Nothing Sacred

Season 1 Episode 1

Proofs for the Existence of God

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Sep 18, 1997 on ABC
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Episode Summary

Proofs for the Existence of God
A typical day at St. Thomas parish sees Ray being thrown out of a city council meeting for over-zealously arguing to save the church's soup kitchen from extinction. In the confessional, Ray ignores Church policy when counseling a distraught young woman who wonders whether she'll be damned to Hell if she has an abortion. As a result, Ray lands in an impossible, political, painfully public moral quagmire. When Ray is called to break up a fight at the parish school, he reaches out to a desperate teenage boy whose stepmother happens to be an old flame of Ray's and his one true love before he entered the priesthood. Her sudden reappearance further complicates Ray's life with all-too-human desires, and places him in the middle of a deeply emotional family crisis.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • David Manson, co-creator and executive producer of ABC's "Nothing Sacred," had said in an interview in 1997 that the Toronto Archdiocese wouldn't let them shoot in a Catholic church, so they had found an Anglican church and converted it for the filming of the pilot episode. The exterior shots of the church in the pilot episode ''Proofs for the existence of God'' were actually scenes from St-Anne's Anglican Church at 270 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
      When production was moved to Los Angeles, Angelica Lutheran Church at 1345 S Burlington Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA was used for the exterior shots of St-Thomas Parish.

    • The CN Tower (Toronto, Ontario) is visible in the background behind the soccer goal during Mark's practice, when he jumps to block the ball, and misses. (The pilot episode was filmed in Toronto, before production was moved to Canoga Park, Los Angeles).

    • Smells and Bells: Catholic ritual such as candles, oils, incense, etc.. meant to rely on sense of smell and and hearing to communicate spiritual meaning and experience.
      When Mark's dad tells Ray he was never comfortable with all the ritual... Ray tells him we call that ''Smells and Bells''.
      Later in the episode Ray literally relies on Mark's sense of smell to calm him down with the holy oil and give him the last rites, when enraged, he refuses to let the hospital personnel treat him.

    • Song: Nina Simone - I want a little sugar in my bowl. Ray plays this CD in his stereo at the very beginning when he wakes up, and sings along as he shaves and showers.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Ray: (from the pulpit) As of tody, I'm declaring a moratorium on sins of the flesh in St. Thomas Parish. You see this little book. This is the Gospel, (he says, brandishing the Bible) if it was written today, it wouldn't get published. Not enough sex. And all the stuff that we've reduced religion to: contraception, homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion... they aren't in here. Oh maybe a mention, but they're not what the book is about. And I was not ordained to be a sexual traffic cop, which is what I'm turning into most of the time. So until further notice I will not hear any more sexual sins in the confessional. For sexual sins go to St. Patrick's or St. Lucy's.

    • Leo: (when Rachel asks him in confession if he believed in hell) Well, after we sent people there for eating meat on Fridays I began to have my doubts. (Then he continues) Yes, I believe in hell. I believe it's a place of fear, isolation, loneliness, and desperation. I believe in hell. Will God send you there? What worse hell can you be in thatn the one you're in right now?

    • Ray: (Ray's closing homily on Proofs for the existence of God) I can't prove there's a God... though I do catch a glimpse of him from time to time. When I saw God last.. he was a father reaching for his son. And for a second, I saw God. It didn't make me feel any better.. but maybe that's not what God for. I saw him. And I believe I will see him today, and tomorrow.... on whose face? I don't know. And that's the adventure. So that's the best I can do. And that's faith. If you're looking for proofs... you're in the wrong business.

    • Ray: (To Leo who finds him praying in church) You won't like what I'm praying for
      Leo: It's alright. God never gives you what you want anyway

    • Jemma: (to Ray after Mark's soccer game, commenting on his approach with Mark) How do you come up with these things?
      Ray: Alcoholic father, demanding mother... you start to notice other people's needs before your own.You find you can help.. and that makes you a little bit like Jesus. So you become more and more like him, till you become just like him: a little wooden, and nailed into a life you aren't sure you wanted.

    • Leo: (to Rachel after she asks him if God will send her to hell if she has an abortion) Well after we sent people there for eating meat on Friday, I began to have my doubts. Yes, I believe in hell. I believe it's a place of fear, isolation, loneliness, desperation. Yes I believe in hell. Will God send you there? What worse hell could you be than the one you're in right now?

    • Ray: God had better show his face around here pretty damn soon!

    • Ray: (to Eric) I'll do the funerals if you'll do the weddings.
      Mo: (to Ray) You know, I've never understood why you prefer funerals to weddings Ray?
      Ray: With funerals, at least you know they'll stay dead.

    • Eric: (at the morning staff meeting) Can someone please explain to me why a church has an atheist on the staff?
      Ray: I don't want a business manager that thinks that God will provide.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Kung Fu (1972–1975) American tv series that starred David Carradine, which described the adventures of shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine as he travelled through the american old west.
      When Mark tells Father Ray that he doesn't like priests, Ray tells him that if he knows karate, he must like some priests, like the fighting monks of the shaolin temple.