Liam Neeson hasn’t been to confession since he was a teenager — due to a row over masturbation.
The Northern Irish actor chronicled the incident in a clip released Friday for an upcoming episode of Conan O’Brien’s podcast. In the video, he detailed how his honesty with a traveling missionary turned him off from confession forever.
“I had learned how to pleasure myself at home, onto the sheets,” Neeson began, saying he’d also looked up the word for what it was called.
“‘Masturbate’? ‘Masturbation’?” he continued, reenacting the moment. “OK, that seems harmless enough. I’ll say that.”
During his confession, a 15-year-old Neeson cleverly began by discussing boring trivialities about arguments with his family before finally revealing that he’d masturbated.
He said the missionary screamed so loudly that “old women just outside the confessional” began “kneeling and saying their prayers.” Neeson told O’Brien that the man’s “booming” voice allowed them to “hear everything.”
“You what?!” Neeson said, imitating the missionary.
“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!’” Neeson added. “He’s shouting this! That was the last time I ever went.”
Liam Neeson said an unpleasant experience with a traveling missionary caused him to give up confession.
Neeson, who was an amateur fighter in his teenage years, told O’Brien that he was “still boxing” at the time of the confession. He recalled that it was typically “a great event” when a missionary came to town from Africa, and that going to confession with one was “a big deal.”
In 2014, the actor told GQ that visitors like these were “weird guys,” but added that “there were a lot of good men — and women, too.” Neeson, who was dubbed Liam after a local priest, also told the outlet that he’d learned the Mass in Latin from a priest who was “training” him for the job.
Neeson’s full conversation with O’Brien is set to drop Monday.