Neeson has been at the center of controversy before for his public opposition to the Eighth Amendment, stepping down in 2016 as the head of his childhood hometown boxing club in Ballymena, Ireland, which is associated with the local Catholic church, after a disagreement over his views on the topic, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
Additionally, in 2015, Neeson lent his voice to a video advertisement calling for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which critics called “anti-Catholic.”
The ad features what appears to be the outer structure of an old abandoned church and scenes showing different crosses.
“A ghost haunts Ireland, a cruel ghost of the last century,” Neeson says in the ad with the church in the background.
“It blindly brings suffering,” he says, while an image of a cross is shown on the video.
In Jones’ response to CNA, he said: “We’ve received a lot of feedback over the last few days on the Advent challenge, with many folks really excited and many, understandably, upset, hurt, or confused.”
Jones said that Hallow does not “stand behind or claim to endorse any of the personal views, past actions, or political opinions of any of the narrators on the app” while adding that other actors on the app have “differing personal views on many topics, some who are practicing Catholics, but several of whom come from different faith backgrounds.”
“Several have done things in the past or may hold personal views that we would disagree with. The one thing we do strongly stand behind is every word they read within the app itself,” he said.
He said that Hallow “stands proudly and unequivocally in support of all Catholic Church teaching, especially the pro-life stance of the Church and the USCCB’s affirmation of the end of abortion as the preeminent priority.”
He called abortion a “heartbreakingly important issue” and explained that the app has several pro-life prayers and meditations.
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“We would never allow any content on the app that goes against the pro-life teaching of the Church. We consistently send our team to the March for Life each year. We will do everything in our power as long as we are around to assist in the fight for life and to work to let God change hearts and minds,” he said.
Jones said that Hallow is “thrilled” to partner with Neeson as a voice actor “because of his powerful portrayal of Aslan [who is C.S. Lewis’ representation of Christ] in the C.S. Lewis films.”
Jones said that Hallow believes many will find the voice-over scripts by all three Advent voice-over actors “life-changingly powerful and that the challenge will help them grow deeper in their relationship with God.”
Jones said that Hallow has “two different philosophies for approaching partners.”
For partners who will share their reflections or sermons, “[t]he bar is very high,” he said. But for actors or other partners, the app discerns if it will partner with them judging “the extent to which it will help people grow closer to God while also seriously evaluating any risk that any content or partnership might lead people away from God.”
“These partners are each reading from a script — usually Scripture passages or quotes from theological writings — written by our theology team,” he said.