TORONTO, June 10, 2003 ( – Soon after LifeSite News published an expose on The Arthritis Society (TAS), revealing a position paper and statements by TAS President and CEO Denis Morrice in support of funding embryonic stem cell research, the Knights of Columbus met with TAS. The Knights of Columbus (KofC) of Ontario, which has given the organization some $15 million, expressed its concerns to members of the TAS Medical Research Advisory Committee at a May 27 meeting.  In a June letter to all Grand Knights in Ontario, KofC Ontario State Deputy Robert Cayea, explains “We discussed our position and that of the Canadian Congress of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Ontario Congress of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) regarding embryonic stem cell research.”  TAS assured the Knights that they have not yet funded any projects involving embryonic stem cell research, nor received any requests for funding of such research.  An accompanying letter from TAS signed by Ontario Division Chair Heather Howe, acknowledges the statements of the President and CEO on the subject but says that “As the Chair of the Ontario Division I have confirmed that there is no specific Arthritis Society Board-approved policy with respect to embryonic stem cell research.”  Moreover, the Knights of Columbus release notes that “the Arthritis Society will not enter into research involving the use of ESCR without prior consultation with the Knights of Columbus.”  The Arthritis Society letter renders it: “In the event that a research application employing embryonic stem cells is proposed to the Arthritis Society in the future, the appropriate policy committees will address the issues with broad consultation.  I assure you that the position of major funding partners, such as the Ontario Knights of Columbus, will play a key role in these deliberations.”  LifeSite spoke today with Mr. Grant Ertel the liaison from the KofC Ontario State Council to TAS.  Mr. Ertel attended the May 27 meeting with TAS along with State Deputy Cayea and told LifeSite that TAS President Morrice “has no authority to authorize funding of research without the approval of the advisory board.”  Mr. Ertel assured LifeSite that the advisory board’s promise to consult with the Knights prior to embarking on such research is a virtual rejection of such research since “the Knights will never accept it.”  To congratulate the Knights:  Ontario State Council, Knights of Columbus 265 Yorkland Blvd., Suite 302 Toronto, Ontario M2J 1S5 Tel: (416) 502-3352 Fax: (416) 502-3353 E-mail Toll Free: 1-800-759-0959 [email protected]   See related LifeSite coverage:  ARTHRITIS SOCIETY DOES NOT OBJECT TO FUNDING EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH Knights Of Columbus To Encourage Arthritis Society To Withdraw Support For Embryonic Stem Cell Research Local Knights Of Columbus Leaders Warn Arthritis Society Against Funding