“O” is not for Oscar: Catholic Bishops Give Million Dollar Baby Its Worst Rating

The film critics of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave “Million Dollar Baby” an “O” — morally offensive — rating and warned that its “guilt-wracked, but ultimately permissive” take on euthanasia “will leave Catholic viewers emotionally against the ropes.”

(See Matt’s review of the movie at at SCO .)

The Bishops’ critics said:

“We praised it on the artistic level and, in many ways, it is a fine film,” said Harry Forbes, director of the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting. “But we also felt duty-bound to give it the worst rating we can give, in terms of moral content. … In the end, we did not believe it was propaganda for the euthanasia cause, although we know some people did.”

The office’s review said: “The pain and devastation of those involved is achingly evident. However, in spite of all the soul-searching that precedes it, the deed itself is presented as an act of reluctant heroism. … Our sympathies and humane inclinations may argue in favor of such misguided compassion, but our Catholic faith prohibits us from getting around the fact that, in this case, the best-intended ends cannot justify the chosen means: the taking of a life.”

Catholic ethicist Thomas Hibbs went even further, calling “Million Dollar Baby” a trip into a “nihilistic hell” in which Eastwood meditates on life in a chaotic, amoral and ultimately hopeless universe. At the movie’s heart is the ultimate question: “What if God does not exist?”

–James Jewell
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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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