Monday 27 July 2015

Blessed Titus Brandsma, Pray for Us

Happy feast to all members of this Guild and to all readers! Today is 27th July, the Feast of our holy patron, Blessed Titus Brandsma, patron of Catholic journalists, of this Guild of Catholic bloggers, as well as its members and those who out of love for the Faith, make contributions to this blog. To all readers, happy feast! The following is a brief biography from the site Universalis.

He was born in Bolsward in the Netherlands. He was baptized Anno Sjoerd Brandsma. He joined the Carmelites in 1898 and took the religious name Titus. He was a professor of philosophy and active in journalism. He was vehemently opposed to Nazi ideology and spoke out against it many times before the Second World War. He was arrested in January 1942, when he tried to persuade Dutch Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda (as was required by the law of the Nazi German occupiers). He had also drawn up the Pastoral Letter, read in all Catholic parishes, by which the Dutch Roman Catholic bishops officially condemned the German anti-Semitic measures and the deportation of the first Jews. After this Pastoral Letter, the first few thousand Jews to be deported from the Netherlands were all Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism, including St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). Titus Brandsma was killed by lethal injection in Dachau on July 26, 1942.

The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma was established in May of 2011 by a small group of bloggers led by a wise and faithful steward of the Guild, Dylan Parry, the first Chairman, dedicated to the proclamation of the Catholic Faith, using the internet to evangelise the World under the patronage of the Carmelite Priest who died at Dachau, a martyr at the hands of the Nazi regime.

His letters written from prison can be read here. He died by lethal injection on July 26th 1942. His last letter was written on July 12th 1942 and nothing in that letter suggests even a hint that the life of our patron was about to be extinguished at the prison camp. If he was given a forewarning of the taste of martyrdom he was about to win, it was not revealed in his letters. His simple last words in writing were:

'Many greetings to the parish priest and curates at Bolsward, to Father Provincial and all the Confreres. Let us remain united, under the protection of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Not too much worrying about me. In Christ yours. Anno.'

How quickly then, how abruptly then, how without solemn warning, death and evil, while never having the last word, the word that belongs to Jesus Christ - the Word, can smother the virtuous, the upright and the godly. Yet evil does not win. It's triumph is short-lived. It cannot contend with Eternity and in the face of the Lord's own brightness, the darkness of evil is scattered. Christ is Victor! He rose from the dead, destroying its power and the power of evil over the human race.

2011 was not long ago, yet things have changed in that short space of time. It was a year different to this year only in as much as the evils of the age were slightly less rampant. Abortion was, as it is today, a blight on the seared conscience of the West. Since then, same-sex marriage laws, promised never to occur by politicians in the UK have been passed into law. The destruction of the family and marriage continues at such an astonishing pace that we are unsure whether what we are witnessing is inhuman socialism or a kind of corporate-State fascism by sleight of hand. The creation and horrifying military successes of Islamic State have happened very quickly and taken almost everyone by surprise.

Documented on this blog are the concerning and distressing events we have seen held in Rome, which shake the goodwill and confidence of those who, like us, believe all that the Catholic Church teaches by Her Magisterium to be true and revealed by God. In many ways, 2011 were happier times, before the unjust marriage laws were established over the United Kingdom, the United States of America and swathes of what we knew as Catholic Europe and Latin America.

Guild members in the United States are preparing themselves for an intense persecution of the Catholic Church by the Government. Already, the Church is in a battle with the State over the issue of artificial contraception being mandated in health insurance coverage. The battleground remains what we were promised it would be about: the opposing views that cannot be reconciled, life, true love, marriage and the family, and death, false, hedonistic self-love and the exaltation of disordered sexuality and lifestyles to the detriment of the common good and the human family.

In the United Kingdom, we cannot rest easy, with a malignant Government eager to use terrorism and anti-terror laws to curtail freedom of speech by insidious 'Extremist Defence Orders' and the inexorable rise of the campaign for assisted suicide that could find its dramatic culmination in the Marris Bill this September. Like for same-sex marriage, there is no great mass movement asking for 'assisted dying' in the United Kingdom, but the Mass Media can easily create the impression that such a great mass movement exists. 'Extremist Defence Orders' could easily make criminals of Protestants, Muslims and Catholics and what a prison cell interfaith and ecumenical gathering that would be.

Nazism rose quickly and with it came voluntary euthanasia a drive for euthanasia, a bloodthirsty attack on the Jews, predominately, but not alone. Targeted for elimination were also those who did not 'fit' in or were deemed 'economically unproductive', as well as those racially deemed to be 'impure', in addition to homosexuals, political dissidents and uncooperative priests and religious. To this list we can add the terminally and mentally ill, those whose lives an efficient Nazi State would deem worthless and without human value, if they were to be treated as human at all.

We in the West know that goodness and virtue are fast disappearing from the public sphere and for those who uphold the truth even to exist is becoming to the powerful of this age a great inconvenience. The Mass Media are doing, in this country and in the US, as well as Europe, everything they can do to hasten the demolition of Christian civilization - and with it - destroy the family, marriage, the Church and all that we have hitherto understood to be sacred, good and holy.

We must realise, by now, that while Nazism was itself ended by the victory of the allies in WW2, but the tyranny of evil itself was not destroyed, just as Soviet Russia was defeated, but its errors had spread far from its borders to other lands. The Nazi regime ended but in the West today we must understand that evil regimes are the product of each ages' evils. A persecution - the intensity of which is unknown - is coming to the Church of Christ and to all who oppose might over right, all who uphold the dignity of the human person, of the unborn, of the family, marriage and the poor as well as freedom of speech. Terrible regimes can be fostered simply by the prevailing ideology and endemic godlessness of the age.

We may have and value our democracy, but democracies can easily become regimes when error and evil is accepted within the corridors of power and power is seen as an end and a good in itself. Democracy gave the world Adolf Hitler and an ideology that named as enemies of the State those who opposed the concept of 'might over right' and all this was done in the name of 'German values', just as in the UK that we are being told to respect 'British values' and that if we do not, we are dangerous to the people. This strategy of manipulation will doubtless be replayed across Europe. Assisted suicide must be rejected.

The State must not be allowed to hasten or to be active participants in the direct killing of its citizens. No matter how you dress it up, that is what assisted suicide is. No State should have power over life and death. No State can redefine marriage.

No State should dare to uphold in law its right to intervene in pregnancy by killing a child and wounding a mother. A Government that does these things - that ventures into those realms that belong to God alone - will never serve its people faithfully, but will destroy those it is elected to serve.

God our Father, source of life and freedom, through Your Holy Spirit you gave the Carmelite, Titus Brandsma the courage to affirm human dignity even in the midst of suffering and degrading persecution. Grant us that same spirit so that, in refusing all compromise with error we may always and everywhere give coherent witness to Your abiding presence among us. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Titus Brandsma, faithful witness to Christ, heroic priest and exemplary model for Catholic journalists, martyr of Dachau, pray for us!

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