Ohio diocese discourages ALS Association ice bucket challenge, cites embryonic stem cell funds

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By: Amanda Lee Myers, The Associated Press

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Comments: 0

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Major League Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred participates in the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge outside the organization's headquarters in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Manfred participated with more than 160 other MLB employees to raise more than $16,000 for the ALS Association. (AP Photo/Vanessa A. Alvarez)

CINCINNATI - A Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio is discouraging its 113 schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, saying the group's funding of embryonic stem cell research is "in direct conflict with Catholic teaching."

Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told the schools in a letter Tuesday to "immediately cease" any plans to raise funds for the association and to instead direct donations to another organization that combats ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death.

The Catholic Church relates the use of embryonic stem cells in research to abortion and says it violates the sanctity of human life. The use of adult stem cells in research is not forbidden by Catholic teaching.

"We certainly appreciate the compassion that has caused people all over the country, certainly including many Catholics, to be interacting and engaging in a fun way to support ALS research," diocese spokesman Dan Adriacco said Thursday. "But it's a well-established moral principle that not only the ends be good, but the means must be good, too."

Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the ALS Association, said her group largely funds adult stem cell research but does fund one study involving embryonic stem cells using money from one specific donor.

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Ohio diocese discourages ALS Association ice bucket challenge, cites embryonic stem cell funds

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