Blessed Titus’s final tweet

69 years ago today, Blessed Titus Brandsma breathed his last breath in concentration camp Dachau. The exact circumstances in which this holy priest died are not known, but it is certain that he was murdered, both through exhaustion, hard labour, physical violence, as through lethal injection. And with today’s remembering of his birth into heaven, Blessed Titus also stops tweeting.

“In paradisum deducant te angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem” was the text of the final tweet, taken from the Requiem Mass.

For more than seven months, Twitter users were able to follow the final months of the life of the Carmelite priest in both English and Dutch. The accounts gathered 170 and 1,363 followers respectively. Katholiek Nederland announces this milestone here, and promises to continue with “ways in which we can allow this In Memoriam show an extra stage on social media”, but sadly won’t continue to do so in English. A shame, since the project that ended today,was duly noted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in February. I wonder what could have been achieved in the future if dual-language projects were to continue.

Through which ordeals of conscience, of character, of the heart, did a follower of Christ who kept His words about loving the enemy in mind, have to go! To not answer hate with hate, but with love. Perhaps that s one of the greatest ordeals of the moral strengths of man.

Titus Brandsma emerged victorious from this ordeal. Where hate ruled, he managed to love; even his guards: “They too are children of the good Lord,”  he said, “and perhaps something will stick in them…”


And today the face of Father Titus Brandsma also appears before us and on it we see his radiant smile in God’s glory. He speaks to the faithful of his country, the Netherlands, and to all the faithful of the world to once again confirm what has been the conviction of all his life: “Even though the new paganism does no longer want love… love will once again let us gain the hearts of the pagans… the reality of life will always let her be a force which is victorious in and captures the hearts of people.”

– Blessed Pope John Paul II, Homily at the beatification of Titus Brandsma, 3 November 1985.


Today, not tomorrow

Alright, I got that slightly wrong. The two new auxiliary bishops for ‘s-Hertogenbosch have already been named today. Katholiek Nederland reports that the bishops elect are Fathers Rob Mutsaerts and Jan Liesen. Father Mutsaerts is a former blogger, maintaining the critical orthodox blog ‘Groene Pepers’ which is now defunct. It will be interesting to see what he will be like as a bishop.

52-year-old Bishop Elect Mutsaerts has been parish priest in various places and was also conrector of the St. John’s centre seminary. Before studying for the priesthood, he studied Law. He is the second bishop in his family: he is related to Bishop Wilhelmus Mutsaerts, bishop of ‘s-Hertogenbosch from 1943 to 1960. As auxiliary bishop he will be the first vicar general of the diocese.

50-year old Father Jan Liesen hails from the Diocese of Roermond. He studied in Rome and Jerusalem and teaches at the seminaries in Roermond, Haarlem-Amsterdam en ‘s-Hertogenbosch. He is a doctor in Bible Sciences and a member of the International Theological Commission, which has an advisory role to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Antoon Hurkmans flanked by his new auxilary bishops: Rob Mutsaerts (left) and Jan Liesen

The website of the diocese has more information: the consecration of the new bishops will take place on 18 September in the cathedral of Saint John in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The pope’s on the case

It may be the time of year when nothing much seems to be happening – unless you’re a Belgian bishop – and he may be about to leave for his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, but Pope Benedict XVI has shown once again to be on top of things when it comes to appointing bishops in striken dioceses. First Bruges only had to wait a few months before seeing Msgr. De Kesel replace Bishop Vangheluwe, now Augsburg gets a new shepherd to succeed Bishop Walter Mixa, who resigned amid a storm of confusion and accusations to and fro. 66-year-old Bishop Konrad Zdarsa will go from Görlitz, where he was appointed only three years ago, to Augsburg. Let’s hope he gets along will with that diocese’s two auxiliary bishops and staff.

In a bit of random-yet-interesting trivia, Katholiek Nederland reports that the government of Bavaria has the right to veto any episcopal appointments in that state. Bishop Zdarsa passed their scrutiny, though.