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Ohio diocese discourages ALS ice bucket challenge

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Major League Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred participates in the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge outside the organization's headquarters in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Manfred participated with more than 160 other MLB employees to raise more than $16,000 for the ALS Association. (AP Photo/Vanessa A. Alvarez) (AP2014)

A Catholic diocese in Ohio is discouraging its schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, citing its funding of research involving embryonic stem cells.

In a letter sent Tuesday to its 113 schools, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's superintendent of Catholic schools says the research being funded is "in direct conflict with Catholic teaching."

The superintendent told the schools that students and staff can still do the ice bucket challenge, but any funds raised should be given to organizations that combat ALS without embryonic stem cell research.

An ALS Association spokeswoman says the group funds one study involving embryonic stem cells, but donors can stipulate that their funds go elsewhere.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death.

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