Unless you’ve lived in a cave for 20 years you’ve no doubt heard much about the sex abuse scandals involving lots of US priests and various diocese across the country. As part of its efforts to deal with the issue the New York Archdiocese is publishing a coloring book called "Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic" that has some pretty direct cartoons about how to avoid being in dangerous situations (see image to the left for one of the pictures in the book). From the Newsday article about the book:
That’s an unusual approach, says David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests,
but not necessarily a bad one. "We welcome any innovation," he says,
"especially from an institution that has such a horrific track record."
The coloring book is intended as a supplement to the prevention
curriculum mandated by a 2002 U.S. bishops charter—a way for adults to
broach a topic that is "not the most pleasant to talk about," says
Edward Mechmann, the director of the New York Archdiocese’s Safe
Environment Program. He says the book (along with comics about
molestation, for older kids) has been shipped to about 700 schools.
Administrators are then given the option of distributing them.
"Teachers love it," Mechmann says. "It’s a nice little vehicle for
speaking to kids about [abuse]." Talk about alternative education.
Personally I think it’s a smart move by the Archdiocese, but definitely falls into the "too late" category. Had the church dealt with this issue decades ago and listened to the victims when they first came forward then maybe we’d have seen efforts like this in the 70s or 80s rather than 2007. Then maybe we wouldn’t dealing with the incredible number of abuse victims over the last 50 years, or looking at a church selling off assets to pay the victims’ damages and a church that lost who knows how many members who felt alienated by the church’s handling of the situation and who were sickened by a cancerous cell of spiritual leaders who sickened the entire church body. A tragedy on so many levels.