[quote="confusedgirl, post:1, topic:336667"]
I was talking to a friend about bullying and in the news a lot of teenagers have taken their lives due to bullying. Schools teach that bullying is wrong and it goes to show that bullying can ruin a life or even worse take one. I went to a catholic school when I was 8-12 and the kids were terrible to anyone different. It was a predominantly Caucasian school as well as town so they'd pick on anyone who different really. In religion class when we learned about sin we never talked about bullying really being a sin eventhough it went on a lot in the school.
My friend argued that if the victim forgives the bully then its not considered a sin at all. I told her that the bully never asked for forgiveness from the person or God so how could they be forgiven by God without confessing that they did do wrong. Chances are they won't admit it because of pride which would be another sin to add on top of the fact they emotionally hurt someone. I figured because bullying can effect self esteem or even cause serious depression which can both ruin a person emotionally it goes beyond venial sin into mortal sin.
The other thing is that not everyone admits to what they did. Sometimes when the person is down they torment them even further making things worse. My friend said sometimes people don't know what they're doing but I think that is a little absurd because even if you are only name calling your intention is to hurt the person or make them feel bad. In Mark 12:31 Jesus says "Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Plus according to the catechism the 3 things that make a mortal sin a mortal sin is if it is a serious issue, its committed knowingly, and of its committed with full consent.
Is bullying considered a mortal sin or am I overoverreacting and my friend is right by saying as long as the victim forgives the bully they aren't accountable for any kind of sin?
I don't know if it's a mortal sin or not (wouldn't that depend on a lot of factors including the age and intentions of the bully?) but I don't think whether or not the victim forgives the bully has much to do with whether or not it's a sin.
Good-natured teasing is one thing and cruel and harsh bullying (even if 'only' with words) is a totally different thing. I think we are rightfully becoming increasingly aware of the damage and devastation that bullying can cause and I think in this day and age with smartphones and the internet it can be harder to find a refuge from the bully. A case for limiting or preventing internet access and smartphones but try telling that to the average teenager.
Most people are able to 'get over' being bullied but some take years to get over it and sadly, a minority never do. I don't think the fact that most people are able to shake it off eventually and do get over it makes it any better either as how would the bully know how badly the victim might be affected? It's done to deliberately hurt, ridicule or isolate another person, after all.
I can't see how your friend is right when they say as long the victim forgives, the bully isn't accountable for any sin, I think many (most?) times the bully knows full well that what they are doing is very wrong. Having said that, we must remember that the bully needs help too. Sometimes bullying is a learned behaviour, sometimes it's actually a reaction to being bullied themselves, it's a very difficult problem all round.