Conscience Versus the Spirit of the Age

Address to the Thomas More Lawyer’s Guild,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada (October, 2014)

Jason Kenney*

In this text of his address to the annual Red Mass dinner hosted by the Thomas More Lawyers’ Guild of Toronto in October 2014, then federal Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney called on assembled lawyers to defend conscience rights as a bulwark against the spirit of the age running roughshod over us.

It is a great honour to be invited to speak from this distinguished podium, which has been graced by people far more worthy than I, to invoke the life, legacy and lessons of our patron saint, Sir Thomas More.

I say “our” patron although I am not a member of your honourable legal fraternities at the bar and the bench. I labour in a much less august vineyard, that of the political vocation. But in the Jubilee Year of 2000, Saint John Paul II decided to add to Saint Thomas More’s already heavy burden as the patron saint of lawyers by also giving him the impossibly difficult task of acting as the patron saint of politicians.

Earlier this evening, we heard the Gospel reading, “Woe to you, lawyers!” Lest you feel put out, please remember that the most prominent politicians in the gospels are King Herod, Pontius Pilate and Caesar, so the politicians fare much worse!

Poor Saint Thomas, shining light of the Renaissance, the greatest jurist and statesman of his era, martyred for this faith—and his eternal reward is now to keep watch over politicians and lawyers. I suspect that he envies Saint Jude, who is charged only with hopeless causes. . .  [Full text]

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