Biden town hall at Cincinnati Catholic college causes controversy

President Biden will attend a CNN town hall Wednesday night at Mount Saint Joseph University, a Catholic institution. Photo of the Cincinnati, OH skyline courtesy of

Kaitlin Lewis | Online Editor-in-Chief

President Joe Biden is scheduled to attend a CNN town hall Wednesday evening in Cincinnati.

The location, however, has sparked some controversy.

The town hall will air at 8 p.m. and take place at Mount Saint Joseph University, a Catholic college in the west side of Cincinnati. In anticipation of Biden’s arrival, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati released a statement Tuesday saying that Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr would not have approved of Biden visiting a Catholic property. The decision made by Mount Saint Joseph to host the town hall, however, was not under Schnurr’s call.

“Archbishop Schnurr has therefore not been asked for, nor would he have granted, his approval for any such event to occur on Catholic premises,” the statement from the Archdiocese reads. “Mount St. Joseph University operates under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Charity and not under the direct oversight of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”

On Wednesday, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati released a statement saying that while it is pleased Mount Saint Joseph was chosen for the CNN town hall, it was not involved with the decision to host the event.

“Being selected for this honor recognizes the Mount as an outstanding institution of higher learning,” the statement read. “We wish to clarify that the agreement to schedule a President Town Hall at the Mount on Wednesday, July 21, is between MSJ and CNN.”

The statement from Archbishop Schnurr is not alone. Biden has received criticism from Catholic leaders in the past for his support of abortion rights, a position that stands against Catholic teaching.

In June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to move forward with drafting “a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.” The statement could result in withholding communion from politicians like Biden who are at odds with the Church’s teaching on abortion.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, a pro-life organization, released a statement on Tuesday with plans to protest the town hall. The group will meet an hour prior to air time. In its statement, Right to Life refers to Mount Saint Joseph as a “so-called Catholic” university.

“The university is hosting a president who claims to be a Catholic, yet has the most pro-abortion administration in the history of our country?” the statement read.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Wednesday that Mount Saint Joseph responded to the controversy in its own statement, saying that it was excited to introduce the university to a “prime-time audience.”

“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,” the statement read.

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