Irish actor launches stinging on attack on church, calling it a corrupt and nefarious institution

Nick Bramhill

Actor Gabriel Byrne has launched a stinging attack on the Catholic Church and described it as a “force for evil”.
The veteran Hollywood star had a strict Catholic upbringing in Dublin and spent five years in a seminary training to be a priest.
But he said it was his own unhappy memories of the seminary, where he says he was sexually abused by a priest, that made him decide not to raise his two children as Catholics.
And in an interview, the 62-year-old says he remains unrepetentant on his views of organised religion and even claimed the Catholic Church once drew inspiration from Hitler’s Nazis.
Recalling the the time he was sent away to an English seminary at just 11 to study for the priesthood, he said: “It was part of the culture. It was a very religious, oppressive society, though we didn’t see it as oppression at the time.
“I remember walking with my mother along a narrow pathway and she was holding onto a pram and two priests came along the footpath and she had to wheel the pram into the road to allow them to walk by, these mysterious men in black. I think the religion I had — and I don’t have any now — was rooted in a kind of childish fantasy.”
He continued: “The Jesuits have that expression, ‘give us a child until he is seven and he will be ours for life’. That was why the Catholic Church and the Nazi party fed off each other. “
After the rally at Nuremberg, the then pope said: “We need to be doing something similar and we have the theatre for it with St Peter’s, so that was when he started coming out on the balcony to address the crowds.
“And the Nazis meanwhile were learning from the Jesuits and making sure they got the child by seven in order to have them for life. The Hitler Youth. “De Valera signed the book of condolence when Hitler died. There was a sneaking regard among many Irish people for Germany and Hitler. England’s pain was Ireland’s gain.”
The New York-based actor, who recently triggered a storm when he described The Gathering as a “scam”, said in the interview with the Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine that he feels fortunate to have escaped from the clutches of the Catholic Church.
“They have way too much hold on this country. It’s a very corrupt and nefarious institution. The nuns were vicious because you have all these women living together in denial of love.
“They turned inward on themselves, became twisted creatures. I saw nuns being awfully cruel to me and to my sister. Horrific. Horrific.”
He went on: “I think if you are lucky you eventually come to a place where you are able to question these things, and I did. I read a lot on the subject and had many conversations and I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is a force for evil.
“How can you enslave women? How can you deny men who are supposed to be serving you the comfort of marriage and children? How can they deny sending condoms to Africa? How can they deny women becoming priests? It’s an anti-woman and anti-love church.”
Referring to his decision not to raise his two grown-up children [he had with ex-wife, actress Ellen Barkin] as Catholics, he added: “I never discussed religion with them. As far as I’m concerned, it didn’t do me any good.
“And it’s interesting to watch two people grow up without it and find their own kindness and conscience.”
Byrne’s latest move, All Things To All Men, is out next Friday.


13 Responses to “Byrne describes Catholic Church as ‘force for evil’”

  1. Martha says:

    pauline jackson asked:-

    ” … in 25 years who let that happen in a country so religous.”

    Dear Pauline, if you have to ask that question, then you have no idea what Roman Catholicism (or any organised religion) is about.

    Best of luck,

    PS: Paddy, well done to you re this article.

  2. I have been reading about the vacines and such. but the 460 dead bodys of babys sent to the hospitals for descections is downright sickening. in 25 years who let that happen in a country so religous.throughout history there have been scandles . burning torturing people because of freedom of thaught. it is not about caring its about power.Thier own frustraton is all thay have to offer. we all know that forbidden fruit can become an obbsession. but thay choose.

  3. Stella says:

    What has recently been discovered is that Gabriel Byrne made these comments in a longer interview on the set of “Quirke” for the Telegraph (UK) that was published a week after the Irish Times printed just the comments about the Church:

    So, his words were taken out of context and then published on Easter Sunday by the Irish Times.

    I do not know what to say about that. I was confused, I can tell you!

  4. Nome de Guerre says:

    At last it has become common knowledge but we from the Christian Brothers Industrial Schools have know this for decades. Eventually the RC is doomed to wither away into history along side Nazism , Stalinism, Maoism, Falangism . It has corrupted Ireland and many other countries. The rot comes from within and has advanced to a critical phase. It took time to get there and it will take time to go away but its demise is certain and humanity will be the better fot that.

  5. robert says:

    They referred Jesus as the good shepherd but instead we got the WOLF IN SHEEPS CLOTHING

  6. robert says:

    we can keep going round and round in circles about how cruel the Church was, is will be, but what has been done to force them to shut down and compensate the damage they did to the lives of thousands, a new Pope is Bad News for everyone, the only good news would be as I said news of the last pope and a closed shop and sharing the wealth with the people who suffered their wrath

  7. Putting fear into everyone is no way of treating others. Between what is preached by the priests from pulpits and the reality of religion its a chasm. there is a no tolerence towards people but priests and nuns still want to tell everyone what thier judgment is on personal matters. thats nothing to do with the spirit of anything else but bullying.

  8. Paddy says:

    Delighted to have been able to rectify the omission from Gabriel Byrne’s article. Some newspapers carried the article in full while others left out the lines you’re referring to. I’m more than happy to put in what Gabriel Byrne said – that’s what I’ve done. Once again, thanks for bringing the matter to my attention in the first instance. Paddy.

  9. Stella says:

    Paddy, I notice now that most of the outlets who are quoting this article from the Irish Times did not capture that last part. So you are not the only one. Thanks for fixing it on your site. I appreciate it!

  10. Stella says:

    Thanks for bring the missing pieces of the article to my attention. I’ve now remedied the situation. I appreciate you bringing the issue to my attention. Paddy.

  11. in order to reach thier full potential children shouldnt be stoped by religion. questioning things is part of lifes experences. being humble never helped anybody in understanding the life thay have. all these women being nasty snobish bitches with others. caring for others shouldnt include humiliation. it takes empathy to rear children.

  12. frank o'shea says:

    I concur, the catholic church is bad thing in a place serving itself without regard for its supposed founder.

  13. FXR says:

    The Church was the inspiration for the Nazi’s. The Nuremberg Laws were all preceded by centuries of anti-jewish papal proclamations. Look up Cum Nibis Absurdum. No Catholic Church: No Hitler.