New year, new Shia LaBeouf.
The “Transformers” star, whose acting career has been marked for years by alcoholism, abuse allegations and arrests, was officially confirmed into the Catholic Church on New Year’s Eve. Now he is reportedly considering the diaconate.
The Western American Province of the Capuchin Franciscans announced LeBeouf’s confirmation this week in a Facebook post, adding photos of a smiling LeBeouf receiving Communion and kneeling in prayer.
“We are thrilled to share that our dear friend Shia LaBeouf fully entered the Church this past weekend through the sacrament of confirmation,” the post read. “The Capuchin Franciscan friars are delighted to welcome him to the fold and witness his deep commitment to his journey of faith.”
The ceremony took place at Old Mission St. Agnes Parish in Solvang, the same Capuchin parish where LaBeouf trained for months for his role as Franciscan friar Francesco Forgione in Abel Ferrara’s 2022 film “Padre Pio.”
It was this role that made LaBeouf devoutly religious, he told Bishop Robert Barron in an August 2022 video interview. He was raised by a Catholic father and a Jewish mother and both were baptized and had a bar mitzvah, but “It felt fake because I never invested,” he told Barron.
“I had never felt any real suffering in my life, so I had no will to have any beliefs, so I had no faith.”
But after LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriend Tahliah Barnett, who goes by the stage name FKA twigs, filed a lawsuit against him in 2020, accusing him of repeated physical and sexual assaults during a year-long abusive relationship, the actor He said he felt “ashamed like me.” He had never experienced before, the kind of shame that one forgets how to breathe.”
“My life was on fire… I had a longing to not be here anymore,” LaBeouf said. Then he met Ferrara, the filmmaker.
The lawsuit pushed LaBeouf to pause his acting career and focus solely on his recovery, which landed him in the same spiritual program as Ferrara. After hearing LaBeouf’s story in one of the group’s Zoom meetings, Ferrara asked LeBeouf if he had heard of Padre Pio. A few meetings later, Ferrara asked LaBeouf to play Pius in a film and encouraged him to immerse himself in a seminar to prepare for the role.
LaBeouf immediately drove his truck to St. Lawrence Seminary in Santa Ynez and began living in the parking lot. There, studying the Gospels for the role he thought would resurrect his career turned into his Catholic conversion.
“It stops being like the setup for a movie and starts feeling like something beyond all that,” LaBeouf told Barron. “I was holding on so tightly to a life that was slipping out of my hands… the Gospel gave me this invitation to let go.”
The sponsor of LaBeouf’s confirmation, Capuchin friar Alexander Rodriguez, told the Catholic News Agency that “Padre Pio” also inspired him to become a deacon: a minister of the sacrament who baptizes, leads prayers, witnesses marriages and leads services wake and funeral, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“He just spontaneously said, ‘I want to be a deacon,’ and he still feels that way,” Rodriguez said.
LaBeouf’s management did not immediately respond Friday to The Times’ request for comment on the actor’s alleged intentions to apply for the diaconate.
In 2022, LaBeouf disputed director Olivia Wilde’s claims that she had fired him from her film “Don’t Worry Darling,” countering her story with text messages and emails that said otherwise. In one of those emails, she characterized Wilde’s quotes about him as “attractive clickbait, since I am still persona non grata and may remain so for the rest of my life.”
But in their post celebrating LaBeouf’s confirmation, the Capuchin Franciscans reflected on the “transformative power of faith and the incredible impact it can have on lives.”
“May your example inspire others to explore their own spiritual paths and find comfort in the loving embrace of the Church,” they wrote.