their own selfish ends.”
“It is a great consolation for us to have someone from a not-so-distant generation praying and interceding for us in our current struggles, and who knows how it is to be persecuted for defending his beliefs in the light of his faith,” Fr. Ponce added.
Brandsma was director of Catholic newspapers in The Netherlands like Maximilian Kolbe who the Roman Church earlier named patron saint of journalists. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)