Is ʻwithholding obedienceʻ ever acceptable?

Being obedient to Authority IS , after all, a VERY Catholic thing! However, there are situations wherein obedience can be and sometimes ʻoughtʻ to be withheld. . .

St. Thomas defines Law as "an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated" (STh., I-II q.90 a.4 resp) From that definition we can clearly see that a truly BINDING law must be

1) reasonable
2) for the common good
3) come from a legitimate superior
4) must be properly promulgated

He also addresses the question of  "Whether Subjects are Bound to Obey Their Superiors in All Things?" (STh., II-II q.104 a.5) In that article St. Thomas clearly points out that we have the right to withhold obedience if the lawful authority is

1) acting outside his sphere of authority
2) acting contrary to the will of a legitimate higher authority (God included)
3) if his command is unjust

From those two articles we can summarize that we are allowed to withhold obedience in the following circumstances

1) If the command is contrary to the eternal law of God
2) If it is contrary to the will of some higher human authority
3) If the superior is acting outside his sphere of authority
4) If the command is unjust, that is: not conducive to the common good, unreasonable or not properly promulgated

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. St. Thomas Aquinas. 1476 
(My summary post was masterfully presented by the late Mr. Michael Davies in 1983 in a lecture)
(His lecture and other lectures can be found at