Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila challenged the faithful, especially the young, to help combat disinformation amid what he called a “crisis of truth” in the country.
Speaking at the Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of St. Titus Brandsma on Saturday, May 28, he asked Catholics to use social media as a “pulpit” to evangelize and defend the truth.
“If there are forces that use social media to deceive and spread lies, let us combat them by flooding it with the truth of God’s word,” Cardinal Advincula said in his homily at the Cubao Cathedral in Quezon City.
While he acknowledged that the task is not easy, he stressed that when truth is at stake, “remaining apathetic and silent is a sin.”
Cardinal Advincula also exhorted the faithful to be inspired by the saint’s “unwavering pursuit of truth.”
“Let us imitate St. Titus in his unwavering courage to proclaim the truth that can never be changed,” he said.
He also cited the role of the media and described the press as “the power of the word against the violence of arms.”
“It is the power of our fight for the truth,” added the cardinal.
Brandsma, whom Pope Francis declared a saint along with nine others on May 15, is being described as a journalist-martyr of the 20th century.
Born in 1881, the Dutch Carmelite priest, theologian, journalist and author wrote and spoke out against the Nazis’ anti-Jewish laws and propaganda.
In January 1942, he was arrested after trying to persuade Dutch Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda.
When Brandsma refused, he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp in February 1942, where he died by lethal injection in July that year at the age of 61.
In the Philippines, the new saint is the titular patron of the Carmelite Order.
Among those present during the Mass were Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, members of the Carmelite Order, and some representatives of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Manila.
The Carmelite congregation in the Philippines it takes pride in the saint’s “distinct reputation of being a ‘defender of truth’ and a ‘martyr of press freedom,’” said Father Rico Ponce, O.Carm., prior provincial of the congregation.
“In this time of disinformation, fake news, deception, and repression, Titus Brandsma emerges as a beacon of light and the powerhouse of our strength as we continue to strive for justice and truth,” said Father Ponce.