Priest and war hero Titus Brandsma is canonized by Pope

Pope Francis has announced that the Dutch priest Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) will be canonized. The bishops and cardinals of the Congregation for Canonies had already proposed that and the Pope is taking that advice.

The consistory of cardinals has yet to ratify the canonization and once that has been done, the date of the canonization will also be announced.

Titus Brandsma belonged to the Order of the Carmelites. He became a priest at the beginning of the last century and in the mid-twenties also professor at the then brand new Catholic University Nijmegen, the precursor of Radboud University. Later, he became rector magnificus there.

In that position, Brandsma spoke out against emerging Nazism and against racial hatred as early as the 1930s. After World War II broke out, Brandsma asked Catholic newspapers not to post Nazi propaganda. He also opposed the removal of Jewish pupils from Catholic high schools.

Dachau Concentration Camp

At the beginning of 1942, he was arrested by the German occupier. For some time he was stuck in the prison of Scheveningen and in Kamp Amersfoort. Eventually, he was transferred to Dachau, a concentration camp near Munich, where he died on July 26, 1942, after a campparts had given him a lethal injection. In 1982, Brandsma was posthumously awarded the Resistance Memorial Cross.

The veneration of Brandsma started soon after the war. In many Dutch places, churches, schools and streets are named after him. In 1985, Pope John Paul II decided to blessed him, the final step towards a canonization.

It is not the first time that a Catholic who died in a Nazic concentration camp is canonized. Earlier this happened with the Polish priest Maximilian Kolbe and the German nun Edith Stein, who was Jewish. They both died in Auschwitz.