Tattoos, piercings, etc

I recently purchased the book, The Catholic Gentleman by Sam Guzman and was inspired to see if he had a presence on YouTube. In a related video to the first one of Sam’s that I found and watched, there was another fellow called Rayman something-or-other (sounded like he was from Texas or the South someplace) who was talking about the way a Catholic gentleman should carry himself, etc. and he was saying that a Catholic gentleman shouldn’t get piercings or tattoos and if we have them we ought to take them out (piercings) or keep them covered (tattoos). Most of the rest of his video dealt with basically being a good witness, setting a good example for the world as a Catholic and as a man, but both of my forearms are pretty tattooed. I’m having doubts about always keeping my arms covered. None of the tattoos are objectionable or offensive. One lower arm is a half-sleeve with musical notes and music-themed stuff and the other has a memorial tattoo for my grandfather, my medical ID, and an evergreen tree with the word Oregon that I got with my sister, who lives abroad. We’re both from Oregon. I agree that we should always be able and willing to give a good testimony and we don’t want to look shabby or unkempt (I think there’s even writings from some Church fathers/doctors about that), but is keeping my tattoos covered all the time not a little bit over-the-top?

What do you folks think? Particularly the gentlemen?

Thank you! That really does help!

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There are plenty of good Catholic men who have some tasteful tattoos. Military, sailors, and law enforcement have been getting them for decades. Their choosing to cover them or not is a prudential judgment, as the Church does not teach against tattoos.

Some individuals have personal preferences for or against tattoos. Others don’t care. If you have a lot of tats then you’re probably already aware of this. The opinion from the guy you saw is just his opinion. Tattoos without objectionable content do not have any bearing to me on whether a man is or is not a Gentleman, or a Catholic Gentleman. I’m more concerned with his actions. Same for piercings.

If you decide to engage in some church ministry, such as being a lector or usher, your parish priest or the layperson in charge may have some expectations as to how you should dress and whether you need to cover your tattoos. You should follow whatever the dress code rules are. When you are on your own time or simply sitting in a pew at Mass, then the choice to cover your tattoos or not is up to you. It is not anyone else’s business.


I think covering tattoos up depends on the venue. IMO at church we shouldn’t draw attention to ourselves whether with message t-shirts, conspicuous brand logos, etc., including tattoos. At most venues the rest of us should just try to ignore your tattoos if it’s not our cup of tea.


People will come on CAF and tell you they don’t like tattoos and that they would never get one and that you should never get one.

Bottom line, the Church allows them and if you like them and they are not offensive, you have every right to not cover them up.


I have several large tattoos from my wrists to my ankles and I serve as an acolyte in a Byzantine church. I like to think I’m a Catholic gentleman, and the elderly ladies at church like me, if that counts for anything. I keep them covered during the liturgy, of course, but I often have them exposed afterward. I felt a little unsure at first and usually covered up but I found another guy at church with tattoos and he’s a well respected guy.


The Pope seems to think tattoos can even be useful evangelical tools.


I don’t think tattoos and piercings are sinful, but they do tend to be over done and cross over into being trashy.


This is complete nonsense and it is NOT a teaching of the Church. It is an opinion.

If you want to look to the teachings of the Church for how to act, as a lady or a gentleman, look to:

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy
The Beatitudes
The Virtues
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit


At my job you have to cover tattoos. No gauges.
In 10 or twenty years they will date you. In my dds school all is not permitted as well as unnatural hair color. (Catholic school)

Ihave seen many trends come and go. So it will be proftable to be a tattoo remover. As for military its not a trend.

Because the younger generation will find someway else to show themselves. And you will be judged as an out of thouch person.

I have a container of stirrup pants from the late 80s. Lol. Shoulder pads etc. We had Weird shag hair, ala Farah facett and .perms on guys. If i went out like that all sprayed up wiy and neon eyemakeup with stirrup pants that would raise eyebrows…lol.

As for church just go in modest attire. We all went.

I would be more worried about finding a corporate or job dealing with public then a church issue


Thank heaven that in 10 or 20 years I’ll be an old lady and the wrinkles on my face will date me, so I don’t have to worry about my tattoos doing it.


I wonder about eyebrow tattoos… when your eyes start aging and they are all of whack. I prefer my eyebrows above my eyes. Lol.

All in fun no judgement.

Wrinkly tattoos ugh. Thank you for the visual…lol.Thats why a career in tattoo removal will be so profitable.

I wouldn’t want an eyebrow tattoo, unless it was something in connection with plastic surgery, or maybe if I wanted something really crazy looking to join a circus sideshow. (I have an old friend who was with Jim Rose Circus Sideshow for years, but he wasn’t the tattooed guy.)

I’m getting my late husband’s name on my arm as soon as I can go to my preferred tattoo parlor without COVID restrictions or concerns. His name will be on the same arm as I have Jesus’ name and then I can look at them both together every day.


I am a goth and a skater but I am Catholic first. Jesus loves me and my tattoos. tattoo meanings change over time people change over time but God is eternal and I’m grateful for the church’s position on this


It was from a holy priest that I learned the virtue of modesty and was moved to remove my piercings for good.


The idea that tattoos are trashy and should be covered seems really old fashioned. I know lots of moms in their 30’s getting tattoos to memorialize miscarries babies. Tattoos aren’t just for intoxicated kids on spring break in Cabo anymore. There was a time when makeup was considered trashy on women. Now all women who want can wear makeup and it doesn’t say “trashy” unless it’s over the top. I think tattoos have gone that way too.


I had several piercings in my teen days for couple years. I removed them before I reverted because I didn’t like them on myself anymore. I still find them beautiful on some people.
I also have tattoo but meaning and symbol of tattoo is occult. It is kind of tattoo that nobody should put on themselves. It is part of me, I am sinner and Jesus forgave me (though, thanks God it is not pentagram on my forehead).
There are also very nice tattoos with interesting messages. I don’t have negative attitude towards tattoos except when it is anti-Christian, when it is blasphemous and promotes negative, rude words/pictures, swearing and simmilar.

@Inbonum, there are people that can do wonderful coverup tattoos these days. When completed, you wouldn’t even be able to see the old one anymore.


I have been looking for laser erase few years ago or to cover with something nice but it’s so expensive. I don’t have money atm and there are other issues I need to pay so it must wait.
In my country laser erase is offered in one hospital on dermatology unit but doctor told me that it wouldn’t help me because my tattoo isn’t pure black/green pigment. The darker the tattoo, the better the laser works and my tattoo isn’t pure black or green.
It doesn’t bother me in general and I mostly forget that I even have it. It is just other people who ask because it is on my hand, I cannot cover it with clothes.

Rather than laser erase, a good artist could change it into something nice, even Christian :slight_smile:

To reflect how you yourself have changed.

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