Cincinnati archbishop: I would not have approved Biden’s visit to Catholic university

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr Archbishop Dennis Schnurr celebrates Mass at the tomb of St. Peter along with other bishops from the United States' Region VI during their ad limina visit to the Holy See. | David Kerr/CNA

The Archbishop of Cincinnati on Tuesday said he was not informed of President Biden’s upcoming visit to a Catholic university in his archdiocese. He did not approve the university hosting the event.

On Wednesday, July 21, President Joe Biden will appear at a townhall event broadcast by CNN and hosted by Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati. The university is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

News of the event’s location was reported on Tuesday. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr then issued a statement saying that he “has not been contacted by any involved party” regarding Biden’s appearance at the university.

“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 archdiocese stated.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for clarification as to why Archbishop Schnurr would have refused approval of the event. Mount Saint Joseph University did not immediately respond to a request for comment by CNA on Tuesday afternoon.

Regarding the July 21 townhall, reported that CNN anchor Don Lemon will moderate the one-hour event, which will cover “a wide range of issues facing the nation ranging from Covid-19 to the economy.”

President Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history. While the U.S. bishops’ conference has praised some of his administration’s policies on immigration and fighting poverty, conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles stated in January his concern about Biden’s policies on abortion, gender issues, and religious freedom.

“I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” Gomez stated.  “Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”

In January, Biden stated his support for Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, on the 48th anniversary of the ruling.

Biden’s budget request for the 2022 fiscal year included taxpayer-funded abortion by excluding the Hyde Amendment. The amendment has been federal policy since 1976, and prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid. Biden once supported the policy as a U.S. senator, but reversed his support in 2019 as a presidential candidate.

He also supports the Equality Act, legislation which recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal law; the U.S. bishops’ conference has opposed the legislation, saying it would codify transgender ideology in law and would “punish” religious groups that object to the LGBT agenda.

Biden’s administration is also seeking to reinstate the “transgender mandate,” policy which would force doctors and insurance companies to perform or cover gender-transitioning procedures upon the referral from a mental health professional.

The Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

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