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Cardinal Dolan gives the homily at the 2018 March for Life vigil Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The battle to end abortion will not be won on the political front alone, Cardinal Timothy Dolan told a packed Basilica this evening at the Prayer Vigil Mass for the March for Life in Washington D.C. First and foremost it is waged on the spiritual front where abortion must be recognized as a “power of darkness,” he said.

“The forces we face are not just those we can see, [which] are ominous enough. I'm afraid we battle, as well, an axis we cannot see, whose powers are stronger than any in creation, save one: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who called himself ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” he said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. 

Dolan, who is the Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that pro-lifers fighting for the “civil right to life and to equal protection under the law” of “the tiny innocent baby in the womb” have come to the Basilica on the vigil of the March for Life to “commence this project” specifically in prayer. 

“This place — a home — the powers of darkness are scared of. [It’s a] house where Mary is our mother, where Jesus dwells, and where we are with family,” he said. 

“We come to admit realistically that there are powers of darkness in a culture Pope Francis calls ‘throw away’ and Saint John Paul termed ‘of death.’ As Pope Francis often reminds us — everybody — we are fools if we dismiss the power of Satan,” he continued. 

“So, you bet we are here this evening to advocate to be encouraged and to lobby, but we're also here to pray, not as warriors, but as apostles of life, apostles armed, not with money, not with hate or destructive words, [but] armed with, as our Holy Father exhorts, with ‘love and joy.’”

Dolan urged all present to be “apostles of life, who like those first twelve — as recalled in this evening’s word — believed in the power of Jesus and who saw — as recorded in the Gospel — unclean spirits fall down before him and shout ‘you are the son of God.’”

“No wonder we say, ‘Let us give thanks to the Father who delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved son,’” he said. 

Dolan said that just as Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights when those rights were being excluded from a group of people, so pro-life advocates are fighting with a “passion for the belief” that the “little baby has civil rights” too. 

Part of the fight is to “lobby for life,” he said. 

“Our elected representatives, executive and legislative, and the judiciary they appoint, need to see and hear and feel the grassroots power and sincere voices of millions…we are here to say, we are not going to give up,” he said. 

Dolan said that elected officials need to know that “reason and the grand American tradition enshrined in our foundational documents are on our side.”

“Our love for babies and their struggling moms and dads, our passion for a society to assist and protect all venerable life, will keep us at it, because, to borrow my brother pastor’s [Martin Luther King] refrain, ‘we shall overcome.’

The March for Life vigil Mass kicks off an annual event that sees hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates converging on Washington to March for Life. The event marks 45 years of legal abortion in the United States, and proclaim that “Love Saves Lives.”

They gather to mourn some 60 million children killed in the womb since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling struck down abortion laws on January 22, 1973, and to renew their strength to continue the battle to secure protection for their country’s tiniest and most vulnerable citizens.

And in a momentous first, the March for Life crowd will see a livestream video address from their sitting president. Trump will speak to the March from the White House Rose Garden to kick off the rally preceding the March.