As it turned out, it wasn’t his career that God wanted to save, LaBeouf believes.
The Franciscan friars he spent time with to prepare for the role made him increasingly curious about the faith that inspired Padre Pio.
They directed him to the Gospel of Matthew and the works of other important Catholic writers, which he devoured.
In the interview, LaBeouf spoke about his view of Jesus, before reading the Gospels, as someone who is “soft, fragile, all loving, all listening” but with “no ferocity, no romance.” What he encountered in the Gospels was a very different, masculine Christ, he said.
The friars also introduced LaBeouf to the Mass. He told Barron he became especially attracted to the Traditional Latin Mass. Unlike the Novus Ordo Masses he attended, he said, the old liturgy struck him as being focused on God, more than the congregation. He said he felt as if someone was sharing a “profound secret” with him, “not selling me a car,” referring to the guitar-playing he’d experienced at another Catholic parish he attended.
At the Latin Masses offered by the Institute of Christ the King in Oakland, California, he told Barron, he had a strong sense that he had “found something.”
So is he officially a Catholic?
Brother Alexander Rodriguez, O.F.M., is a Franciscan Capuchin who became close with LaBeouf during the actor’s preparation for the role of Padre Pio, which included visiting Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang, California.
Additionally, Rodriguez went on to accompany LaBeouf to Italy and is even featured in the film. In the interview with Barron, LaBeouf speaks about Rodriguez as “his right-hand man in life and in the film.”
According to Rodriguez, LaBeouf had entered the Rite of Christian Initiation, or R.C.I.A., at Santa Inés. But the friar revealed that LaBeouf never finished the catechetical education program because of conflicts with his filming schedule.
Rodriguez said that the actor learned while in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio’s hometown in Italy, that he had been baptized when he was 13 by his uncle, a Methodist pastor.
(Story continues below)
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Rodriguez said that when LaBeouf discovered he was baptized, the Italian Capuchins asked him if he would receive Communion. According to Rodriguez, one of the Capuchins said to him: “You can’t play Padre Pio without receiving Communion!”
LaBeouf told Bishop Robert Barron he felt a “reprieve” after receiving the Eucharist and decided afterward that he never wanted to miss Mass again.
Rodriguez said LaBeouf attends Mass as much as he can on weekdays and consistently on Sundays. LaBeouf is in contact with Rodriguez and “always wanting to learn” about the Catholic faith, the friar said.
But the friar said LaBeouf has not received the sacrament of confirmation yet, though he intends to. Rodriguez did not know if LaBeouf has received the sacrament of reconciliation.
What is required to officially become Catholic?
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