A Catholic Archdiocese is warning pro-life advocates about the final destination of donations for the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, which has become a pop culture and social media phenomenon.
The popularity of the #IceBucketChallenge continues on social media across the nation. This is the campaign to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The pro-life community has a soft spot in its heart for the disabled and terminally ill. After all, they are often targeted in abortion or euthanasia. Unfortunately, as LifeNews has documented, there is a chance your donation to The ALS Association could be used to support embryonic stem cell research.
ALSA has confirmed it supports research involving the destruction of unborn human life to find cures for the disease.
In an email to Religion News Service, Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the ALS Association, said that the organization primarily funds adult stem cell research.
“Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); this research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research,” she said. “The project is in its final phase and will come to an end very soon.”
Now, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is urging pro-life people to be cautious about where they send their donation. The Catholic Church officials are not telling pro-life people not to participate, but to select one of a number of pro-life-friendly alternatives —and LifeNews has outlined several here.
But when Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, accepted the ice bucket challenge Aug. 20, the archdiocese announced its donations would be going toward the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa rather than the originator of the challenge.
In a statement released Aug. 20, the archdiocese voiced concerns over the ALS association’s support of embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of embryonic life.
“The archdiocese is not dissuading individual Catholics from making donations, but they are encouraged to be fully informed and make their own prudential judgments.”
“The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has determined that its Catholic schools will not, as organizations, donate to that particular charity,” it read.
“To quote St. John Paul II, ‘Any treatment which claims to save human lives, yet is based upon the destruction of human life in its embryonic state, is logically and morally contradictory, as is any production of human embryos for the direct or indirect purpose of experimentation or eventual destruction.’”
The John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI) is a secular non-profit research institute “grounded in a pro-life bioethic that respects the dignity of every human life,” according to their website. They conduct research to advance technology to treat diseases such as ALS, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other more rare diseases.