Crown and Crozier

A Catholic Defense of the Freedom Convoy? ~ Mary Catherine Sommers

May 07, 2022 Season 2 Episode 14
Crown and Crozier
A Catholic Defense of the Freedom Convoy? ~ Mary Catherine Sommers
Show Notes

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:

  • According to the Catholic Church, what constitutes authentic human freedom?
  • Was the Freedom Convoy justified in protesting against COVID restrictions which may not have fulfilled the criteria for just laws?  
  • Could a Catholic participate in the Freedom Convoy in good conscience?

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.

Documents/Websites referenced

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1st part of the 2nd part: Q90

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2242 (refusing obedience to civil authorities)

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)

Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.