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