President Biden’s town hall Wednesday night in Cincinnati will be held at a Catholic college – prompting protests from local anti-abortion groups and grumbling from Cincinnati’s archbishop.
Mount St. Joseph University confirmed Tuesday it is hosting the president for a CNN town hall which airs Wednesday at 8 p.m.
That prompted Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is calling on people to contact the Sisters of Charity, who own the university; the group is also planning a protest Wednesday night o.
The group, which opposes abortion, said the suburban Cincinnati university is hosting the “most pro-abortion president in U.S. history” and asked the public to call the university in protest along with Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.
The university was established by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1920 as the first Catholic university for women in southwest Ohio.
“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,” a statement from the school said. “We look forward to introducing the Mount to a nationally televised prime time audience.”
The Archdioceses of Cincinnati issued a statement Tuesday saying Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr would not have granted a visit by President Biden to Catholic property – but Wednesday’s visit wasn’t his call.
The statement said Schnurr has not been contacted about the visit.
“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 went on to say, “Mount Saint Joseph University operates independent from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”
Biden is the nation’s second Catholic president and attends Mass regularly. He says he personally opposes abortion but doesn’t believe he should impose that position on Americans who feel otherwise. He has taken several executive actions during his presidency that were hailed by abortion-rights advocates.
His invitation to speak at the University of Notre Dame also prompted alumni to criticize the school citing Biden’s “pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda.” Biden declined the invitation due to a scheduling conflict.
“Tell them this is unacceptable for a Catholic university,” an email from Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati read. “They should be ashamed to host a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent unborn lives.”
They called on Schnurr to make it clear to area Catholics that “President Biden is not a Catholic in good standing until he does all in his power to put an end to abortion.”
The group said Biden is working to roll back restrictions on taxpayer-funded abortion put in place by the Trump administration, and referred readers to a list of Biden’s “crimes against the unborn.”
News of the venue, a small Catholic university tucked into the hills of Cincinnati’s conservative West Side, had been a closely held secret, despite a Monday influx of satellite trucks outside the university’s main auditorium.
Mount St. Joseph University is in Delhi Township, a community of 30,000 residents 15 minutes west of downtown Cincinnati. And while Hamilton County voters chose Biden 57% to Trump’s 41%, it was a different story in Delhi Township, which opted for Trump by a margin of 67% to 31%.
Auditor Dusty Rhodes, a Democrat and Catholic from Delhi, agreed with Right to Life in social media posts. He called Biden the “most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had.”
He said Catholic nuns agreeing to host him is “unconscionable.”
“For the Sisters of Charity, an alleged Catholic order, to allow him to use their facilities is just sending all the wrong signals,” Rhodes said.
Contributing: USA Today, Jackie Borchardt