By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

CHICAGO, March 10, 2008, ( – Pro-life students from a Catholic high school in Chicago’s South Side boycotted the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, after it discovered that some of the proceeds from the parade will be used for embryonic stem cell research. Several dozen Catholic parishes and schools participate in the annual South Side Irish Parade.

Among the charities that benefit from funds raised by the parade is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which supports embryonic stem cell research in its pursuit of a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The school sought guidance on whether to march in the parade from the archdiocese’s Respect Life office, where director Mary Louise Kurey, former Miss Wisconsin and renowned speaker on chastity and pro-life issues, encouraged them to talk to organizers about directing a percentage of the proceeds to an alternative diabetes research fund.

Kurey explained that embryonic stem cell research is morally offensive and that other forms of stem cell research were more promising.

“That type of research, praise God, has been made obsolete because wonderful ethical alternatives have been found,” Kurey said in a Chicago Tribune report.

In the end, reports the Tribune, the unnamed Catholic school chose not to sign up to march in the parade.

Though the archdiocese did not take issue with the parade organizers about where funds are directed, they did state clearly the Catholic Church’s moral position on this kind of research: “No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings, or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or fetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother’s body.”

“We live in a sinful world where there are many problems,” said Kurey. “We want to promote life saving cures of these diseases. That’s an extension of the respect life message. But we do want to make sure the organizations that are working toward this mission respect all human life.”

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