Fr. Titus Bransdma was a Dutch Carmelite priest who was killed by the Nazis at Dachau by lethal injection on July 26, 1942.
A seminary professor, expert on mysticism, and advisor to Dutch Catholic journalists, he did not flinch from speaking out against the evils of Nazism.
In 1935, while Holland was still free, he wrote and went on a lecture tour in opposition to marriage laws that restricted the rights of Jews.
After Holland was invaded by Germany in 1940, he advised the Catholic newspapers that they should refuse to publish Nazi propaganda and advertising.
After spending several months in various prisons, where he wrote a biography of St. Teresa of Avila, he was sent to Dachau. There his health failed and he was sent to the hospital, not a place of healing but of horrid medical experimentation. There he was killed.
What strikes me is his willingness to speak out boldly, even though he knew that it would cost his life.
Some would say he was imprudent. He should have been less outspoken and tried to oppose the Nazis more diplomatically, some might way.
But prudence is not cowardly refusal to speak up in the face of risks. The virtue of prudence is the capacity to know what should be done and then do it, not counting the personal costs.
False prudence lets injustice and violence go on without speaking out. Real prudence means being a witness to the truth, “speaking truth to power,” using the pointed Quaker as the Quakers say.
Blessed Titus Brandsma was a martyr, a witness. May he inspire us – and many in the Church – to witness to the truth in the face of attacks on the poor, the weak, the marginalized.