A couple of weeks ago Joshua LeBlanc
noticed that the title Fr. was
being removed on Facebook for his priest friends. It soon
turned out that not only Fr. was being removed but Sr. also.
Though Rev. and Dr. were not be automatically removed from
the names used in profiles.
Joshua started a Facebook group called Facebook – stop removing Fr. from priests’
names! which as of this post has 1,160 members.
There has been various replies
Facebook as to why this is being done, but the replies are varied and
not very consistent. One person got back the reply.
We appreciate your feedback. However,
Facebook requires users to sign
up using their real names. We feel this is necessary to preserve the
integrity of the site.
Conversely, if we allowed users to sign up with prefixes such as Fr.,
Dr., Crpl., etc., there would be no way of verifying that these users
were indeed members of the Catholic Church, or doctors, or actual
Corporals in the armed forces.
The irony is that the reply was given to a
Facebook user who had added Rdr. to the front of his name. As
for the concern for real identities, Joshua was able to easily create a
Facebook profile for Pope Zosimus with no
problems. Searching on Facebook I was able to easily find
tons of people whose Facebook name started with Dr. and only a couple
that started with Fr. Some priests and religious are using
Fr. or Sr. just before their first name withoug using a space to get
around this. But there is a question as to whether Facebook
has backed off doing this and that some have been able to put their
titles back again since I see Fr. now before the names of some priests in my friends section.