Pope advances causes of holiness, including Dutch priest murdered in Dachau



Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma, paving the way for the canonization of the 20th century martyr murdered at the Dachau concentration camp.

The Dutch Carmelite brother was sent to Dachau for treason – after defending Jews and freedom of the press – and was killed by lethal injection.

The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision in his case and a number of other holiness causes on November 25.

Dachau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Germany most associated with the genocide of thousands of Jews during WWII, also had over 2,700 clergy, including 2,400 Catholic priests.

Blessed Brandsma was sent there after urging editors of the Dutch Catholic press to violate a new Third Reich law and not to publish any Nazi propaganda. He also denounced Nazism as “a sewer of lies that must not be tolerated,” Dianne Traflet, assistant professor of pastoral theology and associate dean of graduate studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, told ‘a lecture at the National Museum of World War II in 2018.

Addressing the nurse in charge of giving her the fatal injection in July 1942, Father Brandsma assured her of his goodness as a child of God, gave her her rosary and encouraged her to pray. . The priest’s example of love, forgiveness and human dignity led the nurse to return to her Catholic faith after the war, Ms. Traflet said.

Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Caroline Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate de Lourdes.

The Vatican did not immediately announce the dates of the canonization ceremonies.

Among other decrees signed on November 25, the Pope recognized the martyrdom of five priests who were executed by members of the Paris Commune as his revolutionary government was violently crushed by the French army in 1871.

Father Vincentien Henri Planchart and Father du Sacré-Cœur Ladislas Radigue and three companions were killed by “hatred for the faith” on May 26, 1871. The French section of Vatican News identified the three companions as the Fathers of the Sacred. Cœur Polycarpe Tuffier, Marcellin Rouchouze and Frézal Tardieu.

They were a handful of the 75 members of the clergy and 35 soldiers taken hostage and executed during the massacre on rue Haxo by members of the Paris Commune during the repression of the commune after 71 days in power. Soldiers of the National Guard seized power in Paris in March 1871 to establish a social democracy favoring workers, abolishing child labor and separating Church and State.

The rebels, known as the Communards, confiscated Church property, abolished religious education, and held the clergy with other prominent figures hostage against reprisals from the French army. French military forces eventually took control of Paris and executed at least 20,000 suspected Communards during what became “bloody week”.

The other decrees approved by Pope Francis recognized:

  • The heroic virtues of the Italian bishop Antonio Bello de Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, born in 1935 and died in 1993. He was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, established a drug addiction treatment center and visited to Italian immigrants from his diocese who moved to Australia, Argentina and Venezuela. He was the national president of Pax Christi and a vocal critic of international conflicts and the militarization of his region of Puglia with NATO bombers.
  • The heroic virtues of the Discalced Carmelite Father Juan de San Pedro Ustarroz, born in Spain in 1564 and died in Italy in 1615. He actively participated in the founding of the Italian congregation of the order, promoted the beatification of Saint Teresa of Ávila in 1614 and wrote numerous volumes on theology, Sacred Scripture, religious life and mysticism.
  • The heroic virtues of the Italian father Giorgio Guzzetta of the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philippe Neri, born in 1682 and died in 1756. He promoted and supported the priests and the religious traditions of the Byzantine and Eastern rites in the south of the Italy, as well as Albanian immigrants.
  • The heroic virtues of Sister Natalina Bonardi, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Mary of Loreto, born in Italy in 1864 and died in 1945.
  • The heroic virtues of Sister Maria Dositea Bottani, Superior General of the Ursuline Sisters of Gandino, born in 1896 and died in 1970.
  • The heroic virtues of Odette Vidal de Oliveira, a Brazilian born in 1931 and died in 1939 after contracting typhus. She nourished her relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist and was particularly devoted to Saint Joseph.



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