Charles Lewis

Charles Lewis

Charles Lewis is a freelance writer and former religion editor at the National Post.

In the spring I took a course to become a hospice volunteer. After spending 12 years railing against euthanasia, both in newspaper articles and through talks, I thought it was time to put my beliefs into concrete action. 

I read George Orwell’s 1984 when I was in high school. We were still in the midst of the Cold War and were taught it was a book about the evils of communism. 

There is a similar scene in many movies. It is a cliché but one most of us enjoy: the skinny kid, representing good, enters the ring with the brutish bully, representing evil. Think The Karate Kid and the like.

In 2007 I started a new assignment as the National Post’s religion reporter and editor. It was at a time I was digging deeper into Christianity so I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. 

To read statistical surveys of religion in Canada and the United States is to believe organized religion is imploding. 

We are witnessing a collapse of religious freedom in Canada. Anyone who doubts it is naïve or completely uniformed. There may be some who simply cannot believe this is happening in a modern democracy. But it is.

For a number of years there was a panhandler standing outside St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto. His name was Francis. I liked him quite a bit. Which should not be thought of as a given since there are some panhandlers who, over the years, have gotten on my nerves. I know it is not a Christian thing to say but there it is.

Consider this a non-poetic, nonrhyming ode to St. Augustine’s Seminary. I love the Toronto school and I want to explain why. And then I hope you will love it, too.

Years ago I lived in Wakefield, Que., a rural area about 40 minutes north of Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills. Many of the people who lived there plied a trade — carpenter, potter, painter and such. 

I am writing this for all who suffer and for those of your family members and friends who suffer with you. In particular, I am writing this for those who, like myself, realize that their suffering may not end soon, or ever end.

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