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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

A MASS-GOING ATHEIS

Novelist Simon Edge fell in love with an ex-priest who was then diagnosed with terminal cancer. Himself a non-believer, he reflects on the uplifting role that religion played in their tragic story
SIMON (RIGHT) AND EZIO IN THE GARDEN OF THEIR COTTAGE IN SUFFOLK

Not so long ago I was happy to define myself as a militant atheist. I hated the way churches had abused their power to oppose gay rights, and I scorned the idea that an all-powerful creator monitors our every thought while running a celestial rest home for all humanity. When I reviewed Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, I was proud to see my endorsement on the paperback.

Then I met Ezio. He had been a personal trainer in Rome and in the autumn of 2011 was parcelling orders for a fetish retailer in Paddington. But for many years he had been a priest. He had two degrees in theology, having spent years in seminaries very similar to the location of my novel Th e Hopkins Conundrum, which I was working on when I met him.

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