By Tim Von Dohlen


March 24, 2017

Having just returned from Washington, D. C. with our special friends Judy and Dick Ames, Pat and I were lucky to get out before the late winter blizzard hit the East Coast.  It was a combination of work, sightseeing and visits to the Hill to obtain and share information.  Attempting to follow Dr. Italy’s (Marcellino D.

Having just returned from Washington, D. C. with our special friends Judy and Dick Ames, Pat and I were lucky to get out before the late winter blizzard hit the East Coast.  It was a combination of work, sightseeing and visits to the Hill to obtain and share information.  Attempting to follow Dr. Italy’s (Marcellino D. Ambrosio) “Forty Day Forty Ways” suggestion for the best Lent yet, we attended daily Mass at St. Mathew’s Cathedral, St. Stephen’s, St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s on the Hill, and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

While at the Shrine we also visited the St. John Paul II Shrine which is absolutely beautiful.  Developed by the Knights of Columbus it traces the life and contributions of Pope John Paul II and the continuing impact his life will have for centuries to come on the Catholic Church and the world with his ability to communicate in his speeches and writings.  Masterfully presented, the incredible mosaics were designed and developed by Father Marko Rupnik who said, “we took the vision of the Pope’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (Redeemer of Man), which contains a vision of man that is really a new life – for man exists fully only if he is in Christ”, and named the church inside the Shrine, Redemptor Hominis.  The sculptor and artists created mosaics of significant Bible stories about Jesus including the Luminous Mysteries (established by Pope John Paul II) and from the Old and New Testament.  They are very tastefully done and stunning to see.  The Shrine of St. John Paul II is a must see for your next trip to D.C.

Also, included in the St. John Paul II Shrine was a special exhibit on the life and death of martyr Saint Thomas More who chose to die rather than give in to the requests of King Henry VIII to approve the King’s desire for an annulment so the King could remarry.  Saint Thomas More is known for refusal to betray his Catholic faith and defense of the right of conscience and the free exercise of religion.  His death occurred in 1532 and in 1929 G. K. Chesterton made a prophetic statement when he wrote, “Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death even perhaps the great moment of his dying; but he is not quite so important as he will be in about a hundred years time.”  Unfortunately, this prediction is ringing true with the current attacks in America on religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

St. Thomas More declared he went to his death as, “the king’s good servant, and God’ first”.  We can recall the recent challenge to the Little Sisters of the Poor who had their St. Thomas More moment when asked to simply “sign a piece of paper” and thereby betray their consciences in relation to the U.S. Government contraceptive mandate (see the November 2016 issue of the Columbia Magazine).

The courage demonstrated by St. Thomas More is being sought in our President and members of Congress to undo the efforts of anti-life forces over recent years.  We visited leadership of the Susan B. Anthony List which has been instrumental in getting a commitment from candidate Donald Trump that he would nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court which became his number one commitment.  President Trump is following this commitment with his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.  Now the battle will follow for his confirmation.

There are a series of issues which now have a chance of being adopted by the Republican controlled Congress. These include:  1) defunding Planned Parenthood, 2) eliminating the contraceptive mandate with the repeal of Obamacare, 3) making the Hyde Amendment (to prevent Federal funding of abortion) permanent, and 4) passing the ban on abortions once the unborn child can experience pain.  We discussed ways that the current Federal law could be reversed – that all healthcare laws include abortion unless abortion is specifically excluded.  Can you believe we have gotten to this point in America?  Abortion destroys life and the health of the mother and is not healthcare and yet abortion is included in Federal law as healthcare.

Much of the buzz while we were in Washington was about anonymous sources providing information to media outlets and what liberal media was doing to undermine the new President and his administration.

I was amazed at the recent quote I saw from the memoirs of a North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap regarding the liberal American media: “What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!”

A truism worthy of note: . . . Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media, for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor.

The press and other media including CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS have all supported the liberal position.   What was it that caused Donald Trump to win the Presidency?  It was rustbelt Catholic voters that put him over the top (see article by George J. Marlin 11/12/12016 in the Catholic Thing).  “In those states, aging churchgoing Catholics are disproportionately represented, because their children and grandchildren have moved to more economically prosperous regions.  Ceding the white working-class Catholic vote and then calling them irredeemable deplorables were fatal mistakes that cost Mrs. Clinton the election.”  Marlin.  There were enough Catholic voters who voted their faith to make the difference.

While in Washington, D. C. we got to visit the Fox studio and met some very interesting people.  It was clear from visiting with them that they are giving the President the chance to succeed. The Fox media personalities we met were Laura Ingram, Bret Baier, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.  See picture. (ed: Picture is being tweeted @CatholicBizNews in case it doesn’t show up below)  They clearly express their opinions, but it is done on panel shows and not straight news reporting.

We are fortunate to recently hear Father Bryce Sibley, Chaplain at the Student Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, speak about Lent and what it means to be authentic in our Catholic faith when he said, “We must give of ourselves by giving attention to those in need, give generously, and give witness to our faith.”  That is another way of saying what the last five popes have taught that all are called to evangelize in both deed and word.  Have an inspiring Lent.


Timothy Von Dohlen is the founder and president of the John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas. (  For a more robust bio, click here.  – He may be reached at  See post of picture mentioned in the article on Twitter — @CatholicBizNews

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