bucketIn his latest column, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver explains why Catholics need to be choosy about where they’re giving their money in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been sweeping social media over the past few weeks.

As the challenge grew in popularity, more people became aware that the ALS Association, which has received $88.5 million in donations as a result of the viral campaign, uses some of its money to fund research that uses embryonic stem cells.

As Archbishop Aquila explains in his column, “regardless of how terrible or debilitating a disease is, it is never right or ethical to take the life of another person to find a cure.”


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is indeed a terrible and debilitating disease. As progressive degeneration of the motor neurons takes place, the disease leads to atrophy in voluntary muscles which eventually causes paralysis in the later stages.

We need to find a cure for this disease that affects some 30,000 people in the US alone, but creating human lives to use their stem cells for research is not the way.

Not only is embryonic stem cell research unethical, it’s ineffective too. Since 1998 when it was first used in the U.S. it has not produced any real results. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, has produced “dozens of treatments for illnesses from skin cancer to heart attacks to brittle bone disease,” Archbishop Aquila pointed out.

He suggests that people take this opportunity to “speak up in favor of ethical, effective research” by donating to organizations such as the John Paul II Medical Research Institute or the Stem for Life Foundation — both of which do not uses embryonic stem cell research.

To read Archbishop Aquila’s full column on CNA, click here.