Q - Simple question, is getting a tattoo wrong?
A - Thanks for the question. I know that in today's society, tattoos are more popular than ever and many people have questions about this. I hope that I can help sort it out.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a tattoo. This means, that in and of itself, a tattoo is not a moral evil.
Now, there are situations when getting a tattoo would be sinful. For instance, a tattoo that causes offense to others, because of the image causes scandal would be wrong, if there is significant damage to the bodily integrity, a minor who gets one without permission from parents, etc.
As Christians, we should also consider why you would ever need a tattoo. The Church teaches us about the sacredness of our bodies. Our bodies were created to image God and he believes they are "good". So, why would they need to be decorated? Furthermore, they are to be the home of the Holy Spirit, which is why St. Paul wrote:
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" - 1 Cor 6:19Some questions that might guide a person thinking about getting a tattoo:
- What is the intent behind the desire for a tattoo?
- Is the purpose of doing so to spite someone?
- Will my bodily integrity remain intact or will this mutilate my body?
- Do you have a bad self-image or are trying to hide a feature we don't like?
- Is it done to please someone else
- Is it a part of a tribal ritual?
- Is your body being treated as a temple of the Holy Spirit?
- How will this affect others?
- How will my parents, friends, family, employers, etc. react?
- Is this good use of my money?
- What will the tattoo contain? Would it be offensive to others?
- Is it a good message within the tattoo?
So, while it is not intrinsically wrong to get a tattoo, there are circumstances that might make it immoral. If you don't get a tattoo, you need not even ask the questions above.
I hope this helps.
For more on related topics:
**The Catholic Church and Plastic Surgery