Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, who has been openly critical of the Catholic church in the past, is sounding off about Pope Francis.
“Like Barack Obama, a bit like Tony Blair, he’s a figurehead, a CEO, a man who does the bidding of the masters who hide behind him,” Byrne said of the new pope in an hour-long conversation on the “Michael Des Barres Show.”
The “In Treatment” star said Pope Francis may have set a different tone by doing “Christ-like things,” such as bathing the feet of prisoners and embracing a severely deformed man, but the actor believes not much within the Catholic church will change.
“Can one man change an institution? I feel the answer is no,” Byrne said. “He can initiate certain reforms in the Vatican … but unless he radically alters the policies of the Catholic church there won’t be a change.”
In 2010, Byrne made headlines when he revealed that he had been molested, first, as an altar boy at a Christian Brothers School in Ireland and later, as a seminary student.
Byrne told an Irish television show that he didn’t feel the impact of the sexual abuse immediately.
“But I suppose when I think about my later life and how I had difficulties with certain issues, there is the real possibility they could have been attributable to that,” said the actor, who has battled alcoholism.