Archdiocese of St. Louis Statement on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

August 22, 2014
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – The Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has released a statement about the well-known “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which has gained enormous popularity as it has swept across the country in recent weeks. While raising awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the challenge has also raised funds to support research by the ALS Association.

The statement reads, in part:

“There is nothing immoral about raising awareness for diseases and ethical research towards curing diseases; there is no reason Catholics can't participate. The key, however, is to ensure that donations from participation are being utilized to support morally licit research.”

The statement also explains that the moral problem lies with the ALS Association’s support for embryonic stem cell research:

“Embryonic stem cell research is always morally objectionable because a human person must be destroyed to harvest his or her stem cells.  As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated: ‘The use of embryonic stem cells or differentiated cells derived from them - even when these are provided by other researchers through destruction of embryos or when such cells are commercially available - presents serious problems from the standpoint of cooperation in evil and scandal.’’’

As an alternative, the Archdiocese of St. Louis joins many other Catholic organizations around the country in encouraging donations to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City. The Institute is committed to engaging in ethical, pro-life research without the use of embryonic stem cells.

Donations can be made online at

The statement from the Respect Life Apostolate goes on to say:

“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.”

To read the entire statement, click here.