The Order of Carmelites in the Philippines and all members of the Carmelite family in the country welcomed the Vatican announcement of the “much anticipated” canonization of the Dutch priest in Rome on May 15, 2022.
Titus Brandsma, one of 10 candidates for sainthood who will be canonized by Pope Francis, was a Dutch Carmelite priest, educator and journalist who was executed at the Dachau concentration camp on July 26, 1942, for his refusal to publish Nazi propaganda in Catholic newspapers.
Because his heroic campaign to educate the public and resist misinformation cost him his life, Brandsma is often referred to as a “Defender of Truth” and a “Martyr of Press Freedom.”
“The canonization of Titus Brandsma is truly a milestone and an inspiration, not only for the Church but particularly for Filipino Carmelites,” said Father Rico P. Ponce, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Philippine Province.
“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,” said the priest.
“We are 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,” Father Ponce added.
“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,” he said.
The priest said everyone has “much to learn — and to imitate — from Titus Brandsma, who defended truth and Press Freedom until his dying breath.”
Father Ponce said that for many years, the Philippine Carmel has been working to honor the memory of its holy patron through various initiatives, such as the Titus Brandsma Media Center, which extends learning resources for media education and pastoral care for media professionals.
The religious congregation has also established the Titus Brandsma Media Awards, which honors outstanding media practitioners whose work reflect the values of truth, freedom, and genuine service to the poor and marginalized.
The Carmelites in the country are also active in its involvement in various initiatives and movements for “justice, peace, and integrity of creation.”