From Fr. Z ‘s Blog:
Today is not only the anniversary of the time travel scene in Back To The Future via the souped up Delorean, it is also, and more importantly the Feast of St. Gaspar del Bufalo (+1837), “Hammer of Freemasons”.
I have interest in St. Gaspar as one of my Roman patrons because I exercised ministry as a seminarian and then deacon at the basilica in Rome where he helped to found devotion to and the Confraternity of the Most Precious Blood at San Nicola in Carcere. He had a tense relationship with the state (Napolean’s police were after him) and Masons tried mulitple times to assassinate him.
His answer to the French commissar asking him to sign his submission to the emperor should be the motto of every pope and bishop requested to yield to the world:
“I can’t, I musn’t, I don’t want to.”
That’s how a Roman priest says ‘No’ when he wants to be talkative.”
It’s better in Italian.
‘Non posso, non debbo, non voglio!’
I wonder if Pius VII’s “Non debemus, non possumus, non volumus” didn’t come from St. Gaspar.
These days it’s more like, “Volumus! Possumus! Debetote etiam vos!”
His tomb is in the little S. Maria in Trivio, tucked away behind where the more flashy Trevi Fountain is collocated. His bronzen tomb is not set off by glass and the hand of the image of the saint is extended outward so that you can graps it. It is quite moving.
It seems that St. Gaspar had ways that really could irritate, as many saints. For example, he could sense satanic objects and would charge into peoples homes to seize and destroy them no matter how well hidden.
When he was young, he grew up across the mighty Church of the Gesù where his father was a cook for the Jesuit college there. When Gaspar was very young he had a malady of the eyes that threatened blindness. He was cured through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier, whose tomb is in the Gesù. As a priest of Rome he was critical of the Papal States which got him into hot water.
St. Gaspar, Hammer of Freemasons, pray for us.
My 1st class relic of St. Gaspar.