Hollywood's Answer Not the Best, Says Bishop Sgreccia

Vatican Official Comments on "Million Dollar Baby"

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Euthanasia, proposed as the answer to suffering in the movie "Million Dollar Baby," is not "the best solution," says a Vatican official.



Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, made that comment today on Vatican Radio about Clint Eastwood's boxing saga, which has been nominated for seven Academy Awards.

The awards will be announced Sunday.

The film is the story of Maggie Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank, who is passionate about boxing. She finds in her trainer, played by Eastwood, the man who can help her to grow in sports and achieve success. Their relationship is one of respect and friendship.

However, the young boxer's dreams are cut short by a tragic accident.

"How to react in the face of a broken life and desired death?" -- this is the question Bishop Sgreccia answered differently from the movie.

"First of all, with an attitude of compassion for the suffering of a young life such as this one of which we are speaking," the prelate said. "To go from a state of full athletic performance and hopes for success to the situation of a quadriplegic, the total impossibility of movement, represents a situation of extreme suffering.

"In this case, the subjective judgment of what happened in that life when suicide was requested, and of what happened in the person who responded to her, we must leave in God's hands, as it is difficult to understand what happened and to what point the storm of feelings and piety were able to persuade the persons."

"But from the point of view of morality and truth we must ask ourselves if this is the best solution," Bishop Sgreccia said. "The best solution is not to anticipate death, and to put an end to a tormented life, but to give reasons for hope and meaning to suffering."

Vatican Radio, in reporting on the film, praised its cinematographic value and the way it portrayed feelings.