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Charles Lewis: Warning: I’m here to make you angry

  • November 3, 2021

I appear to be depressing readers. Over the past few months, some have mentioned that I seem down, depressed and sad and it comes through in my copy.

That I’m depressing readers is good. They should be depressed after reading my columns. It means my point is hitting its target.

Actually, I would describe myself as angry. And this is what should come across in what I write. Anger is healthy. Anger can lead to action. Many of the psalmists were angry. One can be angry and feel love.

I wrote recently about how euthanasia was catching on to the point where it’s become popular and not something evil. I mentioned the glowing reports I’ve heard from those who have witnessed death by lethal injection. It made me feel sick.

Then I wrote about how we should boycott the China Olympics because of their abysmal human rights record, their suppression of religion and the running of concentration camps. I compared China to Nazi Germany in 1936 where some thought a boycott of the Games would mix sport and politics … as if a promise to destroy European Jewry was a kind of politics.

Of course, over the years, in The Catholic Register, The National Post and elsewhere, I have rarely written anything to elicit laughs.

To step back for a moment ... I do have physical problems — a painful spinal ailment and liver cancer. But then again who doesn’t have their own ailments?

In my day-to-day life, despite no longer able to climb mountains or go for long bike rides, I’m happy. I have a wonderful wife, home, friends, books and music. I even discovered great-tasting non-alcoholic beer as apparently alcohol and liver cancer don’t mix. And I’m a Catholic convert who is deeply in love with the Church.

So just to be clear, I don’t walk around moping. And my friends will tell you I have a great sense of humour.

I spent many years as a newspaper reporter and editor at mainly The Ottawa Citizen and National Post. Newspaper work tends to make its practitioners weary and a bit cynical. We were often dealing in tragedy and exposing those who were abusive. I remember spending weeks on the murder of a little boy who died by the hands of his sex-abusing uncle. How can that not colour your world view?

I once was on my way to cover a story when I saw a woman being beaten at noon at a busy intersection in Ottawa.

Dozens were eating lunch outside and enjoying the sight of a woman being pummelled. No one lifted a finger or even called the police.

I ran at the guy and chased him away. And then I screamed at all those who thought a woman being punched was for their entertainment. Talk about fallen humanity.

When I began covering religion for The National Post in 2007 my first big story was the battle in the Anglican Church over gay marriage. That fight became nasty as dissidents and the established church fought it out in court.

Then, of course, came the campaign to make euthanasia legal and the realization that nearly everyone I knew and the public at large was for it, including 70 per cent of Catholics.

I came to the realization that what I was covering was the deterioration of civilization. Some colleagues thought I had gone way over the top and was guilty of fear-mongering. To me, telling people that they should be afraid is not always a vice. But why focus on the negative?

There are many in The Catholic Register and in great Catholic newspapers and websites who write about the beauty of our faith. I love these stories because they fill me with hope and re-energize my love of Catholicism.

These great men and women write about the sacraments, the liturgy, the good works done by Catholic groups. Such groups as the Militia of the Immaculata, Opus Dei, third orders and myriad others promote Catholic heroes and provide a path to holiness.

But they are not me. My instinct is to look for things that are going wrong and then send up a warning flare.

You have been warned.

(Lewis is a Toronto writer and regular contributor to The Register.)

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