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View Poll Results: Is getting a tattoo a sin?
Yes and I don't have one 5 13.16%
Yes but I got one a while back 0 0%
No and I have one 11 28.95%
No but I don't have one 11 28.95%
Its depends (please explain below) 8 21.05%
Undecided 3 7.89%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old Oct 25, '11, 1:22 pm
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followingtheway followingtheway is offline
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Default Is getting a tattoo a sin?

I heard the Bible says it is? It is?
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  #2  
Old Oct 25, '11, 2:36 pm
Catholic90 Catholic90 is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

No. I would never get one, but it is not a sin to get one tastefully done. Some of the artwork can be quite beautiful.

Where in the Bible do you think it says it is a sin?
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  #3  
Old Oct 25, '11, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

"Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the LORD. "

Lv. 19:28
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  #4  
Old Oct 25, '11, 2:50 pm
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Scripture's condemnation of tattoos (Le 19:28) is in the middle of a passage condemning obvious sins as well as outwardly harmless things for reasons that may be entirely lost to us historically:

You shall not:
26: eat anything with the blood
26: practice divination or soothsaying.
27: round off the side-growth of your heads
27: harm the edges of your beard.
28: make any cuts in your body for the dead
28: make any tattoo marks on yourselves:

My first thought is that, like many Levitical laws, these were meant to separate Israel from pagan nations. Holiness in Judaism was and is strongly based upon separation - the idea of something being holy is coequal with something being dedicated for the worship of the Lord. Paul twice uses the phrase "set apart" to describe himself and his calling to evangelize the Gospel (Ro 1:1, Ga 1:15).

In that light, the admonitions in blue above make more sense if we can demonstrate that there were pagan practices associated with marking the body or cutting the hair. To avoid adopting these practices meant visibly calling oneself for the Lord, or at least refusing to affiliate with a pagan cult that had adopted the practice. Obviously divination is harmful as is self-mutilation, so these proscriptions make sense and should remain for us as Catholics. But given that the association with tattoos and shorn beards has long since passed, I think that getting tattoos is not intrinsically evil.

That said, I'd argue against getting one on several grounds:
1) If it is viewed as a marker of gang affiliation or advocacy towards the occult or violence. I don't think you'd be asking if you were going to have a crown over an upside-down trident tattooed on your arm, but it should be said.
2) If it conveys a sexual message. Showing off a so-called "tramp stamp" is socially believed to convey that the women bearing it is "easy". This goes along with any concerns of modest dress or behavior.
3) If it is dangerous to do so - if you're getting one in a place where sanitation isn't up to snuff you're taking a risk. Before I got mine I inspected the autoclave, the single-use needle, etc.
4) If it will cause some kind of detriment to your future. Getting a tattoo on the side of your neck severely limits your employment options. If you wanna know, mine's on my bicep where a dress shirt covers it. I actually forget it's there unless I brush my teeth right after a shower and happen to look in the mirror.

Here's the biggie for me:
5) If you're an eligible blood donor. Blood supplies are constantly low and eligible rolls drop daily because of infection and declining health of the donors. I'd almost say that, if you're healthy and can do so, you have a duty to donate blood at least a couple of times a year. I was a frequent donor but following a diagnosis of celiac disease I've been told not to, and it honestly pains me.

I hope that answers your question.
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  #5  
Old Oct 25, '11, 3:12 pm
Umvard Umvard is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

I understand it to be an unnecessary mutilation of the body, which, being a temple of the Holy Spirit, deserves great respect. It seems a vain and worldly desire, a making of your body in your own image. Vainglory, even.

Consider this argument: you're going to have a body for eternity if Heaven. You're not going to want anything of the passed world tattooed on your person. So, that point excludes all but pious tattoos; meaning you should want something that is a sign of faith. But, in Heaven there is no need of such a thing as faith, since you are seeing God face to face. Our glorified bodies will have tattoos on them, so that would be the model to follow. We will be clothed in good works, not in tattoos.

Last edited by Umvard; Oct 25, '11 at 3:17 pm. Reason: Grammar
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  #6  
Old Oct 26, '11, 2:54 pm
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llbill llbill is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Before i started converting to Catholicism, I went through a really dumb phase. I got 4 tattoos. I am ashamed of myself now. Not just because of religion, but my outside doesn't match the inside. That's the horrible part about tattoos. They aren't easy to "wipe off". I didn't even consider whether or not it was a sin when I got them, but now I'm concerned. Also, I am kind of scared to ask the priest. He is the one leading our RCIA class and I guess I am just ashamed. They are "religious" tattoos, but even still, I am not proud.
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  #7  
Old Oct 26, '11, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

No, it's fine. Alot of people with to much time on their hands and an interest in bullying people can make anything sound sinful. Do I have any? Um...only for me and my ladyfriend to know!
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  #8  
Old Oct 26, '11, 6:21 pm
Umvard Umvard is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by llbill View Post
Before i started converting to Catholicism, I went through a really dumb phase. I got 4 tattoos. I am ashamed of myself now. Not just because of religion, but my outside doesn't match the inside. That's the horrible part about tattoos. They aren't easy to "wipe off". I didn't even consider whether or not it was a sin when I got them, but now I'm concerned. Also, I am kind of scared to ask the priest. He is the one leading our RCIA class and I guess I am just ashamed. They are "religious" tattoos, but even still, I am not proud.
Read this blog by Jimmy Akin. Sorry if I came across as a "bully."

I can understand your worries, but having tattoos won't somehow impede your joining the Church. Depending on what they are of, especially if they don't reflect who you are, you might consider removing them. Don't be afraid, you'll be forgiven. The moral character of tattoos depends entirely, excluding extreme cases of lots of tattoos, on the intent behind the tattoos. However, even the best of intentions behind a tattoo seem worldly, as I said previously.
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  #9  
Old Oct 27, '11, 5:34 am
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llbill llbill is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Umvard View Post
Read this blog by Jimmy Akin. Sorry if I came across as a "bully."

I can understand your worries, but having tattoos won't somehow impede your joining the Church. Depending on what they are of, especially if they don't reflect who you are, you might consider removing them. Don't be afraid, you'll be forgiven. The moral character of tattoos depends entirely, excluding extreme cases of lots of tattoos, on the intent behind the tattoos. However, even the best of intentions behind a tattoo seem worldly, as I said previously.

I have wandered about the catholic church for a long time. I have felt like it was home for me since I was about 15. I talked about it with my baptist parents, all my family and friends. They all (being baptist catholic haters) pretty much laughed at me. When I was 20 I got a picture of Mary tattooed on my arm. It's beautiful, yes. Also, very worldly. In hindsight, i look back and see that it was kind of an in your face kind of move. I have had many compliments on it, but I am just not proud that I marked my body with it. Now I have 3 children and would hate it if they came home with one. What kind of example am I setting? I have checked on having them removed and it is a possibility, however, finding a babysitter for tattoo removal is a bit out of the question. Maybe someday. For now, they are "war wounds". Thanks for the input. I am not covered in tattoos and they are "tasteful". I do agree with the worldly point. I sometimes think my shame is my penance.

God bless.
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  #10  
Old Oct 27, '11, 8:29 am
Umvard Umvard is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Umvard View Post
Our glorified bodies will have tattoos on them, so that would be the model to follow. We will be clothed in good works, not in tattoos.
To correct myself, this should read "Our glorified bodies will not have tattoos on them." But, I'm not entirely sure about that, in retrospect. Jesus still had his wounds. I'll leave such judging up to God, whether a tattoo is fit for heaven. I spoke rashly in my first post: there is certainly a danger that one might tattoo oneself with a vain and worldly mindset, but pious men have had tattoos for good reasons. Clearly, the man's faith must be more than skin-deep, of course.

llbill, I wouldn't worry about the Mary tattoo; getting it may have been a sin if it was an "in your face" thing at that time, but now it is a way of bearing witness to God; testament to "other-worldliness" not the world. I suggest that you match your external tattoo of Mary with personal devotion to the Mother of God. That would be an excellent example for your children. Not having tattoos is a custom of religious society in general, not a creed. Its a useful custom, on numerous grounds, of course, but tattoos can be had for good reasons. More information can be found on a number of other threads on tattoos on Catholic Answers. God bless.
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  #11  
Old Oct 27, '11, 8:58 am
themeginthemoon themeginthemoon is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

I have tattoos, and I find nothing sinful about them. My favorite priest has a beautiful tattoo of St. Michael the Archangel on his forearm.

None of mine are offensive or blasphemous, and other than their presence there is nothing about them that would cause scandal. You can't see them when I am in clothing, anywho.

My husband is quite decorated with tattoos, he's a navy veteran He is also a college professor at a very conservative school, so he wears long sleeve dress shirts so as not to offend anyone.

I think intention has a lot to do with it... if you are out to shock or create scandal, your state of mind can cause a tattoo or piercing to become a sin. Same goes for hair style, clothing, etc. If you really find your body art or sense of style aesthetically appealing, and modest, I see nothing wrong with it.

Just my 2 cents!
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  #12  
Old Oct 27, '11, 9:02 am
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by themeginthemoon View Post
I have tattoos, and I find nothing sinful about them. My favorite priest has a beautiful tattoo of St. Michael the Archangel on his forearm.

None of mine are offensive or blasphemous, and other than their presence there is nothing about them that would cause scandal. You can't see them when I am in clothing, anywho.

My husband is quite decorated with tattoos, he's a navy veteran He is also a college professor at a very conservative school, so he wears long sleeve dress shirts so as not to offend anyone.

I think intention has a lot to do with it... if you are out to shock or create scandal, your state of mind can cause a tattoo or piercing to become a sin. Same goes for hair style, clothing, etc. If you really find your body art or sense of style aesthetically appealing, and modest, I see nothing wrong with it.

Just my 2 cents!

Intention is right. I think some people (possibly even myself at one point) get them for attention. My sister has a tattoo of a bar of soap behind her ear. wash behind your ears?!?!? really?!?! anyways. context of tattoos could potentially be sinful.
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  #13  
Old Oct 27, '11, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

I have three tattoos and find them to be great expressions of my faith as one is an ICTHUS and the other is Chi-Ro. Not only that, but the Chi-Ro usually starts conversations with many non-catholics that allows me an opportunity to discuss our faith with them. I have mine to glorify God. If my body is a temple (which we are told it is) than it is adorned with the art of our faith, just like most temples.

I have also heard, but I cannot confirm, that some of the apostles and many saints had tattoos. Obviously they were probably not the tattoos of today (I can just see St. Patrick with a big three leaf clover tattoo or St. Peter with an upside down cross). Can anyone confirm that?
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  #14  
Old Oct 27, '11, 2:07 pm
Wardog Wardog is offline
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Cool Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOM View Post
"Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the LORD. "

Lv. 19:28
Leviticus also prohibits the eating of shellfish and pork; living in th South, that would remove over half of my diet.
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  #15  
Old Oct 27, '11, 2:07 pm
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llbill llbill is offline
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Default Re: Is getting a tattoo a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
Leviticus also prohibits the eating of shellfish and pork; living in th South, that would remove over half of my diet.
Good Point
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