From Redbridge to Toronto: The spiritual journey of Michael Coren
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 07:17 17 August 2018
Reporter Aaron Walawalkar spoke to Canadian-British author and columnist Michael Coren, who was raised in Redbridge, on his journey from Catholic commentator to Anglican priest-in-training.
The spiritual journey of author and broadcaster Michael Coren has had many turning points - from his secular upbringing to becoming a Catholic commentator and now an Anglican priest-in-training.
The 59-year-old grew up in Highcliffe Gardens, Redbridge, from the age of one until he went to university.
“I was raised without any religion,” he said, adding: “But I had a certain Jewish cultural identity.”
He spoke of how his dad, a Jewish cab driver, would, for instance, take holiday on Yom Kippur to avoid the questions of religiously observant colleagues.
In 1987, he moved to Canada to marry and developed a “reputation as a Catholic conservative” working as a broadcaster and talk show host for CFRB among other networks.
But in 2014, Michael converted to Anglicanism for reasons explained in his 2016 book Epiphany.
“There were so many Christian gay people who were influential in my life,” he said.
“Their faith was so pure and I simply couldn’t reconcile Catholic teachings on the issue.”
He became Catholic while immersed in the works of writers such as GK Chesterton and Lord Longford in 1985 aged 26.
“[Faith] has to be a relationship with God and I don’t think that was the reason for my conversion,” he said, reflecting on that time.
Michael eventually landed a job as a talk show host on the now-defunct Sun News Network in 2011.
He said: “I was never very comfortable - it was all very right wing.”
He sought solace by attending the Eucharist at nearby Anglican St James’ Cathedral, in Toronto, during lunch breaks.
“I was trying to relax and find my bearings,” he said.
He continued doing this privately until he was photographed at the church and it became a public scandal.
“In my professional life it was very expensive.”
He spoke of how his Christian organisations severed ties with him and he lost work as a columnist for conservative Christian and Catholic outlets.
But he said: “I have never been happier. I just knew I had to do it.”
He is now training to become a priest at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and hopes to bridge the gap between “clerical life and mainstream broadcasting”.