Toronto, ON December 14, 2023 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is pleased to announce that it has chosen journalist Charles Lewis as the winner of the League’s annual Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

Charles Lewis was born in Brooklyn, NY. He moved to Canada because of his love of the North. He spent time working in the Yukon and Canadian Arctic when studying geology and geography. He started his journalism career as a freelancer while living in the Ottawa area in 1982. He was hired by the Ottawa Citizen in 1988 where he spent 10 years. He joined the National Post in 1999 where he worked first as a senior editor. He moved over to reporting in 2007. He focussed on religion and ethics and helped create the paper’s blog, Holy Post.

He retired in 2014 because of a painful spinal ailment. However, in 2015 he began freelancing, mainly for the Catholic Register. Since then, he has written extensively for the US-based National Catholic Register with occasional pieces in the Globe and Mail and National Post.

Charles Lewis has worked closely with the CCRL in recent years.

In 2015 Lewis gave the keynote address at the CCRL’s annual dinner.

In 2016 and 2017 he wrote 18 editorials exclusively for the CCRL.

He is one of the country’s leading opponents of euthanasia.

Lewis has given dozens of public and private talks about the perils of assisted suicide and euthanasia, based on solid arguments forged not only from orthodox Catholic theology and Magisterial teachings, but from his own lived experience in recent years living with excruciating persistent pain from serious health issues. He has volunteered for five years in a hospital palliative ward and in a private hospice.

Lewis has been a laudable Canadian witness to faith and reason and maintaining its presence in the public square as a leading Catholic writer. He has made excellent use of his access to print and digital media, Catholic and secular, bringing to the forefront issues important not only to Catholics, but for the greater common good.

Charles Lewis is married to former Globe and Mail editor Kathryn Maloney.

CCRL President Phil Horgan states:

Charlie Lewis upholds the noble tradition of the Catholic journalist.  He has served as a financial reporter and editor for a national newspaper.  In more recent years, Charlie has committed himself to challenging the culture of death in Canada, by his advocacy and columns on the egregious advance of euthanasia.  He richly deserves the Archbishop Exner award in recognition of his Catholic public witness.

As our supporters know, we lost Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, on September 5 at age 94 to the mercy of God.  In addition to his priestly and episcopal ministry, Archbishop Exner was known as a former bishop of Kamloops, and formerly as Archbishop of both Winnipeg and Vancouver, prior to his retirement in 2004.  The CCRL created the Exner Award in 2005 in recognition of his tireless work on behalf of the church, in the fields of Catholic education, and in dealings with priestly abuse (part of the CCCB’s committee which produced From Pain to Hope in 1992), as well as Indigenous outreach in western Canada.

We are proud to recognize Charlie Lewis as this year’s recipient of the Archbishop Adam Exner Award.

One of his most important pieces was published on December 31, 2022 in the form of a tribute to Pope Benedict XVI after his passing on Page 1 of the National Post.

Lewis reminded the world that secular media reports of Pope Benedict XVI’s death that referred to him as controversial, missed the mark completely, that “he was only controversial among those who don’t understand the nature of Catholicism or Benedict’s role in defending the faith.”

Charles Lewis has made the most of his vocation as a lay Catholic to build the City of God within the city of man by using his abilities as a writer. He addresses important issues using well articulated reason developed intelligently through his Catholic faith to a wide audience.

Upon being informed of winning the CCRL’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life, Charles stated, “It is a tremendous honour to receive this award. It has been a great privilege to write and speak over the years about issues that concern Catholics and all those who believe that life is a gift from God. Early on I was inspired by Epistle of James, in which he writes: So, faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

The League is organizing a dinner to be held in Toronto in 2024 to honour Charles Lewis and to present him with the Exner Award. More information about this will come in the new year.

About the Archbishop Exner Award

The CCRL established the Archbishop Exner Award in 2004 to honour Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, Archbishop Emeritus of Vancouver, upon his retirement and to recognize outstanding achievement in advocacy, education, life issues, media and culture, and philanthropy.

Archbishop Exner died in his native Saskatchewan on September 5th. He was 94 years old.

Charles Lewis is the first recipient of the Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life since 2019, and the extraordinary situation caused by the global pandemic.

Previous recipients include:

Fr. Anthony Van Hee, SJ, prolife activist through prayerful protest (2019)

Dr. Catherine Ferrier, Catholic physician, Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia (2018)

Dr. Robert Walley, founder of MaterCare International (2017)

Alex Schadenberg, anti-euthanasia/assisted suicide activist (2016)

Dr. Donald DeMarco, scholar, writer, seminary professor, and pro-life activist (2015)

Gwen Landolt, long time national Vice-President of REAL Women of Canada, pro- life advocate, promoter of the family in national and international circles (2014)

Fr. Alphonse de Valk, CSB, pro-life activist, writer and editor (2013)

Michael D. O’Brien, artist and author, for creative work incorporating authentic Catholicism and Catholic teaching (2012)

Suzanne LaVallee of Quebec for leadership in education (2010)

Frank Chauvin of Windsor, Ontario, founder of Haiti’s first orphanage for girls and initiator of an application for review of the process by which Henry Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada (2009)

Dr. and Mrs. Andrew and Joan Simone of Toronto, co-founders of Canadian Food for Children, for services to philanthropy and international aid (2008)

Campaign Life Coalition President Jim Hughes of Toronto for service to the pro-life movement (2007)

Fraser Field of Vancouver, founder of Catholic Educators’ Resource Centre, for service to education (2006)

Regina business leader Frederick W. Hill for philanthropy and community service (2005)

We appeal to any of you who are able to send a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at PO Box 84505, RPO Bloor West, Toronto, ON, M6S 4Z7, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244.

About the CCRL

Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

To donate to the CCRL, please click here.

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