Hying referenced a statement from the U.S. bishop’s conference last year, in which they stated that abortion is the “preeminent moral issue facing our nation.”
The use of the word “preeminent” is important, Hying said, because “procured abortion surpasses all other moral issues in its urgency, but clearly is not the only issue we face.”
“Although I have always been pro-life, my commitment and understanding deepened when, as a young priest, I listened to and learned from the emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain of so many women and men who have been profoundly wounded by the violence of abortion,” he added.
Hying said he is grateful for the many ways the Church supports women “both in crisis pregnancy and after their children are born -- provides health care, education and social services to those in poverty, and offers hope and healing to women and men grieving in the aftermath of abortion.”
Because of the Church’s support and care for the whole person from birth to natural death, Hying said he rejects the “canard” that pro-life Catholics “only cares about the unborn child, but not those who are born.”
“If a candidate is fundamentally wrong on such a basic and preeminent human rights issue of grave consequence to the most innocent in our society and to our own future, how can I trust the candidate to make moral and prudent decisions on many other important social justice issues pertaining to the common good?” he wrote.
In a joint letter to Catholics issued this month, the Catholic bishops of Virginia - Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington and Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond - outlined three things Catholics should keep in mind when going to the voting booth.
“Many issues are important. Not all issues have equal moral weight. Protecting life is paramount,” the bishops noted.
In their letter, Burbidge and Knestout pointed Catholics to “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a statement written by the U.S. bishop’s conference and posted to their website.
“Our moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts – which are ‘always incompatible with love of God and neighbor’ – ‘has a special claim on our consciences and our actions,’” the bishops said, quoting Faithful Citizenship.
“Of these, abortion is the ‘preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed,’” they added.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The bishops of Virginia also encouraged Catholics to visit vacatholic.org, to view a “side-by-side comparison of what the two major-party Presidential candidates have said or done on a wide range of issues of importance to Catholics...compiled jointly by a number of state Catholic conferences, including the Virginia Catholic Conference.”
In his column for the September 2020 issue of Florida Catholic, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami also emphasized that the Church was not a political entity that should tell Catholics how to vote.
“Our Church rightly does not tell the faithful to vote for any candidate or party. The Catholic Church is not - nor does she want to be - a political agency or a special interest group,” he said.
“However, she does have a profound interest - and rightly so - in the good of the political community, the soul of which is justice. For this reason, the Church engages in a wide variety of public policy issues including the defense of unborn life, of religious liberty and of marriage as a union of one man and one woman, as well as advocacy on issues concerning immigration, education, poverty and racism, along with many others,” Wenski said.
Wenski also pointed Catholics to Faithful Citizenship as a helpful resource to inform their consciences before they vote.
The Church “offers a specific moral framework that should guide the voter in making prudential decisions as to who are the ‘best’ candidates - or, as sadly happens too often, who are the least ‘worse’ candidates,” Wenski stated.