I mentioned the other day…

…that one of the great things about being Catholic is that everything is interesting because it’s all part of God’s ongoing act of creation and redemption and is therefore grist for Catholics to think about. So, for instance, a Vatican university just hosted a conference looking at the (amazingly complex) history and meaning of tattoos.

Tattoos are emphatically not my cup of tea. But then who says everything has to fit into my teacup? Tattoos are as much a form of human communication and art as any other medium we use and have had intense religious and cultural meanings over the ages. It’s perfectly fitting that a Catholic scholar should take up the subject. That’s part of what I love about the Faith: the intellectual freedom that comes of knowing “catholic” means “universal”.

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  • Confederate Papist

    They’re not my cup of tea either. In fact I always say that if God wanted us to have tattoos we would have been born with them. But that’s just me.

    • You could say the same thing about clothing. It’s naked time!

      • Manwe

        it’s pronounced ‘nakey’ time…

  • Adolfo

    You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) to learn how many people think getting a tattoo–any tatoo–is forbidden by the Church.

    • Margaret

      That one gets duked out on Catholic Answers Forum from time to time. And don’t even get into blue hair or multiple ear-piercings. Drives me nuts. The Church doesn’t “oppose” forms of self-expression that I happen to find ugly?!?? Dang.

  • I have two tattoos: One of the CSPB side of the St. Benedict medal, the other of an engraving at St. Meinrad Archabbey with part of a psalm added to it…

    Got them both my senior year in college at Belmont Abbey and even wrote a paper about tattoos for my undergrad Moral Theology course (Got an A!). I get mixed reactions on the tattoos. Usually the monks and priests (of both abbeys) I run into are more accepting of them than my “I only go to Latin Mass because it’s more holy” classmates at BAC.

  • Dr. Eric
  • Sal

    The problem with tattoos, from a practical standpoint is that, alas, all flesh is grass.
    What’s sharp and clear now will be, in a couple of decades, a sagging, wrinkled and permanent reminder that you were once young and given to poor choices.

    So, study them? Sure.
    Get them? Hmmmm….

    • Manwe

      This is pretty much what I was going to write. It’s also worth noting there is a difference between the ancient tattoos and today’s fads and fashions.