CINCINNATI (AP) - A Roman Catholic diocese in southwest Ohio is urging its school leaders not to encourage the ice-bucket challenge for the ALS Association because donations could fund research involving embryonic stem cells.
Archdiocese of Cincinnati spokesman Dan Andriacco says the challenge itself is fine, but money sent to the ALS Association funds at least one study using embryonic stem cells. An embryo must be destroyed to harvest its stem cells, and many Catholics relate that to abortion.
In a letter sent Tuesday to its 113 schools, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's superintendent of Catholic schools says the research being funded is "in direct conflict with Catholic teaching."
The superintendent told the schools that students and staff can still do the ice bucket challenge, but any funds raised should be given to organizations that combat ALS without embryonic stem cell research.
The Cincinnati Enquirer
that the diocese is urging money be sent instead to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa, where the research is conducted using only adult stem cells.
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The altruistic ice-bucket stunt to fund amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research has become an Internet sensation.