Tattooed Priest!?

As a person who is slowly discerning a vocation to the priesthood, would getting a tattoo of a crucifix or Mary be an unwise move?

I already have a tattoo of a scorpion on my right shoulder from my younger days when I was heavily involved with astrology and the zodiac, and I’ve wanted a tattoo of Mary for a while. What better way to counter-act, I thought, the other tattoo I have?

What are your thoughts?

Well, someone can say that you are mortifying your body, but on the other hand, my wedding ring has caused a skin reaction that has left a mark on my body that will never heal, even if I take my ring off. I am sure that wearing my wedding ring is not a form of mortification of the flesh.

I would remove the tattoo of the scorpion, and if the religious tatoos are on a part of your body that is exposed, (i.e. - your forearm) I would remove those too.

I think your desire to get a religious tatoo is actually commendable. You will be going through pain - which can be seen as a sacrifice - much like fasting. And as long as you don’t tatoo your entire body as if to say: HEY I’M CATHOLIC, I don’t think our Lord would have a problem with it.

Actually, I think a tatoo on my upper arm that says, “Jesus I Trust In You” is not that bad of an idea. Just keep it personal - i.e. to yourself.

Were you thinking about Our Lady of Guadalupe?

You could always have the scorpion covered with a tattoo of Our Lady. :slight_smile: A scorpion is closer to a serpent than most other animals (because they’re creepy), so it seems rather appropriate. :smiley:

For some inspiration:

Covering up your scorpion tattoo would be the best idea, in my opinion. It would make for an interesting and holy arm piece, and you wouldn’t have to spend a crazy amount of money of tattoo removal. Plus you’ll never forget wearing a symbol of your love for Mary and Jesus, and theirs for you.

Discerning a vocation? :thumbsup:

Ok, I am not a huge fan of tattoos in general. But, if you want to get something to reflect your faith, I think that’s great.

I think covering up the scorpian would be great. (If it’s possible :confused: )

Otherwise, my only suggestion would be that it be in a place that is not readily visible. :slight_smile:

What if you were to turn the scorpion into something else? That would be kinda cool, if you could turn it into and image of Our Lady!

A good tattoo artist can do amazing “cover-ups”. I’m sure that they could turn your scorpion into an image of Our Lady and it would be beautiful. But you have to find a true artist. Pray for God’s help in finding someone who can do it and do it right.

If you lived here I could recommend someone… but there are great artists all over the world.


Keep it modest. I wouldn’t get anything big.

Nothing wrong with a Priest having a tattoo. I known many over the years who had them. Some quite extensive, Remember always that a Priest is a man first and a priest second. Priests are not required to be perfect or to have always made the right and proper decisions in their lives. I see nothing wrong with getting additional tattoos.

Thanks to everyone so far for their opinions.

As much as I’d love to get the tattoo of the scorpion covered up, it’s a dark maroon color and I have no clue how that could be covered up by Mary’s traditional blue, which is what I’m likely to get. I could perhaps get a suffering Christ with a crown of thorns. I’ll definitely have to find an artist who can do this for me…

Well, you’d be surprised what some artists can make happen. Research a little and speak with some artists. See what they have to say. You may be able to find a Christian tattoo artist who would enjoy “writing” (to borrow “iconographic” terminology) this tattoo as much as you will having had it done.

Have St Michael slaying the scorpion.

Or Mary stepping on it (like the classic images of her stepping on the snake).

i say go for it! itll be a unique testement

I think it’s a great idea–if you’ve prayed and discerned and know that it’s what you want. As for your potential vocation, I think there are many future parishoners who won’t be happy about it, but I think there are probably even more (youth) who will feel as though they can relate to you in a way they never could with a former Priest. And the vast majority will likely have no opinion whatsoever.

May be praying then reading Scripture with references to Scorpions may inspire you? :slight_smile:

**(Deut. 8: 15; Ezek. 2: 6; Luke 11: 12; Rev. 9: 5). **


I’ve decided to do it. St. Louis Marie de Montfort talks about wearing an iron chain or some semblance to always remind us that we, who complete the total consecration, are slaves to Jesus through Mary; therefore, instead of an iron chain, what better way to show my true devotion than by wearing my faith on myself?

I’ve decided that I will go with an image of Mary like the one found in the Virgin of the Lilies [pictured below] with my motto, Tibi Omnia Dare, featured beneath it.

In my most humble opinion I would recomend you keep the scorpion on your arm to remind yourself of your earlier days. Whether you decide to cover or convert your tattoo is your decision but I would certainly respect a priest who has walked the world (and has been marked by it) more so than a priest who would seek to conceal his past.

As an interesting side note many of the pilgrams priests and knights of the first crusade “branded” the cross onto their foreheads as a show of their faith and devotion.

Go for it.

I’ll be ordained in about a month and I have the IXOYE Jesus fish tattooed on my lower right leg. I’ve thought about getting a plain cross tattooed on my upper left arm, but we’ll see. Part of the significance of that has to due with the fact that I’m in the Army’s Chaplain Candidate program and hope to do some service as an active duty chaplain. In the Army you wear the patch of the unit you are currently assigned to on the left shoulder of your uniform, so having a tattoo of some theological significance would be a good way of reminding myself of my permanent service to the Lord.

Also, I’m definitely not the only guy at Mundelein Seminary with a tattoo so this is not an unheard of thing.

I myself have a tattoo…it’s of two hands clasped in prayer holding a Rosary between them. I got it to signify the end of my spiritual wandering and my complete submission to the Church. I was quite the wandering flower for a very long time. (Well, I submissed to the Church before I got the tattoo, but I wanted to wait til I was legal…lol) Its on my leg by my ankle, so it’s completely concealable if I want it to be. I think a simple religious tattoo is a beautiful way to show your reverence…remember. Tattoos are permanet, I may lose my necklace, but I will always have my tattoo. :slight_smile:

Tatoo … kinda like having a permanent mullet.

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