World News

Facebook apologises for blocking advert

The advert, featuring an image of the San Damiano Cross, was rejected for being too violent (Flickr/Damian Entwistle)

Facebook has apologised for blocking an advertisement featuring a crucifix.

Its rejection message had said: “Your image, video thumbnail or video can’t contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.”

The advert was one of a series posted by the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, to Facebook to promote Master’s degree programmes in theology, catechetics and evangelisation.

“What was the offending image?” asked a blog post on the university’s site. “The San Damiano Cross. Jesus in glory, reigning from his cruciform throne. This is what the monitors at Facebook consider excessively violent, sensational and shocking.

“Indeed, the crucifixion of Christ was all of those things,” the blog post said. “It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God. It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was “obedient unto death”. And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.”

The San Damiano Cross is the large Romanesque rood cross that St Francis of Assisi was praying before, when he is said to have received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original cross hangs in the Basilica of St Clare in Assisi, Italy. Franciscans cherish this cross as the symbol of their mission from God.

A Facebook spokesman said: “Sometimes we make mistakes. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologise for
the error.”

Study finds vocations boom among the home-schooled

Priestly vocations are most likely to flourish among the homeschooled, according to a US study.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (Cara), a research institute at Georgetown University, found that young American men who had been homeschooled were four times more likely to enter seminaries than those educated in Catholic institutions.

Although the number of home-schooled American Catholics is small – just 100,000 are being homeschooled at the moment, compared to two million in Catholic schools – it was this minority which provided eight per cent of young men on course for ordination.

On average, they had spent seven years being homeschooled. Sixteen was the average age of discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Fr JD Jaffe, director of vocations for the Diocese of Arlington, told Seton Magazine, a publication for Catholic homeschoolers, that his experience reflected the survey’s results.

In 2013, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore was quoted in the archdiocesan newspaper as saying: “There’s no greater feeder for the vocations than the home-schoolers.”

Pro-life leader becomes Catholic

The co-founder of 40 Days for Life was received into the Church at Easter after attending Mass for 28 years.

David Bereit, a former Presbyterian, had attended Mass every week since meeting his future wife in 1990. In a Facebook post he said he converted after a “profound experience” during Adoration.

He was received at a church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The 40 Days for Life initiative involves praying peacefully outside abortion clinics.