STL Archdiocese morally opposes ALS Association donations

ST. LOUIS – They've been clogging your Facebook newsfeed for weeks: "Ice Bucket Challenge" videos. Now, the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis morally opposes donations to ALS Association because they support embryonic stem cell research.

In a statement on the Archdiocese's website, the Church says there's no reason Catholic's can't participate in the "Ice Bucket Challenge," but encourages donations to support "morally licit research."

"Certainly, individuals suffering with ALS as well as their family and friends deserve our support and prayers for healing. We encourage all to continue supporting everyone who is suffering or in spiritual, physical, or financial need. The Church supports all morally licit efforts towards a better understanding of and treatment for ALS," reads the statement.

NewsChannel 5 contacted ALS Association for a response to the Archdiocese's statement. Here is what they said:

"The ALS Association primarily funds adult stem cell research using stem cells derived from the skin cells of people with ALS ("induced pluripotent stem cells" or iPS cells). These iPS cells begin as adult human skin cells but are then reprogrammed to become stem cells, which are then ready to become other cells types. This process offers a powerful tool for modeling the disease process and for discovering and testing new therapies.

"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.

"The ALS Association is committed to honoring donor intent. If a donor is not comfortable with a type of research, he or she can stipulate that their dollars not be invested in that particular area."

The ALS Association says as of Aug. 22 they have raised more than $53 million, up more than $51 million over the same time period last year.

You can read the Archdiocese's entire statement on their website.

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