Archdiocese: 'Ice Buckets' Present a Moral Problem

Catholics shouldn't fund embryonic stem-cell research, Archdiocese says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2014 5:10 PM CDT
Nashville recording artists the Marshall Lowry Band was issued the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by Lowry's uncle Steve McDonald. Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 20, 2014 in Fairmont, W. Va.   (AP Photo/Times West Virginian, Tammy Shriver)
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(Newser) – The Cincinnati Archdiocese is all for people embracing the "Ice Bucket Challenge"—just so it doesn't conflict with Catholic beliefs. The Archdiocese says it's OK for Catholics to get doused in ice-cold water to raise money for ALS research, but the funds shouldn't go to the ALS Association, which backs a study that uses embryonic stem cells, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The Archdiocese's 113 schools now plan to redirect their money to a medical organization that uses only adult stem cells in its research, the AP reports. "It's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough," says an Archdiocese spokesman. "The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Embryonic stem-cell research uses cells from embryos that are four or five days old, Salon notes, whereas adult stem-cell research takes cells from throughout the body. And as the Washington Post reports, a Vatican directive in 2008 argued against stem-cell research, saying that it "presents serious problems from the standpoint of cooperation in evil and scandal." The American Life League, an anti-abortion group, compares embryonic stem-cell research to abortion and urges its members not to support the ALS Association. A Catholic ethicist says a "moral controversy" has arisen in the church over the "Ice Bucket Challenge," but at least one Catholic blogger seems to have found a solution: "While I can’t donate to the ALS Association," he wrote, "I will certainly pray for those that suffer from this disease."

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