February 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The penitential season of Lent is upon us. Catholics customarily observe the season by giving up something. These sacrifices normally involve forgoing habits, foods, and drinks as a way of atoning for our sins. It is a very personal commitment that reflects a desire to reform our lives.
However, this year is not normal. We are told that we must accept “a new normal” that disrupts our habits and life patterns. Everything is upside down, including our Lenten observance.
Adding to the confusion, many changes involve disastrous restrictions on our livelihood and our ability to worship God. Other concerns are anti-Christian laws that loom on the horizon. Our Lenten penance seems so detached from modern life. Thus, many people are discouraged because they sense themselves helpless to stop the dangers that have suddenly invaded our lives.
A need to broaden horizons
This Lent, we should broaden our horizons beyond a personal desire for atonement. We need to find a way to assimilate the tragic events around us with our Lenten observance. If we can do this, it will make our penance more effective and our Lent more sublime.
There is a widespread belief that the evils that have come upon us can be blamed only upon liberals. As conservatives, we cannot understand why we find ourselves in the present state of desolation. We have done much to oppose these evils. However, the triple burden of COVID, civil unrest, and election chaos weigh heavily upon us, despite our many efforts and prayers.
Such an outlook is wrong. We can understand this Lent better if we consider our own faults and how they impact the nation. While liberal causes promote obvious evils like procured abortion, sodomy, and blasphemy, we also participate in many sins that have brought America to its present state of misery. We need to recognize our role and make reparation.
Atoning for these sins this Lent is something positive we might do in the face of our helplessness to change society for the better. As in times of old, such atonement can move God to act in much more effective ways than our own.
PETITION UPDATE (2/23/21) -
LifeSite has signed on to a Media Research Center (MRC) letter to all 50 state Attorneys General, calling for an investigation into Big Tech.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have monopolized the industry, and are using their influence to collect user data, suppress content, and silence those who voice ideas and beliefs counter to their own.
As we urged prior, action must be taken to combat these efforts, and that is why we’ve joined the MRC in this fight.
Please take a couple of minutes to READ this LifeSiteNews article about MRC's initiative: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lifesite-joins-effort-asking-state-attorneys-general-to-investigate-big-tech-for-deceptive-trade-practices
Then, please SIGN and STOP using Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
PETITION UPDATE (2/9/21) -
YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a ban, every single one of our videos is completely gone. Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to 300,000+ followers.
This is the latest and appalling affront to free speech which is happening to many conservative and Christian organizations.
Please SIGN this petition and STOP using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google (owner of YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
We are not going to take this lying down!
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PETITION UPDATE (1/26/20) -
Twitter has again locked LifeSiteNews out of two of our accounts on the platform for displaying a message noting that President Joe Biden’s newly named Assistant Secretary of Health “Rachel” Levine is a man.
Both accounts displayed a simple message which read: “Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health. ‘Rachel’ Levine is a father of two who divorced his wife in 2013 after 30 years of marriage.” The tweets also included a link to LifeSite’s article Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health, and contained part of the opening sentence of that article, “Joe Biden has announced his intention to appoint a gender-confused man” as Assistant Secretary of Health.
For stating biological or Biblical truths, Twitter and Big Tech are trying to shut down conservative voices.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to consider dumping Twitter, Google (who own YouTube) and Facebook. To be clear: LifeSite is still using Twitter and Big Tech to encourage others to migrate away from these illiberal platforms.
This is not the first time that LifeSiteNews has been censored by Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter indefinitely suspended our account for a tweet that linked to an article on transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv.
At the time, Twitter gave LifeSite the option to delete the tweet and reactivate our account right away. LifeSite remained steadfast that the tweet did not violate any of the company’s “rules and policies,” and sought several appeals with Twitter, while looking into legal action against the company.
And, while LifeSite's account was eventually restored, we must now consider what course of action we will pursue in this case, over and above appealing the ban.
Meanwhile, since taking office on Wednesday last week, Joe Biden has already signed an executive order which will force women’s athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to be open to men. He has also turned back the Trump administration’s policy protecting women’s sports programs in schools.
Last week, LifeSite was banned for two weeks from our YouTube channel, after the site determined that one of our videos about vaccines violated YouTube’s “community guidelines.” We are also in the middle of appealing this ban.
Please considering SIGNING and SHARING this petition. Thank you!
Twitter just deplatformed President Trump premanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily deplatformed.
Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech AND their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.
Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. [CLICK HERE for our "Goodbye Google" resources page to find good alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google!]
When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, and, or, Google and Amazon to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.
Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook's 'community guidelines' are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.
Simply put, Twitter, Facebook, Google (who owns YouTube) and Amazon appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.
Don't contribute to this assault on democracy: Stop using Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon as your default social media platforms and search engine! [CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.]
To repeat: a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.
We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over "misgendering" a man who claims to be a woman.
LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.
And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.
Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders (like President Trump) from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.
But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our 'Goodbye Google' Resources page.
The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!
This kind of manipulation poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.
So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon is to quit using their platform.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to pledge to stop using Twitter and Big Tech. Then, please CLICK HERE to find alternative search engines and social media platforms. Thank you!
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The object of penance is the hatred of sin
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines penance as “a supernatural moral virtue whereby the sinner is disposed to hatred of his sin as an offense against God and to a firm purpose of amendment and satisfaction.”
The object of our penance is not sin in general, or even the sins of others but our own. We are accountable for them and should do penance.
Thus, this Lent, we might look at our own sins through the wide-angle lens of what we have done to further the nation’s evils. In this way, we can integrate our penances with what is happening in society. We can then see better the horrors of the world around us and implore God's aid.
The sins for which we must atone
Indeed, America is a sinful nation. We must recognize that even if we grieve for the nation and seek justice, all sin before God and contribute to our nation's iniquity.
We can sin by participating in matters that offend God. This is especially true in our participation in our hypersexualized culture and fashions. We have a role in facilitating impurity and the culpable acceptance of all kinds of sexual aberrations.
We sin by omission by failing to speak out against the outrages that surround us. Many times, we can be silent, lax, or afraid to fight the sinful modern culture that invades family, community and parish.
We can sin by indifference to the blasphemies and offenses against God, His Blessed Mother, and the Church, often by those inside ecclesial structures. We must have zeal for defending Church teaching and God's law in the face of a society that glories in destroying them.
Indeed, we might ask ourselves if we have prayed enough for our decadent nation. We must hate our complicity, weakness, or laziness that allows these sins to continue unopposed.
A balanced look at our iniquities
Thus, such a vision of our participation in the nation's sins should lead us to observe Lent differently. It allows us to see that the true cause of our present misfortunes is not only liberal agendas, but our indifference and iniquities that call down chastisement upon us.
We will then be in the sublime position to call upon God and implore His mercy for the nation. Scripture says: “Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin” (Ezek. 8:30).
It is a balanced position that should not lead us to severe penances that are beyond our strength to fill.
The principal act of penance is not the giving up or sacrifice. It is our hatred of the sins that offend God and our repentance. This heartfelt sorrow is what leads us to do or suffer something as a way of atoning for our sins.
Thus, we might still observe our usual Lenten sacrifices of forgoing habits and nourishment. However, this perspective allows us to offer these same sacrifices to God as atonement born from the hatred of our sins.
Thus, this Lent, we can do something sublime in the face of the great evils we face. There is no reason to be discouraged if we act in this manner. Indeed, this is a central theme of hope found in the Fatima message. History teaches us that God looks favorably on these acts of atonement from humble and contrite hearts. He will come to our aid, influencing events in unimaginable ways.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.