"At first glance, "Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic" is what you'd expect from a Christian handout: lessons in loving thy neighbor and knowing we're all special in God's eyes, plus a fun word search with names of people whom kids can trust (parents, counselors, teachers). Many of the book's cartoon-sketch drawings, which were created by a church volunteer, are light in tone and narrated by an angel looming overhead. But on one page, the angel warns of an online predator—with chest hair exposed—who attempts to chat with a child; on another (shown above), the angel implies that children should make sure they're never alone in a room with a priest."
At first I thought this was a parody, but no.
I see the need for this sort of literature. But if you're a child and are being warned not to be alone with a priest...all the trust in the figure of the Man Of The Cloth has gone out the window.
It reminds me of this priest that had a pretty bad rep as as a stern disciplinarian. And I remember one time this boy was pulled out of our class -- by his ear! -- by this priest and dragged into his office. And the boy came back all red-faced and shaken. And we were all like "wow, Father Blank really put the fear of God into him!" Rumor was, years later that priest was busted for molestation.
I had another friend when I was a teen who had gone to the same parish. Used to throw rocks at the statues of the saints in the courtyard, broke up the statue's fingers. Used to be an altar boy. Sort of insinuated that something had happened back then.
But me? Nothing ever happened to me at the church. I was a pretty good student. I won this keychain with a fish on it for a Bible quiz. Years later, as an adult, I went to confessional and mentioned that I thought I might be bisexual. The priest in the booth asked me to describe any same-sex fantasies I had in detail, and inquired if I was clothed or was wearing underwear in them. Apparently there was a difference in the amount of Hail Marys depending on the fantasy wardrobe.
But I still like those little Virgin Mary Statues.