Facebook Bans Saint Augustine Quote as 'Hate Speech'Dorothy Cummings McLean
Jul. 17, 2019
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A decision by Facebook to ban a peace-loving quote by St. Augustine of Hippo, a Catholic theologian and philosopher from the 5th century, has one Catholic writer scratching his head.
Noticing that two priest-friends had been censored by the social media giant for posting the saint’s pastoral advice, Massachusetts pro-lifer Dominic Bettinelli published the same words to his Facebook wall on Friday. Then he, too, got a warning that the post went against Facebook’s “Community Standards on hate speech.”
The quote Facebook deemed so offensive is as follows:
Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.The quote, Bettinelli explained in a spirited post on the “hate speech” accusation, is from a homily of the saint included in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.
“Hate speech?” Bettinelli asked. “It’s the opposite of hate speech. It’s calling for people to stop focusing on others’ sins and concentrate on their own. Augustine is just re-formulating Jesus’ own words from the Gospel: 'Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?' (Matthew 7:3).”