Sylvester Stallone grew up Catholic, stopped going to church after he tasted fame and fortune, but now considers himself a churchgoing Catholic again.
Stallone's shift back to church started when his daughter Sophia was "born sick," Stallone told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 7 telephone interview from Dallas to promote his new movie, "Rocky Balboa."
In November 1996, at age 2 months, Sophia underwent open-heart surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.
The operation went well, and Sophia, now 10, is doing "great," Stallone said. "She's the No. 1 athlete in her class."
Stallone tried to find the words to describe what brought about his
self-imposed exile from Catholicism.
"I don't know. Life," he said. "Your career is going, you're not communicating with your family."
The weight of celebrity was "very heavy," he added. "I didn't have any strong foundation behind me of people that would keep my feet on the ground. I was extremely seduced by the newfound freedom."
Things started turning around for Stallone, he said, before his marriage in 1997 to his third and current wife, Jennifer Flavin.
"When I got married everything changed," he said. "When my daughter was born sick, and I realized I really needed some help here, I started putting everything in God's hands, his omnipotence, his all-forgivingness."
Stallone added that being Catholic "puts me where I should be. I was alone
in the world. I thought I would have to handle things in my own way."
But then "I thought if I put myself in Jesus' hands and asked for insight and
guidance I am basically taking the yoke off of me and using his intelligence and
wisdom to make the proper decision," he said.
"Rambo is a borderline atheist. He doesn't believe in anything anymore. His job is to bring a group of Christians upriver into a very hostile territory, and they're there to bring the word of God and medicine and dentistry to these natives. He has conversations with some of these Christians and he doesn't see it their way. They get captured, and ... he starts getting influenced by their faith in the face of such incredible odds."
"I think it may work," he added.