I first saw the comic book Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic a few years ago, when it was first being distributed to schools. After reading it -- and after recovering from the shock -- I wrote to the Archbishop of New York. I informed him as bluntly as I could that this was the most appalling and, frankly, psychopathological bit of advice for children that I had ever seen (speaking professionally, as a psychologist).
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, particularly given the content of my message, I never heard anything back. Ever since then I wanted to write publicly about it.
The main character in this comic, is a cute and Disneyfied angel of God. This angel -- God's voice, insofar as the Catholic hierarchy in New York interprets it --has two important, divinely inspired, messages for the child reader:
1) adults, in general, are so dangerous and so treacherous and so vile and so pernicious and so predatory that they cannot be trusted alone with you, or any other child (particular while you are dressing), unless at least one other adult is in the vicinity and can see what is happening, every single moment; and
2) to be safe, you always have to be in a group. If you are incautious enough to be alone, however, make sure you have warned other people, if you might be with an adult.
It is impossible to overstate how appalling this comic really is, especially given that it was written by a hypothetically apologetic institution, attempting to address past wrongs, to improve the sexual safety of children.
Children are simply not in danger, in general, if they are alone with adults (as if that has to be said). The vast majority of adults would never dream of sexually assaulting a child. Children are in danger, specifically, if they happen to be alone with adults whose morals are so twisted that they believe it is acceptable to prey on children. Such adults are in a decided minority, although there appear to be more of them than might be expected on statistical grounds alone in the Catholic hierarchy of priests. If the members of that hierarchy are generally characterized by attitudes like those put on display by the authors of this comic book, it is no wonder. It is an additional miracle of sorts that they would fail to notice that the public presentation of such pathology in comic book form might be regarded as reprehensible.
It is wrong, categorically, absolutely, irrevocably, to tell children that adults are not to be trusted. The authors of this comic book want to dilute the guilt of the Catholic priest-abusers by pretending that the awful impulses they give free rein to are characteristic of all adults, no matter how innocent such adults strive to appear. They don't care that they are perverting the natural trust that a child should feel towards an adult, by stressing the universality of a comparatively rare pathology. It is unbelievably wrong to use an image of God's voice to deliver this message. This is an act of blasphemy of which Satan himself would approve.
The authors of this "work for children" should be placed in stocks. I wouldn't let children of my acquaintance of elementary school age EVER read this comic, and I might not let them within twenty feet of anyone who think that distributing it is a good idea.