ALS Ice Bucket Challenge prompts Catholic criticism over embryonic research

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(PIX11) -- As the Ice Bucket Challenge grows in a popularity by the day, a Catholic archdiocese in Ohio has denounced donations to the ALS Association, because of the organization's position on embryonic stem-cell research.

Jimmy Rigg, superintendent of the Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told 113 schools to "immediately cease" donations to the association.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in this," said Dan Andriacco, the archdiocese spokesman. "But it's a well-established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Father Michael Duffy published a blog post on condemning the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the practices of the ALS Association.

"The problem that I have the with ALS Ice Bucket challenge is that the ALS Association is a supporter of embryonic stem cell research," explained Duffy.

Because the Catholic Church holds that life begins at conception, many believe destroying an embryo is comparable to taking a life.

The American Life League, an anti-abortion organization, has tagged the ALS Association as being "not worthy of support from pro-lifers."

However, Life League admits the ALS Association primarily funds adult, not embryonic stem cell research.

For those who share the views of the Life League, Duffy suggests donating to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa instead of ALS Association.

The John Paul II Medical Research institute in Iowa "is a secular organization that is grounded in a pro-life bioethic that respects the dignity of every human life."

The Research Institute has received dozens of donations per hour, and their website crashed because of overwhelming traffic.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, according to the association's website.

Hundreds of thousands of people, including many celebrities have taken the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" which asks participants to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves, or donate $100.

Since July 21, they've received $41.8 million in donations, the ALS Association said.


  • bernard law

    Catholics: pro-pedophile protection, pro-disease.

    Hopefully, people can be cured of ALS and Catholicism in our lifetimes

  • Jan

    What an inappropriate complaint by the Catholic research group, I wonder if any of those people have had a relative with ALS? One is caged inside a body in which one cannot speak, swallow, move. Eventually they cannot breathe. It is truly a fate worse than death – and these guys have the nerve to criticize a wonderful awareness campaign.

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