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Can Catholics get tattoos? – Tattoo Ideas For Guys With Meaning

October 9, 2020

The Church’s teaching on tattooing in particular is complicated. At its most basic level, the Church does not officially define what tattoos are or that they are “good” or “bad.” Instead, she offers her “spiritual rule of tattooing,” which is to avoid giving “tattoos that show the blood of another person, [even in] the shape of a cross,” and the use of “othering designs” (“if a person has taken it upon themselves to put one of these designs on her body, even a ‘P’ for pussi or a ‘Y’ for you know what’), to make it clear the work is not for anyone other than the donor or the recipient of the design. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1.21.7.)

Tattooing, as I can attest from my own work and that of many others, is not benign or harmless. I can tell you from personal experience that not so long ago I had a friend who had recently got a tattoo to cover a serious blemish from an incident two years earlier. The problem was that there was no question the tattoo represented my son’s sexual orientation. The tattoo is also clearly a way for the person involved in the event to express an opinion – this was a point he did not make in our first meeting or even in our emails. In fact, in his second or third contact, he even made the connection again and told me I was “wrong.” This time the tattoo was a picture of a crucifix and the blood was clearly visible.

In her book, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sister Mary-Anne Dolan explains these distinctions and explains the difference between bad or good tattoos: “There are two categories of tattoos,” she writes. “One of them is bad; the other is good.” This distinction is not just about the physical nature of the tattoo. It is also about what you want to communicate, who you want to communicate it to and whether or not it’s “theologically necessary” to make the person you want to communicate to understand what you want to communicate. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 954.)

Another key to understanding the difference is to look at the two types of tattoos. Bad tattoos are offensive, immoral, embarrassing or harmful. Good tattoos are spiritually and personally beneficial. The first thing to explain to a new Catholic is simply that tattoos are not harmful. This means the person receiving the tattoo – or indeed

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