Is getting plastic surgery a sin?

Can someone tell me if the Church has given any pronouncement or resolution regarding gettting plastic surgery.

For instance, is it a sin for a woman to get breast implants?

My take is that IT IS, because it is the sin of vanity.

If you look at the 7 deadly sins, all those sins are excesses or exagerations of something good. The devil turns something good into excess and thus it becomes a sin.

In the case of plastic surgery, such as breast implants, if you notice you

  1. Spend over $2000, money that can be used for better causes
  2. Put your life in danger, as it is major surgery and infections can result
  3. You go through many weeks of pain.
  4. You have to use drugs (Pharmakeia), such as pain medicine, anesthesia, etc when you are not sick to begin with. Because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the use of drugs should be limited for when you are sick or to improve your health.

I think all this is enough to see that it is an exageration or an excess to have this done just to look good, so I think it is a sin and a grave one at that.

What is the official positio of the Church on this?

Anyone know?

Thanks and God bless,

E.C.

I just think it’s silly.

I don’t know the position of the Church on this, but all of the points that you brought up were very valid reasons to NOT go through with it. Allow me to add to it.

While we may feel that plastic surgery “might” make us feel better about ourselves, the real question is “why don’t we already feel adequate?” We need to stop looking in the mirror and start looking at ourselves through the eyes of God - we are created in His image. We are the crown of God’s creation and if God says that it’s good, it must be really good.

Personally, I could understand plastic surgery for burn victims, breast cancer patients, etc, but simply for vanity is like a slap in the face of God. It’s like the pot saying to the potter, “You didn’t do a good enough job.” We need to stop measuring themselves by society’s standards because society is very fickle and shallow. In addition, a woman obtaining breast implants is opening herself to the sexual objectification which is really the opposite of love. As Christopher West put it, lust is basically the opposite of love - it takes rather than gives. In addition to this, it may also lead other men to sin in their hearts by having lustful thoughts.

For anyone considering plastic surery, I would first recommend reading or listening to some of Christopher West’s comments & books that explain Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I personally found it very enlightening and empowering.

C.J

Personally, I could understand plastic surgery for burn victims, breast cancer patients, etc,

I agree. It’s especially disconcerting to see very young girls who haven’t even reached full maturity obtaining implants. It is so widespread now and speaks to a growing trend in women (and some men) striving to have designer bodies. I really lump this trend together with the fitness craze as well, where human beings have begun to worship the created rather than the Creator and make of their own bodies an idol. I am sure we have all seen stories and pictures of people who so grossly deform their appearances through multiple plastic surgeries in the desperate quest to achieve perfection. It’s sick and pathetic, IMO.

Oh, and the implants, lip jobs, face lifts, cheek implants, etc., usually look awful!

news flash-- plastic surgery is about a lot more than vanity. It is about a child having facial features restored to normal and proper function of the mouth, nose, ears and eyelids insured. It is about a burn victim’s body being restored. It is about a woman’s feminine appearance restored after masectomy. It is about a person who has undergone, at the price of great pain and self-denial, a significant weight loss having excess skin and tissue removed so they can walk and move normally.

could we please get over this preoccupation with questioning the morals and and actions of other people and return to consideration of our own sins and spiritual condition, for our own sake if not for the sake of Christian charity?

Don’t really understand who you are admonishing here, since both of the above posts stated exactly the same sentiments as yours.

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Puzzleannie, obviously if it is reconstructive or corrective surgery as in the cases you mention, then obviously there is no problem. But I was referring to the cases where you do it because of wanting to look good. I gave the example of breast implants, where a woman might want to do it because she wants to look better in her dresses or bikini.

Puzzleannie, I asked the question… I don’t see where someone has been questioning the morals and actions of other people? What if I, my daughter, my sister, or someone else, who might have come and ask for my advice, are contemplating to have plastic surgery because they want to look good ? Don’t I have the right to ask what is the church stand of this so that I can make my decision or give them good advice?

Sorry to tell you but you are way off base on this one. This forum is about MORAL THEOLOGY and the purpose of such forum is exactly to have discussions such as this one whether you like it or not.

Many blessings,

E.C.

Plastic surgery is vanity, if it’s done just to have bigger breasts or to look young. Pride is one of the seven deadly SINS. Yes, it’s a sin.

so far nobody has spoken about the Church’s teaching on breast implants, however, we have had a lot of very judgemental personal opinion. If no one is going to offer church teaching, I suggest the thread be closed. title of the thread is “is plastic surgery a sin?” . If you want to debate “are breast implants sinful?” then say so.

The OP mentioned breast implants. In my opinion it’s a sin, unless it’s reconstructive. If the Church hasn’t commented, oh well. I think it’s a sin.

The Church does not have a specific teaching on *elective *plastic surgery, but based on CCC 2289, I believe it is a violation of the 5th commandment:

Respect for health

2288 Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.

Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.

2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. **It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it’s sake, to idolize physical perfection **and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

I also believe this section covers the idea that medicine/surgery is acceptable for *therapeutic *purposes-- which would include restorative plastic surgery.

Puzzleannie, I think YOU are who is being judgemental by asking that this thread be closed and all. I have not seen anyone judging anybody here. They all have responded with their opinions towards elective plastic surgery and they all have said that reconstructive or corrective plastic surgery is ok. No one has judged any specific person.

I asked the question to know what is the Church’s position, but I am also interested in the opinions of my brothers and sisters in the faith. I have someone in my family who is considering elective plastic surgery (i.e., to look better) and I would like to give him/her the best advice I can give.

You have given your position regarding corrective and reconstructive plastic surgery, and I don’t think anyone has disagreed with you. On the other hand, you have said nothing about elective plastic surgery (i.e., to look good), which is really the topic of this thread. So either give your opinion on this regard, or please let this thread alone so that others may share their thoughts. Stop trying to get this thread closed.

Many blessings,

E.C.

1ke, great post!!! It seems that from here it can be derived that elective plastic surgery is a sin. What I wonder is how grave it is? I wish there was a specific church pronouncement in this regard.

Many blessings,

E.C.

Somebody needs to consult their priest before we start making our own guesses as to what is a violation against the 5th commandment. I doubt that everybody who gets a cosmetic facelift or anything else is idolizing their body, nor that every woman (or man) who gets her (his) ears peirced idolizes the body. Speak to your priest. Is anybody here a priest? Anybody who has any formal training in moral theology at all, not just hearsay?

Now if you get down to how Michael Jackson looks, that is a separate case.

My niece was born with a cleft lip and has had several operations over her life. At her last one she said, “I can’t believe anyone would go through this if they didn’t have to!”

Personally, I think it all depends. And I agree with those who think that multiple face lifts eventually leave the person looking rather ghastly.

Well, how about make-up? Sin? What’s the reason plastic surgery is a sin? Doesn’t the same principle apply to make-up?

Plastic surgery is more or less permanent. Makeup is not.

I’ve had four (going on five) mouth surgeries to correct various things, not to mention five and a half years of orthodontic work. I’ve had nine teeth pulled, a root canal, a tooth implant, braces, interior appliances, etc. It’s no bed of roses and I had to do it, or my mouth would have been really unhealthy. I am grateful because I have a better smile and it’s easier to clean my teeth and such. But why would someone go through drastic surgery if they didn’t have to? I was completely out of it when I had my wisdom teeth pulled!

Why is permanence a factor? I suppose we could also say make-up is done thousands of times and plastic surgery only once. How does the frequency or permanancy of the action matter to the principle involved?

If you read the first post on this thread you will find an abyssmal difference between make-up and plastic surgery.

If you look at the 7 deadly sins, all those sins are excesses or exagerations of something good. The devil turns something good into excess and thus it becomes a sin.

In the case of plastic surgery, such as breast implants, if you notice you

  1. Spend over $2000, money that can be used for better causes
  2. Put your life in danger, as it is major surgery and infections can result
  3. You go through many weeks of pain.
  4. You have to use drugs (Pharmakeia), such as pain medicine, anesthesia, etc when you are not sick to begin with. Because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the use of drugs should be limited for when you are sick or to improve your health.

So, does put in on make up cost you over US$2000?
Do you put your life in danger, by wearing make up? Do you have to go under general anesthesia from which many people has never woken up, etc. ??
DO you go through weeks of pain after makeup?

DO you have to take drugs because you put on make up??

So, being reasonable, you see that putting on make up is NOT an excess, where as ELective plastic surgery seems to be an excess (i.e., vanity).

Many blessings,

E.C.

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