- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The Catholic Diocese of Richmond is discouraging parishes and schools that participate in the ice bucket challenge from sending money to the ALS Association.

The diocese has sent a letter to 29 Catholic schools advising them to send donations to another organization that combats ALS. The diocese planned to send the letter Tuesday to 146 parishes, WDBJ-TV (https://bit.ly/1nynXro ) reported.

In the letter, the diocese says the ALS Association uses embryonic stem cells to conduct research on ALS. The diocese said it supports adult stem cell research.

The Catholic Church relates the use of embryonic stem cells in research to abortion and says it violates the sanctity of human life.

The Richmond diocese said it supports adult stem cell research.

“Our goal is to make sure that anyone in the future who does these ice bucket challenges, not send their funds to something that would in fact be unethical or immoral which would be the destruction of human life,” Diane Snider with the Richmond diocese told WDBJ.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death. It’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Last week, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati told its 113 schools in a letter to cease any plans to raise funds for the association and to instead direct donations to another organization that combats ALS.

Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the ALS Association, has said her group largely funds adult stem cell research but does fund one study involving embryonic stem cells using money from one specific donor. She has said all donors to the ALS Association can stipulate where their money goes and can ask that it not pay for embryonic stem cell research.

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Information from: WDBJ-TV, https://www.wdbj7.com/


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