“NOTHING’S” AGENDA EXPOSED

Catalyst July/August Issue 1998

Now that the ABC show “Nothing Sacred” has been scraped, those associated with it are “coming out,” so to speak. And they are making our point better than we ever could: this was not just a TV show.

On May 26, Brother Michael Breault, S.J., one of “Nothing’s” writers, bared his soul to an audience of like-minded Catholics in Phoenix. He admitted that the show was based on his own experiences at St. Francis Xavier in New York City. Until recently, he said, women preached after the Gospel, the church was run by parishioners (many of whom he identified as gay), liturgies were invented, etc.

Brother Breault was most helpful to us when he made the following comment about the real intent of the show: “It was very important for us to be provocative, that is was not middle of the road. None of us were interested in that,” he said.

We wonder what the Commonweal folk think now. All along they’ve accused us of being provocative, defending the show as managing to convey “a sense of the sacramental and incarnational.” That’s one thing nice about people like Brother Breault—their honesty is refreshing.

At the “Nothing” event, fans watched in delight an unaired episode of the now defunct and discredited show. According to Scott Ballor, who broke the story for the Wanderer, the show’s pastor says, “I don’t believe in the resurrection….I feel like I’ve been living my whole life for something that isn’t quite real.” After the parish’s staff accountant rushed to save the Blessed Sacrament from a church fire, he exclaimed, “Why was I running into a fire to save some bread? What the hell am I doing? I’ve got to quit this job and do something more sensible.” Hurry, we say.

Can anyone imagine what next season’s episodes would have been like had “Nothing” succeeded like “Seinfeld”? And is there any doubt that had the show worked that its fans would have been screaming from every mountain top that this is evidence that Catholics want radical changes in the Church? The fact that it was a monumental flop, not to say embarrassment, should now be used by the rest of us as proof that the call for radical restructuring is confined to a slim minority of Catholics, many of whom have one foot out the door already.

In a related story, just in case you missed it, Father Cain and David Manson of “Nothing” infamy, released a show on TNT on May 31 called “Thicker Than Blood.” The show opened with Father Larkin saying that he’s going to start a new religion, one without angels and one that “doesn’t use a dead young man as its logo.” At that point, the priest threw a crucifix in the trash. Later in the show, Father Larkin announced from the pulpit that “I need a better God. I need a better God.” This was said on Easter Sunday.

Like any organization, the Catholic League makes its share of mistakes. But it’s so nice to know that we were right on the money on this one. Thanks in part to Brother Breault.


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Written by Bill