The Church teaches that torture is evil. Included in the definition would be bullying. Jesus Christ himself was a victim of torture, suffering incredible pain and indignity by the authorities. He was a victim of bullying and name-calling and many wished he would just go away. During this Lent, let us reflect on how we can better recognize bullying in ourselves and others so we can build more welcoming and loving homes, schools and communities.
O God, merciful and strong,
who crush wars and cast down the proud,
be pleased to banish violence swiftly from our midst
and to wipe away all tears,
st that we may all truly deserve to be called your children.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Pope Francis on Torture in jails and prisons (paragraph II. c.)
Pope St. John Paul II on Torture (paragraph 80);
Pope Benedict XVI on torture;
Pope Francis on torture;
USCCB Backgrounder on Torture, 2013;
USCCB Torture is a Moral Issue Guide, 2007;
USCCB Study Guide on
Torture One-Day Workshop, 2012;
UN Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
(from the collect of “In Times of War or Civil Disturbance” ;
Scripture Reading – Psalm for Wednesday of Holy Week
Catechesis Reflection Questions
- What is bullying?
- What do you think Jesus would say if he saw someone bullying another person?
- What does bullying do to the person who is bullied? What does it do to the bully?
Domestic Church (The home)
- How might Jesus respond if he saw someone being bullied?
- What are signs that someone is being bullied?
- Talk to one another about when they have felt bullied by others; how did it feel?
Witness Video –
Witness Video Questions
- Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was bullied for becoming a Christian. How did she respond to her treatment?
- How would you have acted if you were being bullied for your faith? Have you ever been bullied for your faith?
- What can you learn from St. Kateri and how she lived her life?
Domestic Church (the home)
- What lessons can you learn from St. Kateri about the treatment of others?
- Is it hard to be faithful and nice to those who treat you poorly?
- How can you be like St. Kateri when you are bullied or see someone who is bullied?
- Talk about bullying as a class and role play interventions by fellow students
- Pledge to end bullying in your classroom and at recess
- Reach out to other students who are often left out of activities and invite them to join you on the playground or in group work in class.
Domestic Church (the home)
- Talk to one another about bullying. What is it? Why it is wrong?
- Reflect as a family ways that each member may have bullied someone else or supported name-calling or picking on someone within the family. (this is especially important for parents to acknowledge ways in which they have not always lived up to their principles rather than calling out their children for bullying)
- Commit to doing one good act of kindness each day for 2 weeks for someone else.
From now on, Lord,
Help me to bring your love everywhere:
to schools and hospitals,
to marketplaces and theaters,
to press and television.
No one should be deprived
of the environment of love.
Lord, love is the means you want me to use
to bear witness to you,
or you would have shown me another way.
(From Prayers of Hope, Words of Courage,
by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan,
Pauline Books, 2002)
Conversations About Bullying and Harassment
The KnowBullying app for iOS and Android is designed to help parents initiate difficult conversations about bullying and harassment with their children. It also helps parents look for different warning signs to aid them in identifying not only if their children may have been bullied, but also if they may be doing the bullying. Users can share conversation starters, successful strategies, and useful advice via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text messages. Resources for Educators includes information on how to prevent bullying in the classroom and support children who are being bullied. The app was created initially for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with StopBullying.gov. Cost: Free