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UK >

Cathedrals come into the cold

by Tim Wyatt

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 @ 12:32

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Splashing out: the Dean and Chapter of Portsmouth Cathedral take up the Ice Bucket Challenge, on Sunday  

Splashing out: the Dean and Chapter of Portsmouth Cathedral take up the Ice Bucket Challenge, on Sunday  

WITH no sign that interest is drying up, the Ice Bucket Challenge is now being adopted by cathedrals.

The challenge started in the United States earlier this summer, and involves being filming while a bucketful of iced water is poured over your head. Three more people are then nominated to undertake the challenge, which is intended to raise money and awareness for motor neurone disease (News, 29 August).

On Sunday, the Dean and Chapter of Portsmouth Cathedral were doused with freezing-cold water outside the doors of the cathedral.

Besides urging viewers of their video to donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the shivering clerics nominated the Chapters of Chichester, Wells, and Norwich Cathedrals to follow suit. All three chapters have confirmed that they will accept the challenge, and Chichester has already taken the plunge.

In Ireland, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, the Rt Revd Paul Colton, said that he had finally consented to being soaked after receiving a flurry of nominations.

In the United States, Roman Catholic clerics have undergone the ordeal, including three priests from the archdiocese of Denver, who said that they took on the challenge as an "expression of solidarity" with a fellow priest who suffers from an advanced form of motor neurone disease.

"For all those Christians around the world who have been baptised with cold water. . . I feel like you're getting your payback right now," one of the priests, Fr Jason Wallace, said, shortly before the bucket was poured out over him.

A number of RC leaders in the US have cautioned against donating to the charity behind the challenge, the ALS Association, because it supports research using stem cells from embryos, which are then discarded.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center encouraged Roman Catholics to donate instead to other motor-neurone-disease charities.

The ALS Association has confirmed that it currently has one project that uses embryonic stem cells, but said that donors could request that their money did not go towards this study. Its UK sister-charity, the MNDA, does not currently research with embryonic stem cells, but is not opposed to the concept in principle.

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral online in July, more than £60 million has been raised for the ALS Association, and some £3.5 million for the MNDA.

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