Nothing Sacred: A Journey Beyond Belief



When T.F. Rigelhof wrote his award-winning memoir A Blue Boy in a Black Dress, the wall of silence erected by the Roman Catholic hierarchy around the sexual mistreatment of boys remained intact. In Nothing Sacred: A Journey Beyond Belief, Rigelhof sets these revelations into the context of his personal experience. As a youth, he found the church both seductive and disturbing. His five years as a seminarian, which spanned the tumult of Vatican II, nearly ended in suicide. Although his allegiance to the church ceased with his vocation, the same spiritual passion drives his analysis of religion's place in the world, now and in the future.

In his review in The Globe and Mail, Hugo Meynell notes, “Thomas Aquinas declared that grace does not take away from nature, but perfects it. It is the burden of this brilliant and intensely disturbing book, written by a man who was at one time an alter boy and later a seminarian, that the Roman Catholic church, now as formerly, crushes and mangles human nature rather than elevating and enhancing it, as it is surely its mission to do. Rigelhof does not seem alone among cradle Catholics in having found little joy in the religion of his childhood, and in learning too much, too young, about what priests and nuns regarded as pride, arrogance and disobedience. It was only much later, in spite of such upbringing and ultimately at the cost of his Catholicism, that he was able to develop the basic self-confidence that is the necessary background to an authentic conscience. Rigelhof's aspersions have the more force due to his generous acknowledgment of merit where he sees it -- for instance, in the work of the Basilian order, and in the character of Doctor B., his spiritual director at St. Pius X Seminary.”

Pat Donnelly of The Gazette writes of it, “As memoirs by estranged and disillusioned Catholics go, this one seems less bitter and judgmental than most - and more intent on the accuracy of its report from the trenches. Youthful memories of serving mass, struggling with dyslexia, delivering papers and working in a Regina flower shop are rendered in meticulous detail. Nothing Sacred is a bit like a scathing theatre review that pans the production (the Church), yet saves the reputations of a few choice actors in the cast, praises the set designer and credits the playwright with good intentions, poorly achieved.”

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« Rigelhof conjugue l'insistance d'un journaliste compétent et la profondeur d'un véritable savant […]. Le Canada a besoin de plus de Rigelhof pour susciter le débat. Le livre Dérives du sacré sera précieux justement en ce sens. » The National Post

Un livre remarquable et saisissant qui met en cause l'avenir des religions au XXIe siècle.

Devant les dangers de l'intégrisme religieux, Dérives du sacré invite à la compréhension de la diversité humaine. « Aucun de nous, qu'il soit juif, musulman, chrétien, hindouiste, bouddhiste, marxiste, gitan ou homosexuel, ne mérite la mort dictée par quelque fondamentalisme que ce soit. »

Dans Dérives du sacré, Rigelhof raconte son enfance marquée par une pratique religieuse stricte dans une bonne famille catholique. Il explique pourquoi ses cinq années au séminaire, qui coïncidèrent avec le tumultueux concile Vatican II, le menèrent à une tentative de suicide. Ses réflexions sur son parcours personnel et sa vaste connaissance des religions plaident pour un monde pleinement humain, au-delà des croyances qui portent en elles les germes du rejet et de l'exclusion.