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.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection