Stalking a sin?


In your opinion is stalking a sin? Since to my knowledge it is not mentioned in the Bible and the Catechism. I ask because I have a friend who has done stalkerish acts (not violating the law yet) and he is curious whether he should bring this up in confession. Thanks in advance

Yes it is.
There are a couple of reasons, the most imporatant is if the person being stalked discovers it then they can feel really unnerved and they may be afraid to go out alone. Many people say it’s just harmless fun, but it almost always goes too far.
If you cause this it really is not loving your neighbour.

Mark 12:30-31: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”"

John 13:34: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

If you want something scriptural, I’d say these cover it.

Saying that something doesn’t rise to the level of a crime – in your words, YET – doesn’t mean that it should continue.

Would your friend continue these acts if they were not considered sinful?

To the Above I would add the admonision to, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Would you want to be stalked?


Stalking is definitely a sin. It violates the Law of Love. In no way would he wish someone to do this to him so he should not be doing it to another.

You haven’t gone into any detail, which is fine, but I’d say there are deeper issues than just the stalking that needs to be addressed with his confessor. The Stalking is a symptom but the sin is probably deeper and worse than just the acts of stalking.

May God guide him (and you in helping him) to understand this.


By the very fact that “your friend” has to ask, - is my behavior a sin - is a clear warning from his/her conscience that what they are doing in indeed wrong. Listen to the conscience and be at peace with yourself and with God.

My friend has already stopped his behaviour after warnings and advice from the appropiate authorities (concellors, teachers) but was curious whether to raise this with the confessor. Thanks for your replies, I will tell him now

Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart.

I struggled with these issues myself after breaking up with my ex, still struggle at times. A stalker’s attachment to the person they are stalking is always a disordered attachment, a form of unrequited love. If you want them, and they don’t want you back, and you’ve tried in every appropriate and chivalrous way to win their affections, and they still don’t want you, then stop. Otherwise you are not respecting the other person’s free will, and also not respecting your own dignity. Your love deserves to be given to another person who will return the complement, not wasted on someone who doesn’t even like you.

That’s the simple, blunt truth. I still find it hard to take at times, sometimes it would be easier to live in a fantasy world where some relationship still exists with my ex, but that would be a lie, a lie against my dignity and hers, a lie against God’s plan, His vocation for each of the two of us.

You’ve already had some pretty sound advice from others that this is a sin. I just thought I’d try to shed more light on it than simply ‘it’s a sin’ and try to show why. Help your friend to see that this isn’t something that ought to hurt him (because in some ways it’s just as bad for him if he’s mentally stalking her by constantly dwelling on thoughts of her inside his head as if he’s following her around), it’s something that ought to set him free for the grace of true love. :slight_smile:

I have been confused by this quote for long since adultery means sex/relationship someone elses’ wife but what if the woman is not married does it still hold?

Yes. Simple as that. A Christian should be striving to control how he regards women. Sexual attracion is natural, however men who look at women purely as a sexual object lustfully are degrading both their own dignity and the dignity of women also.

You need to understand what it means to lust after someone. It doesn’t mean that a single man can’t be on the lookout for a single woman who would make a good wife. To lust after someone is to use their body for sexual pleasure detached from the dignity of the person. To enjoy looking at someone and fantasising about them, and want to repeat that experience over and over for its’ own sake, as a stalker does, is to lust after her. To only think of how you’re going to get this woman into bed, rather than valuing her as a person, is to lust after her.

Indeed and any woman would be rightfully disturbed by that. Also stalking is a sin on numerous levels I’d have said. It sins both against the dignity of the stalker and the person he is stalking. It’s not acceptable behaviour. Anyone here with a wife, sister or female loved ones will tell you how they would feel if these individuals told them a particular person was stalking them.

stalking as we are using it here is defined by law, so if this person has not violated the law, then they probably are not sinning in those acts, but they may be sinning in the attitudes and behaviors that are leading to the acts. If he is violating the law he is definitely sinning. He should bring the whole matter to confession for the simple reason that it makes him feel uneasy and that the question of sin has arisen in connection with the situation. It is something for him to resolve with the priest, not with a friend.

While in this case I would say violating the law is sinful I would not say always violating the law is sinful. One can think of numerous examples of individuals who broke the law but committed no sin.

Woah! The law is only whatever legislators come up with. It is only the current civil standard for acceptable behavior, and is in no way a measurement of sin or virtue. Indeed, there are times when following the law is a sin, and virtue requires that it be broken. Consider the extreme cases when it was illegal to harbor runaway slaves, or to hide Jews in Nazi Germany. Or more recently in some areas, to refuse to move to the back of the bus or to use a wrong public water fountain.

Everyone is obligated to adhere to their own informed conscience above any merely human law.

Other than that, your statement about going to a confessor was very good!


I find myself in the unusual postion of disagreeing with you Annie.

Yes, stalking is defined by law, but such definition has no bearing on whether something is sinful or not. One should never try to determine whether they are sinning by whether something is “legal” but rather by what motivates one to do something.

This you correctly address as looking at the attitudes (and desires) that lead one to such acts. Do these stem from Love? Would one wish for another to “stalk” them? These are the matters tht must be addressed in the confessional.


I would strongly recommend Karol Wojtyla’s Love & Responsibility to anyone who needs a better understanding why stalking and lust are morally repugnant.

I have the book but in it JPII does not mention lust although he points out the dangers of unrequited love and lust.

I’m bemused. If he points out the dangers of unrequited love or lust surely he has addressed lust to some extent?

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