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(LifeSiteNews) – Canadian priest and YouTuber Fr. Anthony Hannan sent a message of support to the Freedom Convoy, urging Catholic priests near Ottawa to help and saying that the Catholic Church “has let us down” over COVID mandates.

Fr. Hannan made the comments in a short video message released as the Freedom Convoy was nearing Ottawa to protest the COVID-19 injection mandates and demonstrate for freedom. 

He offered a personal message of support to “all the truckers and all those involved in the convoys,” saying “you’re doing the right thing.” 

The truckers’ convoy is reportedly set to remain in Ottawa until Trudeau’s Liberal government resigns or the COVID mandates are lifted, but Fr. Hannan urged Canadians not to wait for such an eventuality. “We just need everyone to stop complying, so it’s unenforceable,” Hannan said.

“If everyone stops complying, they will not be able to enforce their ridiculous mandates,” he added, encouraging businesses in Ottawa to defy the mandates and open their doors for custom.

“I realize that the Church has let us down,” he stated. “Not only here in Canada but around the world.”

Noting how “so many bishops are going along with the narrative,” Fr. Hannan told viewers not to “hold your breath waiting for someone else to lead you out of this, especially your parish priest or your bishops.”

“The bishops missed a golden opportunity to be leaders and defenders of fundamental human freedoms when the government overreach began by ordering the closing of schools and businesses and other lockdowns and various mandates,” Hannan wrote in his video description. 

Their continued support of the “ongoing unjust government orders” is “devastating” for many Catholics, he said. 

Commenting that bishops have been “conditioned to be followers and not leaders,” Hannan urged lay Catholics to “live your life and commit yourself to the relentless pursuit of the truth.” 

“Although various leaders do not live up to the teachings of the Church, please be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes.”

‘We need priests represented in this movement’

Referencing the conversion of St. Paul, Fr. Hannan suggested that many people had “scales over their eyes,” preventing them from seeing “the truth that so many of us have been able to see for so long.”

He encouraged priests and bishops to join the protests “if you can see that we’ve been lied to and that you do not want to go along with any of these immoral mandates.”

Many priests feel “caught between a rock and a hard place” regarding the COVID restrictions, Hannan said, adding, however, that priests have “a duty to disobey” orders that are “immoral.” 

“Please rise to the occasion,” he urged fellow clergy. “If you’re in the city of Ottawa, please reach out to me. We need some priests represented down on Parliament Hill and in this movement.”

Fr. Hannan urged priests not only to join in the truckers’ convoy, but also to “give words of encouragement” to those present in the capital and to “bless all the trucks.”

As for the bishops, whom he suggested were “followers and not leaders,” Hannan called on them to heed Catholic teaching in defense of individual rights, to say “I was wrong,” and to promise “never to participate in these draconian measures again.”

The Freedom Convoy, described by Justin Trudeau as a “fringe” protest from a “small minority,” is estimated to be made up of vehicles numbered in the tens of thousands, as Canadians peacefully protest COVID vaccine mandates. 

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