Church uses comics in anti-abuse campaign

New York Archdiocese is taking an innovative approach to the problem of sex abuse, using comic and colouring books to warn children about sexual predators.

In the colouring books, a guardian angel heeds young children not to keep secrets from their parents while in the comic books, St Michael is a tower of strength and gives courage to an older young boy to report abuse.

The Associated Press reports this is the first of its kind by a diocese in the US.

NY Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the books have been distributed to about 300 schools and 400 religious education programs.

They are also free online.

"It's to help young people to know situations they should not get into," he said. "How to be safe — but to try to do it in an age-appropriate and sensitive way."

Some critics, say the books should say explicitly that some trusted adults — including priests — may be the abusers.

But Zwilling said the vast majority of priests are "good and holy men," and he said it would have been inappropriate for the colouring book to single out priests as potential abusers.

"You don't want to frighten children nor stigmatise any group."

Catholic Comic Books Warns Kids of Abuse (AP, 05/12/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of NY

Bishop's book reaches international audiences (CathNews 23/11/07)
Retired Sydney bishop ignites bombshell (CathNews 27/08/07)
Bishop says forgiving priest abusers easier said than done (CathNews 31/03/04)
Sydney bishop calls for church-wide study on clerical sex abuse (CathNews 03/05/02)

6 Dec 2007

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