URGENT! Only 3 days left! We must still match $2,680 to win a $25,400 Challenge Grant! Can you help?
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Church leaders voice misgivings about ice-bucket challenge

Catholic World News - August 22, 2014

Catholic school officials in Cincinnati and Chicago have advised principals not to cooperate with the “ice-bucket challenge,” an internet campaign that has raised over $40 million for research to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

While applauding efforts to fight the disease, Church spokesmen expressed misgivings about donations to the ALS Association. Sister Mary Paul McCaughey pointed out that the ALS Association “uses embryonic stem cells for its research.”

Some Catholic officials suggested that if parochial-school students participate in the ice-bucket challenge, they should send their contributions to the John Paul II Medical Research Center, which also does research on ALS but uses only adult stem cells.

In Boston, John Frates, a Catholic who spearheaded the ice-bucket campaign after his son Peter was stricken with ALS, said that he recognized the reasons for Church leaders’ qualms about the effort. “I understand the Catholic dogma,” he told the Boston Herald. “I’m also conflicted with the teachings. I struggle with it, too. I just want my son cured.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($2,680 to go):
$25,400.00 $22,719.71
11% 89%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ColmCille - Aug. 24, 2014 8:41 PM ET USA

    There's no reason Mr. Frates should be conflicted. Instead, as a Catholic he should recognize 1) the moral evil of embryonic stem cell research which cannot be justified even for the great good of curing his son, 2) that it is adult stem cells that provide the hope for a cure anyway. Therrfore, he should have attached the IBC to an ALS charity that doesn't use embryonic stem cell research or support it. Conflict resolved.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 22, 2014 3:36 PM ET USA

    It is difficult for sure, but this is perhaps the hallmark of the difficulties facing Catholics in the world today. If the end is allowed to justify the means, the logical consequences are apalling despite the most laudatory of intentions. ALS is a terrible disease, I can vouch from personal experience in the medical field, but life must be defended particularly at its must vulnerable. The cross is a sign of contradiction; there are always going to be conflicted feelings in human suffering.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

What's wrong with these pictures? 3 hours ago
What can we learn from the dignity of military services? 4 hours ago
Urgent! We need extra financial support between now and May 24th. 10 hours ago
Was Lewis “basically Catholic”? May 21
Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Scandal May 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days