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Biography & Autobiography Religious

Nothing Sacred

A Journey Beyond Belief

by (author) T.F. Rigelhof

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Mar 2004
Religious, General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2004
    List Price

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When 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. Nothing Sacred: A Journey Beyond Belief, picks up the threads of his earlier book and sets the revelations of the past decade into the context of his own experience. Rigelhof became an altar boy at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina when he was only five. As a youth, he found the church both seductive and disturbing. Yet, his five years of preparation for the priesthood, which spanned the tumult of Vatican II, nearly ended in suicide. Although his allegiance to the Catholic Church ceased with his vocation, the same spiritual passion that drew Rigelhof to the church still fuels his interest in the future of religion and the meaning of faith in contemporary society. In Nothing Sacred, he looks ahead to the fate of organized religion in the 21st century, probing the forces of the human spirit and exploring the meaning of ritual and the human need for myth-making. Hugo Meyell, referring to A Blue Boy in a Black Dress, writes in the Globe and Mail, “I hope that this book will be widely read by those who wonder what the religious future will bring.” Jeet Heer, writing in the National Post, says “Rigelhof combines the urgency of good journalism with the depth of a true scholar . . . Canada needs more Rigelhofs to stir up debate.” Uncompromising and provocative, Nothing Sacred will do just that. Nothing Sacred was a finalist for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction 鴈4).

About the author

T. F. Rigelhof is a contributing reviewer to the Books section at The Globe and Mail and was recently used as the intellectual pin-up for the new book section at the National Post.


His essay on religion in Canada at the end of the millennium, A Blue Boy in a Black Dress: A Memoir, won the QSPELL/Royal Bank of Canada Award for Non-Fiction in 1996 and was also nominated for the Governor General's Award. His critically acclaimed short stories of contemporary life in Montreal have been anthologized and adapted for television and are collected in Je t'aime, Cowboy.


His first novel, The Education of J.J. Pass, has been ranked as one of the best coming-of-age novels written by a Canadian. His satirical second novel, Badass on a Softail, was a finalist for the Mordecai Richler's Prix Parizeau II. Recently retired from teaching at Dawson College, Rigelhof now lives in Westmount, Quebec.

T.F. Rigelhof's profile page


  • Runner-up, Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"Rigelhof writes with his characteristic wryness and compression . . . Rigelhof is frank about the temptations of the body . . . After the stroke, this past rushes back to him with a vibrancy he re-creates beautifully." — Georgia Straight

"Brilliant and intensely disturbing . . . profoundly shocking." — Globe and Mail

"T.F. Rigelhof writes with intellectual rigour and clarity . . . A fascinating insider's view of Vatican politics during that tumultuous time . . . 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." — Montreal Gazette

Other titles by T.F. Rigelhof