Without a Prayer

How Christianity is losing ground in Canada

I didn’t like high school very much; in fact, I loathed it. Mine wasn’t a rough or mismanaged school. It ranked highly in Toronto, and many decades after graduating I was honoured with being included on its inaugural Wall of Fame. But the memory of unhappiness has never quite been expunged.

My grade school was a Catholic one nestled in the heart of the township of York and I loved it. But when I graduated from grade 8 and then entered grade 9 at the local public secondary, I was adrift, the surroundings so unfamiliar and the culture so strange I never succeeded in acclimating. The school was predominantly Jewish—-children of post-Second World War immigrants—and the teachers predominantly WASPs. The Catholic contingent was small and inconsequential, or so it seemed to me.

I was outside my tribe; the school holidays were Jewish high holy days rather than Catholic holy days of obligation. It was a...