You were just asking for trouble by trying to give your interpretation of Old Testament scripture, commendable but foolish. How do you know that the tattooing was not something ritual? I’ve heard before that it was in reference to pagan practices where there ‘lacerated the dead’ to honour their dead or to tattoo.
Such things were forbidden to set apart the people of the covenant of God and the pagans. I think this question has been asked before in the Apologists section, and the Church does not condemn it, obviously tattoos of satan or other strange things are forbidden, but tattoos of the cross or the blessed virgin is hardly a cause for alarm
Is getting a tattoo against church teaching? (i chose this forum cause the others were full.)
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 04-28-2005:
It can be, depending upon it content, location and the intention of the person receiving it. My uncles got tattoos in WWII while in the Navy, of an anchor or something similar; this was commonly done and while they regret it now, with faded colors and the passing of time, it was not a mortal sin when done. But anything intended to be sexually provocative, contrary to religion, or excessive could very well be a mortal sin. Be careful…
Hi Dr. Geraghty,
I have a question about tattoos. I have mixed feelings about them. I think many tattoos are foolish. And as Sacred Scripture says our body is sacred, and it is wrong to misuse it. However, some tattoos have some very deep meanings. I would only get one if it had special meanings. For example, a tattoo of a spouse’s name, in dedication of a deceased relative or friend, or a religious symbol, such as a drawing of the face of Jesus, or of a cross, etc…Does our Catholic doctrine have an official stance on tattoos…including those with no moral meaning and those that do have a deep meaning?
Thanks so much and God Bless!
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-17-2005:
The Church is universal. Now in parts of the world a tattoo is an honored and serious part of the culture. So the Church does not prohibit tattoos in general. It holds to the general principle that the body is sacred. Thus the practice of having a tattoo should not violate this principle. If a particular instance did violate this principle, the tattoo would be wrong. As you see, then, the judgment is on a case by case basis. So one cannot rule out the practice altogether. Neither an one rule it in altogether. It takes the same stance about dancing, card playing, drinking alcohol. It does not rule out these practices totally. Neither does it approve of them totally. Each case must be judged on an individual basis. Those who abuse these practices act immorally. Those who use the in a sane and virtuous manner act morally.