Need help understanding vanity

so growing up, I was always taught that plastic surgery and tattoos were sinful, our catechism teacher said this at a retreat, and a religious congregation I was helping out also said this. because we’re the temple of the holy spirit

but I’m confused, we do other things to our appearances, such as make-up, jewelry, dying our hair, etc…

I’m not really a proponent of plastic surgery but I understand the use for medical purposes. but most people criticize nose jobs or such things, if a person is simply not happy with the way they look

or what if someone wanted to get a tattoo of a crucifix to remind themselves of their faith? arguments are that we are trying to improve on god’s design by adding something that’s not naturally there or that it’s self-mutilation. but getting your ears pierces would also be considered self-mutilation as well. I’m obviously not talking about immoral tattoos or things that are just a bad idea, like you’re girlfriend’s name or something like that

plus these procedures tend to be pretty expensive

I do know that in the writings of the saints, there are certain ones who did criticize the use of make-up, hair dye and jewelry as vanity as well and that it was sin. even if clothes were too fancy and certain colours that stood out too much

I also realize now that there is no official teaching of the church against any of these things

any advice would help. especially ones with concrete examples

I am sorry that you were taught something that is not true.

Plastic surgery can be wrong. It depends on the purpose-- such as correcting a defect or even helping someone with depression or other issues. I can become problematic, yes, like anything else done to excess or for morally problematic reasons. The virtues of temperance and prudence would be in play here.

Tattoos are not even mentioned in Church teaching, so I don’t know where they got that idea.

From the Catechism: 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.

Don’t be. There isn’t anything wrong with any of what you’ve mentioned.

Most people you know? because I don’t think “most people” criticize minor plastic surgery aimed at reducing anxiety about appearance. And what ‘most people’ think does not equate to “it is a sin” anyway.

you can come up with all the scenarios you want, angel, but you are arguing against nothing because the Church does not teach ear piercing or tattoos are immoral, religious or not.

Sometimes. Sometimes not. And sometimes insurance will pay. But ultimately, not relevant.

And as their own standard of piety or self-denial, that is fine for them to do. But it creates no universal norm or requirement.

Then why are you asking if these are wrong?

Again, we are back to you wanting things black and white when things are NOT black and white. Examples are really pointless.

thanks for the cclarification.

I always just thought it was true because, generaly, you trust what catechists and consecrated religious tel you, especially at a youth retreat or a summer camp.

I think my excesive questioning may also stem from this fact, that I don’t always know what’s proper teaching and what isn’t, because were taught certain things frowing up that the church actually does not teach, or vice versa, important teachings that I never knew about.

Ditto to every thing 1ke said above.
But since I always ask you this, I feel like it’s tradition to ask it again:

Who are these============
“most people”
“some theologians”
“people I know”
“people tell me”
“I have heard from other Catholics”


I never cease to be amazed at how easily influenced you are by people with no authority or citations, or back up for their statements, yet you ask here for proof, Church teaching, infallible statements, examples. And then don’t take ANY of it to heart!


The bottom line is that you KNOW what is correct and what is just over-thinking and obsession. If you are “struggling” as you so often say with these doubts and thoughts you need to see a priest asap.
You need a Spiritual Director. You’re going to say they are hard to come buy and that you can’t get there, or your parents don’t think you need one, or you don’t have time to go…

I know I know…

just throwing it out there…again.

I agree. You really need to start trusting yourself, and your own decisions. I know it’s hard - I’ve been where you are. You need to build up your own self esteem, and don’t rely on others to do it for you. These people in your life only seem to want to tear you down, and you should start moving away from them because they are causing you to constantly doubt yourself.

You need to put your own health before others’ opinions, and you need to put yourself before the people you know are going to set your scruples off.


Nah. It’s scruples.
Of course a nun is going to tell you it’s better without makeup.
They would think that, wouldn’t they?
But seriously, I was taught to move over in my chair for my guardian angel to sit down in grade school.
It didn’t take long for me to reason that angels probably had the ability to hover. :cool:
At some point we have to use the mind that God gave us and stay close to Him in prayer.
Seek peace. Don’t you want to be rid of these doubtful thoughts?
You need help for your scruples. I really don’t understand why you fight this.
Do you think you are unworthy of acceptance and respect for your intellect? Apparently you are a very smart girl based on your academic record.
The Holy Spirit is prompting you to get help. Go to your priest and tell him the truth about your living and emotional situation.
Every time I suggest this you change the subject. You just say “oh it’s not that bad”.
It is that bad.
You don’t’ have to answer, but I’m going to always suggest it.
Spiritual Direction.

Lots of people pray for you.

And please don’t apologize for “being annoying”.
No one is annoyed.
We ache for you.

Spiritual Direction.

Yes. Angel, please don’t feel bad for asking.

Please consider counselling, and talk to your spiritual director whenever you feel the need.

We’re always here at CAF for you.


I was not going to say any of that.

I question because these were things I was taught.

well, what else have I learned that was wrong? then you start questioning everything

and I do take what everyone says on here to heart, just for the record.

Im not sure whether it reaches the level of sinning, but I can imagine if Jesus were to see the extent many women today go to, to look ‘beautiful’ (makeup, facelifts, etc), he would not agree with them, probably say something along the lines of " So, you are trying to make something I created to be beautiful as is, MORE beautiful, or implying its not good enough as is".

Just because wearing makeup is commonplace in the world today, does not mean, God agrees with it.

That’s really kind of silly.
Many cultures have adorned/decorated their skin for thousands of years.
So long as one doesn’t do it because they hate themselves, or spend an exorbitant amount of money on it, makeup is harmless. Often it’s a cultural expression.

past cultures wore different markings and designs on their skin for far different reasons than women wearing makeup today, back then, it was usually done to indicate some type of accomplishment, or for certain time periods, different designs meant different things.

Women wear makeup today to make themselves ‘more beautiful’, there is no other significance to it. I even asked a woman I know why she wears make up, her response was, she didnt think her natural face was good enough in certain situations, like going to work, going out, etc.

So why do men shave then?
Why do men have those crazy 'staches?
Really, makeup is not that big of a deal.
It’s gotten to where everything on CAF is sinful. :rolleyes:

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