The WB show "7th Heaven" is ending its 10-year run on Monday. The longest-running family drama in television history, the show is about a Protestant minister, the Rev. Eric Camden, his wife Annie, and their seven children. At times, it has tackled issues including discrimination against Muslims since 9/11, discrimination against women by the Taliban, interfaith marriage, single motherhood, teen sexuality, divorce, heart disease, and gun violence. Catherine Hicks, the actress who plays Annie Camden, spoke to Beliefnet about her faith life, her dedication as Catholic Relief Services' spokesperson on the Darfur crisis, her views on marriage and divorce, and why she's grateful the show isn't "embroidered in a doily."
Read the interview below, or listen to Hicks talk about:
Are people surprised to learn that you're a Catholic?
I find it sort of cute that I'm a minister's wife [on the show], and I'm Catholic. The fact that I have a practicing faith, meaning that you do it every week, it's like working out—I think it helps me play the role. Stephen [Collins, the actor who plays the Rev. Eric Camden], he's a practicing Anglican, which means that he actually goes on Sunday and does stuff. When we have the lines, it doesn't come through that we're acting, we know what we're saying. And I think an audience can feel that. I certainly can.
When you were preparing to play Annie Camden, did you learn anything new about the differences between Protestant and Catholic Christianity?
No, the thing we share is that the Camdens help people. Rev. Camden literally helps people that day. He gets involved and advises them and goes over, and we let people in the house. And that's certainly what Christianity is about. Christ talks about that all the time. The Good Samaritan. Stop what you're doing, and if someone asks you for a coat off your back, give them your house. Do more, you can't do enough for people in need. For a Catholic, it's interesting that a minister can be married and do that work. We're used to the priests and nuns doing it, and the lay people. So I think it's neat that Annie, the family gets involved.
What denomination is the Rev. Camden's church, anyway?
I think we're just sort of a big, gentle Protestant thing. It's not Southern Baptist. We're not defined, but it feels to me like Methodist or Presbyterian.