Gabriel Byrne described himself as "extremely anti-Catholic" and "very much an atheist" in a recent interview.
The “In Treatment” star talked about "the craziness" of many religious beliefs, before delivering a scathing attack on the Catholic Church in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.
"The Catholic church is repressive of women and minorities and repressive of its followers,” Byrne said.
“It victimised people through propaganda and kept them in line through primitive fear. The first step that has to be taken is the abolition of celibacy. The church that is supposed to be about love denies its followers the most sacred expression of love. It says, you can't do that because you'll go to hell for it. You can do it if you're married but even then you can only do it on certain days of the month."
The actor who was born in North Dublin in 1950 spoke about the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Christian Brothers in Ireland and England.
"When a person in authority says something is right, you want to believe it," he told the British newspaper.
"Particularly when you're a child: when a person in authority embraces you, you feel reassured. When that relationship is used to abuse the child, the child doesn't question it because it is what it is. A child doesn't understand. The seeing of the big picture, that comes later."
The Dublin born actor revealed that being a victim of abuse is not something one can easily recover from.
"The healing process, for want of another word, takes years," he says.
Byrne described his parents as "religious people with a limited understanding of the world and had a childlike belief in the authority of the church".