By Tim Von Dohlen

Vatican Clarity, Bishops Consideration, God in Our Lives, and the “iY” Generation

March 23, 2021

Being in the second tier of qualification (over age 60) to get the Covid vaccine, Pat and I got our second Moderna shot just a few days before the snowstorm hit Texas.  As with many others, we both had a substantial negative reaction to the second shot, but fortunately that only lasted for 24 hours.

Our attention quickly turned to one of the coldest snowstorms to ever hit Texas.


Beauty and Goodness amid the nightmare

We did not lose electrical power or water. This allowed us to have a grandson, several neighbors and friends who were not so fortunate to stay with us.

All said, a few broken exterior pipes and lots of frozen plants that will need to be replaced, still let us realize how blessed we were.

As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.”

It was so wonderful to hear stories and see people reaching out to one another to help each other in a time of need. So wonderful to see that goodness of the human heart touched by God.


Taking a break: The majestic Grand Canyon

Pat and I took a week after things settled down in Texas and went to the Grand Canyon, first flying into Phoenix, then traveling by car to Williams, Arizona. We then boarded a  train for an amazing 2.5-hour train ride in the dome car, which allowed us to better see changing terrain and vegetation along the way.  We stayed at the historic El Tovar Hotel.

It is difficult to adequately describe the majesty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon – 277 miles long, more than 10 miles across at various places, resplendant with amazing, vibrant colors, and over 1 billion years old.

The Colorado River runs through the Grand Canyon, some 4,265 feet below the rim of the canyon. It provides drinking water to millions of people in the U.S. and Mexico.

Well worth the visit!


Faith VS. Inner Void, Loneliness

A few days after returning to Austin, Texas, we were having dinner at Sienna Restaurant with our friends, Judy and Richard Ames. We were settled in a corner table to help cut down the background noise for those of us a little hard of hearing when suddenly there was a crash on the floor right next to me.

Someone’s iPhone (now smashed) had fallen from the second level of the restaurant. It just missed my head by about four inches!

As I thought about how serious that could have been, I thanked God that it had not hit me on the head. I had to wonder, could that have been the work of my Guardian Angel? Maybe someday I will know but for now I choose to believe it was!

I know God watches over each of us.

How sad it is that forces in America today are trying to move away from a belief in God, trying to force upon all a godless society.

Too many people do not understand our internal yearning or longing that each of us has for something.

As we find in The Word For Today,

“It’s clear that a relationship with God is the foundation upon which everything in our lives must be built. If we do not understand that we were created with an intense hunger for a relationship with God, we won’t understand where the inner void and loneliness come from.”

Faithful believers in God understand that God is their source of strength to deal with the problems that life brings our way.


Not merely “Catholic” in name

Faithful Catholics, those who do their best to follow the Catechism, Tradition, and the Magisterium, are dismayed by the slowness to act by the Vatican on the issue of “gay priests” in the Church.

Also, there is confusion as to why there is not a unified statement by the Bishops through the USCCB about persons who publicly attest to being Catholic, but their public actions are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Church and are causing scandal.

So many people do not separate the actions of an individual within the hierarchy of the Church from the Church itself. These people view the actions of the individual as actions of the Church.

This lack of clarity and accountability by the Bishops is causing many lay persons to leave the Catholic church.

We Catholic lay men and women must pray that Catholic Church leaders in a position to change the above situation will use their authority to speak out to the laity in support of the Truth as taught by Our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, and preserved in the clear teachings of the Church for more than 2,000 years. May God guide the Bishops when they consider these issues this coming June.

The Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF), with approval for release by Pope Francis on March 15, 2021, says:

“… there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

“But He (God) does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of His plan of love and allow himself to be changed by Him.”

The document continued. “He in fact takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are.” (capitalization added)

“For the above-mentioned reasons, the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex in the sense intended above,’ the CDF concluded.

What a wonderfully clear statement.

This is the type of conclusive statement needed in order to give confidence to the laity in the leadership of the Church because it follows the Truth.


Millenial Motivation

I am having difficulty understanding what is driving the actions of the largest generational group in population (and certainly the largest potential voting age group in the US, about 73 million people) Gen Y (born 1981-1996 give or take a few years on either end) also called Millenials. They are recognized to be the most behaviorally varied generation in American history.

Millenials could also be called “Generation iY” influenced by the so-called “i” world, with the younger Millenials born after 1990.

Their world has been impacted by technology and changed by the internet – iPod, iBook, iPhone, iChat, iMovie, iPad, and iTunes, and for the majority of this generation, life is about “i.”

According to various studies and behavioral observations, most of these young adults do not process or learn as previous generations. These young men and women have spent countless hours giving their opinions via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and thus largely define their sense of self-worth by what they “uploaded” and not what they “downloaded.” (Elmore 2010; Kins & Beyers, 2010)

When I think back to my childhood and the persons who “downloaded” knowledge to me. It was my parents, brother, sister, teachers, Priests, scoutmaster, and coaches. It definitely also included the books from school or other sources and to a certain extent – radio, television, and the telephone. There was a lot of personal interaction with my contemporaries and adults as well.

But the point is that this was generally something being “downloaded” to me by another person.

As I grew up, there were definitely some checks and balances on expressions of opinion and there was no platform that allowed delivery of opinion to many people at one time.

But with the “i” devices there has been a platform established that can spread one’s opinion to many others with the touch of a finger. There is no filter, and one’s opinion is shared without the sender even having any background knowledge. Nor does that person, the sender of his opinion, necessarily have and experience or background in the matter, nor is there any restraint regarding how realistic or factual any claimed background may be..

It doesn’t make sense.  Would you even consider hiring a person to fix a flooded basement — or even to offer an opinion on what’s wrong — without first checking his or her background and experience or other people’s reviews about how he or she solved their similar problem?!

I vividly remember some 10-15 years ago warnings of the extent of information about to become available and how there was no way one person could keep up with all the information available.

However, there was no warning about the flood of information coming from millions of “i” device users. The platform is definitely being used, but how reliable is the “uploaded” information?


Addressing the Download Void

Reliable or not, the flood of information and opinions from “i” device users has had and will continue to have an impact on people’s interpersonal actions and how society as a whole is affected.

I compare this to the parent who always wants to make his or her child happy, e.g., such as asking a three-year-old who has never been to the zoo if he or she wants to go to the zoo. The child has no frame of reference, but only an opinion without background, to help make a decision, not an informed decision.

Having these insights about the iY Millenials gives me some understanding and a recognition that much needs to be done to provide reliable and factual information that can somehow get downloaded to those who have missed out during their regular high school and college years.

Are our schools addressing the information download void which has occurred to our youth?

There needs to be a reorganization of our educational system to get back to basics and educate our future generations about the goodness of America taking into account the impact that “i” devices have on our children and their education.


Be Not Afraid… and Do Your Part

There are so many things happening now in American society.

We must pray for God’s guidance and we must act to do our part.

Let us go forward remembering the admonition of St. John Paul II to “Be Not Afraid.”


Catholic business leader, former Texas state representative, business owner and co-founder of the St. John Paul II Life Center, Tim Von Dohlen and his wife Pat put their faith into words in in their book, In Life The Journey Is Everything: From the Dump to the Gym and Beyond. Together they recount their adventures, their journey of healing from grief, their discovery of hope after tragedy and ultimately finding love again… 


View Articles If you’ve met Tim, you know that his life was shaped by good values that were imparted to him by his parents and he... MORE »

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