Byrne describes Catholic Church as ‘force for evil’

Irish Times

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Nick Bramhill

Sun, Mar 31, 2013

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.

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