The Dublin actor, Gabriel Byrne, who trained in a seminary for five years, now finds Christianity, and the Catholic Church, in particular, a “force of evil” in the world.
Although this view is unfortunate, Byrne has a very good reason to feel this way. At age 11, he was sexually abused by a pair of Christian brothers. And then, again, while in England, training to be a priest, he was sexually abused by a member of the clergy there.
After, Byrne descended into alcoholism and depression, deeply hurt over the abuses he endured. And, in the end, he forsook Christianity—more than that, he has branded it an evil, an oppressive force on society, comparing the Catholic Church to the Nazi party.
He laments the hold the Catholic Church has on his home country, Ireland, and continually speaks out against it, and its cultural footholds.
In Byrne, we see the tragedy that happens when we allow corruption to go unchecked within the church. One can hardly blame him for his feelings, but we can hope that, one day, he will get to see the true nature and goodness that Christianity has such potential to propagate.