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Catholic Leaders Put A Chill On ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – After raising millions for ALS research through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, some Catholic leaders are gently questioning how the accumulated cash is being spent, CBS 2's Lou Young reported.

"We don't want to throw cold water on this," Newark Archdiocese Lawrence Falma said. "We just want to let people know where the money's going, where it's being used."

Leaders are worried about embryonic stem cell research using aborted human fetuses. It has become less common in recent years but it still happens, Young reported.

"ALS does some. They've already admitted that. Not a whole lot, which is why I'm not quick to condemn them. I would say you guys need a little bit of a wake up call here," Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League, said.

As Young reported, the issue has been raised in a handful of dioceses across the country.

The Archdiocese of Newark weighed in Thursday afternoon with a statement telling people that if the challenge moves them to donate, they should do so in a way that is consistent with Catholic teachings about the sanctity of human life.

"If people want to give to ALS, they can give, but restrict the money for adult stem cells," Falma said.

Donors told CBS 2 it's something they hadn't thought about.

"That wasn't something that would even have crossed my mind, because we're trying to raise money for a certain cause and it's a wonderful opportunity, but I'm not sure we're doing it the appropriate way," Ramsey resident Kristin Dabaghian said.

The dioceses that have spoken out all say they're concerned about fundraising in the upcoming Catholic school year, CBS 2 reported.

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