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Archbishop 'not asked, nor would he have granted' approval for Biden visit to Catholic university

Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr
Posted at 2:39 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 00:51:29-04

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr was not consulted when Mount St. Joseph University decided to host President Joe Biden for a town hall event this week, but he said, if it were up to him, he would not have invited Biden to speak at a Catholic institution.

Ultimately, though, it's not up to him.

"Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr has not been contacted by any involved party about the upcoming visit of President Joseph R. Biden to Cincinnati to participate in a CNN town hall meeting at Mount St. Joseph University," the statement reads. "Archbishop Schnurr has therefore not been asked for, nor would he have granted, his approval for any such event to occur on Catholic premises. Mount St. Joseph University operates under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Charity and not under the direct oversight of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati."

While founded by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and affiliated with the Catholic church, the Delhi Township university operates independently of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Schnurr said.

The archbishop in his statement did not elaborate specifically on why he would not have granted approval for Biden's visit.

Biden is the second practicing Catholic to be elected president but does not share the church's views on abortion and considers himself pro-choice.

"President Joe Biden touts himself as a faithful Catholic, but in reality he is causing public scandal. He's committed grave sin in the Catholic Church by supporting abortion," said Meg DeBlase, executive director of Cincinnati Right to Life.

She said she believes Mount St. Joseph should cancel the president's visit.

"We're calling on the Mount not only to cancel this event, to issue a public apology for it and to make a change to start defending the lives of the unborn," said DeBlase.

In a statement Tuesday, university officials said, "We are humbled and honored that both CNN and the White House have recognized Mount St. Joseph University as an outstanding institution of higher learning that is capable and willing to host such an important event.

"The University has always been and will continue to be a diverse and inclusive place where people from different races, ethnicities, social backgrounds, beliefs, and religions can come together to discuss and share their unique perspectives. We look forward to introducing the Mount to a nationally televised prime time audience."

On a complaint line set up for university callers upset about the visit, a recorded message plays, explaining that, while the university may not share the president's views and opinions on all topics, they are still humbed, honored and proud to host the event.

The message also informs callers that Pope Francis invited and welcomed President Biden to the Vatican.

"The president is excited just to be in Cincinnati," said Meghan Hays, White House director of message planning. "He's excited to be in a place where folks from Ohio can get together and ask him questions and he can address their concerns straight to them."

For DeBlase, it's still not enough. She said Mount St. Joseph should be putting the Catholic faithful first.

"Any institution that calls itself Catholic should not in any way be supporting anyone who is supportive of abortion," she said.

Right to Life plans to hold a protest for Wednesday, although details of where or what the protest may be were not available.