Can I Trust Hallow?  – The Voice of Liam Neeson and the Voice Heard in Ramah

Dear friends and fellow followers of Jesus Christ,

This week it was brought to my attention that Hallow, the Catholic prayer and meditation app, announced that Irish actor Liam Neeson will be a ‘guide’ for their Advent series. Before I offer my opinion about this decision, I must acknowledge the good that I believe Hallow is doing. Thus far, it seems their content is all faithful, and they have not slipped into popular non-Christian corruptions of Catholic tradition as with so-called “Catholic Mindfulness” etc. This is all the more reason to express my concern – to protect the good from scandal.

Scandal? Is it really that bad?

Yes, because Neeson, who admits he was raised Catholic, was heavily involved during the campaign—tragically successful—to legalize abortion in his native country in 2018 with the repealing of Ireland’s Eighth Amendment.  As a public figure and an outspoken advocate of the murder of unborn children, it is unthinkable to me (and to many) that he would be included in Hallow’s Advent meditations.

In other words, the same voice that was heard in anti-Catholic, pro-abortion video advertisements in Ireland will be offering prayerful reflections to Catholics this sacred season.

No matter how talented an actor, Neeson’s public stance should unequivocally disqualify him as a choice to lead Catholics in prayer or any spiritual exercise. Some might argue that his private views on the slaughter of unborn children are private and not of concern. I wouldn’t concede this point but instead add greater clarification. His views are not privately held, he is clearly an activist whose involvement in Irish public discourse resulted in the legalization of the murder of unborn children.  You can see one of these public videos here:

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But Hallow is defending their decision, saying that it was made with prayer and discernment. I have taught and written about discernment for years. I can tell you with assurance there is no sound and thorough discernment process that could lead one to commit the grave sin of scandal, no matter how sincere. To offer a charitable assumption, Hallow’s advisors are exemplary and well-formed people; however, I have to believe that none of them looked into just how active Neeson was and is in the pro-death cause. After some conversation with Hallow’s leadership it seems clear to me that though very sincere, they don’t have a sound understanding of the sin of scandal or the gravity of the situation. Instead, they use other decision points that argue for the greater good they perceive is gained by this decision. The ends never justify the means.

As such, I have a serious issue with this decision even while recognizing that the app has no doubt been spiritually beneficial to many—maybe even you.

It raises the question confronting faithful Catholics with increasing frequency: what do we do when businesses and institutions (such as universities) that we trust and perhaps even support and which call themselves “Catholic” choose to feature or honor celebrities or politicians who not only hold but actively campaign for seriously sinful positions and actions?

Turning our heads and pretending not to see the obvious is not an option. Not when it comes to the most vulnerable in our midst.

Rather, we should address the issue with charity but with firm clarity.  We are directed by Jesus that when one sins against us—in this case, the sin is scandal—to “go and tell him his fault” (Matt 18:15).

Therefore I would urge those who use the Hallow app and support it financially to contact the CEO, Alex Jones, and use their own voices to make known their concern. You can reach him here: Please be charitable and respectful. As one who has had many complaints come my way, I will always listen to a respectful disagreement but rarely have time for disrespectful rants. Speak to Alex as a brother in Christ whom you care for and desire to influence to a position that is better for his soul and those whom he influences.

If Hallow refuses to break ties with Neeson, the cancelation of subscriptions may be necessary to get the attention of Hallow’s creators and leadership team.

For there is another voice we should hear in our hearts when we think of the abortion issue and the scandal of honoring those who promote this grave evil:

A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

(Jeremiah 31:15)

Please, pray and fast for all involved, including Liam Neeson. I have no doubt that this could all turn out for the better for Hallow and for Neeson if we first fast and pray, then speak the truth in love. As a final step, if necessary, we can amplify our voices by closing our wallets.

Sorrowfully and prayerfully yours,

Dan Burke

Unum est Necessarium

President of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation –


Image courtesy of Unsplash

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