AceShowbiz - Shia LaBeouf is now a changed man. The actor, who has been engulfed in legal issues over the past few years, confirms he's now a Catholic and a member of the Roman Catholic Church after studying for his upcoming film "Padre Pio".
In "Conversations at the Crossroads" with Bishop Robert Barron published on Thursday, August 25, LaBeouf reveals how his connection to the religion at the lowest point in his life saved him. He says his "life was on fire" prior to familiarizing himself with the religion.
"I had a gun on the table. I was outta here," he opens up about his suicidal thoughts. "I didn't want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before - the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don't know where to go. You can't go outside and get like, a taco."
"I didn't want to be an actor anymore, and my life was a complete mess. I had hurt a lot of people, and I felt deep shame and deep guilt," LaBeouf confesses of his shame, before adding, "But I was also in this deep desire to hold on."
After connecting with "Padre Pio" director Abel Ferrara, LaBeouf began staying at a seminary in San Lorenzo, California, living out of his car in the parking lot, to prepare for the role. While he admits he was initially motivated by his desire to rehabilitate his career, he also looks back on the experienced as a moment of divine intervention.
"The reach-out had happened. I was already there, I had nowhere to go. This was the last stop on the train. There was nowhere else to go - in every sense," the 36-year-old shares. "I know now God was using my ego to draw me to Him, was drawing me away from worldly desires. It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in the car and drive up (to the monastery) if I didn't think, 'Oh, I'm gonna save my career.' "
Calling his past actions "disgusting" and "depraved," the "Constantine" actor says he felt unworthy of seeking out religion, but as he read the gospel he felt an "invite" to "let go." But it wasn't until he met with other people who had gone through similar struggles that he was able to fully embrace the religion.
"It was seeing other people who had sinned beyond anything I could even conceptualize also being found in Christ that made me feel like, 'Okay, that gives me hope,' " he explains. "I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission."
Although his mother is Jewish and his father is Christian, LaBeouf says he never felt a strong tie to a singular religion until now. "I didn't know I was baptized. I had been baptized earlier in my life and didn't even remember it," he tells Barron. "My uncle had baptized me in the [Trinitarian formula]."
In "Padre Pio", LaBeouf plays the title character. The biopic is based on the real life of the Italian Franciscan Capuchin friar, who became famous for showing stigmata, or crucifixion wounds like those on the body of Jesus Christ. He died in 1968 at the age of 81, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999 and then canonized in 2002.