Charles Lewis

Charles Lewis

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

I want to focus on a single word, one that is loaded with enough meaning to sway life or death decisions.

A few weeks ago the Sunday New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy feature about a Vancouver Island man who had chosen to die by euthanasia. John Shields, a former priest who later married, was suffering from a rare disease that caused proteins to build up in his heart and painful nerve damage in his arms and legs, the Times story said.

As I write this, I’m fixated on a photo of eight-year-old Saffie Rose, the youngest victim of the Manchester bombing. Her picture is part of a newspaper photo array of the young victims of that awful night.

In mid-April The Globe & Mail gave two days of coverage to the suicide of Adam Maier-Clayton, just 27 years old. He lived for years with a variety of psychiatric disorders and unremitting pain. There is no doubt he knew suffering.

At the end of the last millennium, gay marriage was not yet a reality and the idea of legalized euthanasia was considered ridiculous. Abortion was of course an issue, but there seemed some hope that the lawless practice would at least become regulated.

It was a story that slipped through public consciousness like a shadow, first ominous then quickly evaporated and forgotten.

For many years I have enjoyed a group of Catholic writers who hit their stride roughly in the middle of the 20th century.

Recent events have been dark and disturbing. First we saw U.S. President Donald Trump put a “temporary” travel and immigration ban on seven mostly Muslim countries. Then there was the tragedy in Quebec City where six men were killed and several wounded while praying.

I have a long love affair with St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century philosopher, theologian, teacher, writer and Dominican preacher who stands among the most important Catholic thinkers of the past 2,000 years.

I just read about a priest in Italy who took down a crèche because he feared it would offend non-Christians. There was no indication he was forced to do it, but it seems he decided to be proactive just in case.

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