Liam Neeson has revealed that he stopped going to confession as a teenager after feeling humiliated by a priest.
The Taken actor was just 15 when he went to confession and admitted to having masturbated. He says it prompted a “booming voice” from the cleric, which he claims gained the attention of other churchgoers already praying in the silent place of worship.
The priest was a visiting missionary from an African nation, the Northern Irish actor recalled.
At the time, he was serving as an altar boy, but was keen for the visiting missionary to hear his confession because “it was a big deal,” he said.
Speaking to talk show host Conan O’Brien on his podcast ‘Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,' the 71-year-old actor said: “This guy, literally, I mean, he almost said things like, ‘The grass will grow over the palm of your hand before you’re 21! Stop that evil practice!’ He’s shouting this.”
He added that there were “old women just outside the confessional kneeling down and saying their prayers,” as it was “just before Mass,” who were able to hear everything the priest was saying as he was chastised for his actions.
He told the host that he had gone as far as looking up the terminology online before going to confession, to ensure he said the right thing.
He ended the anecdote by saying, “that was the last time I ever went.”
Neeson was raised Catholic, and was named after a local priest.
In 2016, he starred in Silence, a historical drama about Jesuit priest that attempt to spread Catholicism in Japan.