WASHINGTON — In the fight against abortion, it is crucial to recognize the reality of evil and the importance of prayer, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said on the eve of the annual March for Life.
The power of evil in the world, he said, is “stronger than any in creation save one, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who called himself ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’”
“That’s why we come to this place of prayer to commence our project, a home the powers of darkness are scared of, 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 ‘throwaway’ and St. John Paul termed ‘of death.’”
Cardinal Dolan delivered the homily at the Jan. 18 Mass of the “Vigil for Life,” which took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
The “Vigil for Life” is held each year on the night before the March for Life, an annual event on or near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide.
The march routinely draws hundreds of thousands from across the country to witness to the dignity of every human life.
In his homily, Cardinal Dolan said that observers of the march — now in its 45th year — have compared it to the “peaceful yet so effective protests for civil rights organized by the prophetic pastor” Martin Luther King Jr.
“(L)ike the Rev. Martin Luther King, our prayers and witness are about civil rights, the civil right to life and to equal protection under the law, guaranteed by our Constitution, for the most fragile, marginalized and threatened — the tiny, innocent baby in the womb,” he said.
“Like Pastor King, our belief in the dignity of the human person and sacredness of all human life propels us to concern for human life wherever, whenever and however it is threatened, from racial antagonism to justice for immigrants, from the war-torn to the hungry.”
The cardinal pointed to the March for Life as a means of advocating for the unborn and showing that “millions, mostly young people, share a passion for a belief that the little baby has civil rights.” It is important for the nation’s lawmakers to see the strength of the pro-life movement, 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 who lack the cash of the abortion industry, who can’t find many in Hollywood to support them, who can’t seem to get a hearing on campus, and who are told not to even consider running for office in some states.”
The lawmakers need to hear “that we’re not going to give up, that reason and the grand American tradition enshrined in our foundational documents are on our side, and that our love for babies, their struggling moms and dads, and our passion for a society to assist and protect all vulnerable life will keep us at it,” he said.
He also noted that the march is a powerful way “to fight the temptation we must admit — the temptation to discouragement.” With the message of the pro-life movement ridiculed and harassed by much of the media, academia, entertainment industry and one of the two major political parties, the fight can at times feel lonely, he said.
Cardinal Dolan said that in his home state of New York, abortion is legal until birth and can be funded with taxpayer dollars, while those with conscientious objections can find their jobs threatened.
“What a paradox and heavenly sign that the Sisters of Life were founded in such a pro-abortion state!”
Despite challenges, the pro-life movement has reason for hope, the cardinal said.
He encouraged those present to be “apostles of life, apostles armed not with money, not with hate or destructive words, but armed, as our Holy Father exhorts, with love and joy.”