Can Catholics open tattoo parlors?

What are your thought about a “faithful and active” member of the parish opening a tattoo parlor? This person is a convert a few years ago. We are a small town ~ under 5000 population and the parlor will be a stones throw from the Catholic Church. This person also has volunteered in our Faith Formation program on and off.

Do I sit back and mind my own business…or bring the issue forward. I would not be the one to talk with this person due to past events.

We are a very close parish community…what to do…how to do it…whose responsibility is this? Please pray for this situation.

You obviously think it’s wrong. Would you like to express your reasons for that?


What is so wrong with tattoos. I don’t think they’re bad, so long as they aren’t indecent. In fact, I’ve seen many beautiful tattoos. Also, I’ve seen many tattoos with pictures of Our Lord, or a crucifix, or Our Lady, which are certainly not immoral. Either way, it shouldn’t be your concern.

“Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own?” - Our Lord
“So no matter who you are, if you pass judgement you have no excuse. It is yourself that you condemn when you judge others…” - St. Paul

Is there any sort of Church teaching that specifies tattoos as morally wrong?

For my own part, I can’t stand tattoos and would never get one, however I can’t imagine the Church or even a local Bishop has taken a stance one way or the other. Historically tattoos and tattoo parlors have been associated with a certain unsavory segment of society, but lately tattoos are completely mainstream. I’m trying to imagine if there is any moral issue related to a permanent modification to the body like that, but then wonder how it’s any different than ear piercing, or hair styling. Seems to be more a matter of taste than morals.

I would think the issue wouldn’t be whether a tattoo parlor is allowed, so much as the Church would want it (and any other business) to be operated fairly and legally.

The Church certainly teaches against any form of self-mutilation and encourages modesty; there are no specific teachings against tattoos. It would depend upon the purpose, size, content, location. I have seen a few tattoos that are spiritually beautifully ~ however I they have been in the minority. Most of them are not…and many of the ladies have them in rather immodest places. Can we justify the entire industry for the handful of “appropriate” tattoos that are out there?

Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 6:20 you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

A tattoo is an unnecessary, permanent modification of the body given to us by God, which has been sanctified to be made a Temple of the Holy Spirit, through baptism. That, in itself, would argue against tattoos, not to mention the fact that many are contrary to Christianity and nature itself, and many are immodest, in form and location.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #2297 teaches that “Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law”.

To the degree that tattoos are body mutilations, they should be avoided. All people have an obligation to keep there body healthy. Tattooing and excessive piercing expose the body to needless infection.

Please read this pamphlet on the subject by Catholics United for the Faith.

I see nothing wrong with tattoos so long as they are tasteful and not against the faith in any way. :slight_smile: I did a quick search for tattoos in the Catechism and came up with nothing. A search in the RSV-CE Bible turned up nothing as well. :slight_smile:

From the pamphlet posted in the link above:

Tattoos and acts of body piercing are not intrinsically evil. The Church offers principles by which Catholics can discern to be tattooed or have one’s body pierced in particular situations.

I thought that summed it up pretty well.

I see nothing wrong with tattoos in general. Some are very beautiful indeed, and some aren’t as beautiful but they represent the personality of the person. Beauty is all based on opinion in reality, and what one may find beauty in another can find ugliness. One can find Marilyn Monroe as beautiful intelligent woman, but another person might find her as a chubby nasty woman. I don’t consider them self mutilation based on the Jewish teaching from Leviticus, but I do consider them body modification as the same as dieting or coloring hair.

Catholic Church has no stand on this, and based on this thread all I can see is bad stigma based on some history of the tattoo. Sure some people are going to ask for provocative tattoos on their body, but that’s an individual decision. Running and operating a tattoo parlor in general is nothing sinful, but being prejudice to someone who does this and thinking that person as a sinner maybe more sinful most of all.

My advice: Mind your own business. Stop being as prejudice.

I’m glad I found this post. I was at a family picnic yesterday and my nephew had his shirt off. I was surprised to see two large tattoos, one was of the Blessed mother and the outer was a picture of Jesus’s head crucified wearing a crown of thorns. I was shocked and still don’t know what to think. I don’t know how religious he is or if he even knows the Hail Mary. I personally find it offensive because I wonder if its a shock pop culture thing or if he is truly devote and is his way of showing it. Personally I think its a pop culture thing:shrug: I thought we were to treat our bodies like a temple. I don’t know. I’m old school I guess.

I don’t have them, I don’t recommend them, but I don’t have a big problem with them either, if the location and message is appropriate.

If you are seeing for a way to be open about your beliefs and also adorn your skin with some absolutely stunning art, a tattoo of the Catholic cross is a great method to go about it.
Far from being plain a black or blue tattoo with very little ornamentation, today’s Catholic cross tattoos can be riotously colorful and complex, with no real boundary on what can be tattooed on your skin.

This is just one priest’s opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but when asked…

Is it a sin to get a tattoo?

Frankly, I don’t know! Years ago, if you asked any priest, the policy was “It is a sin to get a tattoo” I recently asked some of my fellow priests, and they hadn’t heard this. The general principle is that we must not deface or degrade our human bodies. Our bodies are sacred. To get large tattoos plastered all over our bodies would certainly seem to be wrong because of defacement and degradation. To get a very small tattoo in a fairly insignificant place might not be defacement. The same principles would apply for getting pierced. Surely it is wrong to have tongue, lip, nose, and belly-button rings. Probably not at all wrong to get an ear piercing. Notice “an” — this does not mean three or four in the same ear lobe.

Do you have any primary sources of information to back up your claim that this is a great method to go about it?

I presume they can although it’s disrespectful to the body and a bit pagan. I’d worry about the risk of HIV and Hepatitis through tattoos.

You’ve got about as much chance of getting HIV or Hepatitis from a well run tattoo parlour as you do from a Hospital or a blood transfusion! :mad: NO CASE OF AIDS TRANSMISSION EVER DOCUMENTED IN A U.S. TATTOO STUDIO
And how is it Pagan?! They are only Pagan if you choose to have a pentagram or a broomstick tattooed onto your skin. Tattoos are what YOU make of them, they are not intrinsically evil.

Between Tattoo’s or skirts or pants, or beards, or smoking, all the other things people here very frequently ask about, and even things on such a lesser scale but with great sincerity about asking, I have to wonder about what this God does to people’s minds.

I have seen threads about christians wondering if they can even attend a baptism, or wedding let alone be a godparent or stand up in one.

It seems there are many many believers who just feel like everything is a sin.

Some say they are scrupolus(sp?)

Some are coming back to their childhood faith and just do not know.

All I see is the constant need to see sin everywhere.

I realize the doctrines of all of christianity is based on the original sin concept. I think.

But, isn’t this leading people to states of mental tormoil consatntly? I read the threads here and wonder how belief would make any difference in many matters. Just browsing the family life section, I get chills down my spine.

Go to Liturgy and Sacarnements and wow! I don’t even WANT to know about the constant arguing going on there!

I guess this is the example of the 2 greatest commandments?

  1. bash islam, mormons, and any other hetorodox community as if life depended on it
  2. seek reasons to be in “sin” constantly
  3. tell everyone about the faith you have, and why you do have it

You see, it’s hard to take number three seriously when one and two are simply out there.

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