At the religious freedom rally in San Francisco on Friday, Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S., spoke as follows:

In every age Christians have been challenged to stand up for what they believe. I would like to share with you the story of a little-known Saint. His name is Gaspar del Bufalo. It was 1810. He was only 24 years old, and had been ordained a priest just a short time. But now he was under arrest. Napoleon had conquered Rome and had imprisoned the pope. His intention was to close the churches and to force all the priests to swear allegiance to him.
So there Gaspar stood in front of the prefect. The prefect was a kind old gentleman, who did everything to minimize the event, downplaying it and reducing everything to a mere formality. It was just a harmless bureaucratic exercise.
The important thing was that Gaspar be put at ease, that he should not realize the seriousness of the choice to which he was being called. After all, many priests had already acquiesced and signed the oath of allegiance.
But Gaspar was not listening to the prefect, he was thinking of the blood which Napoleon had already caused to be shed. He was thinking of the imprisonment of the Holy Father, and he was thinking of the violation of liberty and the suppression of independence for the church.
So his response to the prefect was clear and decisive:
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
Just 200 years later, It is a different country and it is a different government. This time it is an American President. He has taken it upon himself to determine what is and is not religious. He has taken it upon himself to determine how I should live my faith in this time and in this place. Should I acquiesce to his demands?
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
The world health organization classifies oral contraceptives as a class one carcinogen right up there with tobacco. And the government wants me to provide this free with healthcare.
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
Women who use oral contraceptives for four years prior to their first full-term pregnancy have a 52% increased risk of developing breast cancer. And the government calls this health care and wants me to provide this for free, well…
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
Oral contraceptives do horrific damage to a woman’s body, and should we call this health-care? Abortion destroys human life and is it reasonable or intelligent for us to call that healthcare?
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
The president proposed a compromise that would allow insurance companies to pay for the contraceptives rather than the church institution. My question, what if I belong to a church institution that is self-insured? I would then be required to pay for this.
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
What if I’m a Catholic business person who is required by my government to provide insurance that violates my conscience?
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
What will it be next and who will it be next? The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that it is illegal for a photography business owned by Christians to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony even though New Mexico law does not permit same-sex marriage. What will they say next? Will they say that it is illegal for me to refuse to do a same-sex marriage. Would we as Catholics allow the state to change one of our sacraments.
I cannot, I must not, I will not!
Saint Gaspar del Bufalo spent four years in prison for his profession of faith. We must pray too, that we have the strength to be firm in our faith.
We are not imposing our values on anyone. The government has dictated that employees at Catholic institutions are provided with free contraception, and that is the imposition on our faith and on our conscience. The government doesn’t want so much to advance the cause of women’s health, but rather, they seek to demonize a faith group that has the “audacity of hope,” that they might live their faith free from government interference and intrusion.
I know it is just a mere formality, just a harmless bureaucratic exercise. I know that the important thing is that we should not realize the seriousness of the choice to which we are being called. After all everybody else is doing it. But let me be perfectly clear:
I cannot, I must not, I will not!