Getting a tattoo


finnbar000 asked this question on 8/5/2000:

Dear Father,

I have an off the wall question. What is the Church teaching on tattoos? I myself do not have one, but I have been thinking about getting one.

yours in Christ




mscperu gave this response on 8/5/2000:

Dear Duncan.

The joy of the risen Lord be in your heart.

The Church has no doctrine regarding tattoos. The Church doesn't give indications on hairstyle, shoe-ware or whisteling.

However I would like you to remember the Saint Pauls thing.  During his times the temples offered part of the animals as a sacrifice to their deities. The rest they sold like they do today in a butcher-shop. You went and bought your meat there because they had abundant fresh ware. There was nothing to it. Now there were Christians who thought that eating this kind of meat was participating in idolatry. Saint Paul wrote that he figured it was no problem eating that kind of meat. But if it scandalized any of the Christians he would rahter not eat it even if it meant never more eating meat. So there! Do you get the drift? The important thing is love.

Talking about your possible tattoo, it's a question of taste and personal preferences. So it's your decision.

As someone who likes young people I suggest that you see first a skin doctor, (dermatologist?) because I have heard about youngsters that after getting a tattoo developed a kind of allergy that was quite painful.

Remember too that it is kind of permanent. Sure, you can erase it later, it's true, but you have to repeat the whole operation again and sometimes there remains some skin coloration.

I have seen many things in my community of Catholics with members of all ages. Think about that: You tattoo "her" name on some body part and then you marry someone with a different name. Kind of awkward, isn’t it? And then: Some people want to make a statement – there are other more effective ways - , or try to stir up attention, or blend in. So, I suggest you look at your motives

I have met youngster that pierce the tong, the navel or some other body-part only to be accepted by their peers. They didn’t really like it, but there you go. It’ sometimes difficult to be young.

Ah... don't use it as a kind of protest against your parents. Better speak up with respect and with reason. Talk to them, they can learn too.

Well, if it makes you happy and doesn't cause any problem in your relationship... go ahead.

If you are a Catholic I encourage you to go to confession frequently. It helps. It helped me.


Christ loves you

God bless you.







 Where come these questions from?