From January 29 - February 20, 2022, the eyes of the world were upon Ottawa, Canada as hundreds of truck drivers and thousands of their supporters engaged in the self-styled “Freedom Convoy” protest against COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
In this episode of Crown and Crozier, we examine the Freedom Convoy through the lens of key tenets of the Catholic Church’s teaching – especially St. Thomas Aquinas’ formula for what constitutes just law and the principles that underlie when civil disobedience is permissible.
In particular, we pose the following questions:
Our guest is Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, Professor Emerita of Philosophy and past director of the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1st part of the 2nd part: Q90
Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae - Encyclical on Christians as Citizens (1890)
Mark R. MacGuigan, “Civil Disobedience and Natural Law”, The Catholic Lawyer (1965) [quotation of St. Alphonsus Liguori - “when it is doubtful, the law is presumed to be just”]
Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision granting injunction on use of air horns and train horns by Freedom Convoy participants (February 7, 2022)
Quinton Amundson, “Ottawa basilica cancels Masses due to Freedom Convoy protest”, The Catholic Register (February 9, 2022)
Rachel Parent, “‘We’re not lawyers’: Ottawa protest organizer says MOU not meant to endorse toppling the Canadian government”, Saltwire (February 10, 2022)
“‘Blurred lines’ - Ottawa archdiocese says there’s no easy take on trucker protests”, The Pillar (February 11, 2022)