What Does the Catholic Church Say About Tattoos?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

Tattoos are increasingly fashionable and are a popular way to show your personality as a piece of body art. There are lots of different styles of tattoos and parts of your body where these can be inked. 

While people think about the placement and design of the tattoo, there are also other things to consider before getting a tattoo. There are religious and cultural concerns to think about, especially if you’re a religious person or if your family is religious.

One of the questions you may ask is what does the Catholic church say about tattoos? This is a big question to ask and there are lots of different thoughts about it.

We’ll let you know what the Catholic church thinks about tattoos and if these are forbidden or not.

Are Tattoos Forbidden by the Catholic Church?

If you ask Catholics about tattoo’s most of them would say that they’re not forbidden. However, others will have a different perception. There is no law against tattoos but many Catholics see them as a sinful act that God wouldn’t approve of.

Some people see tattoos as a bad thing, so even though it’s not forbidden they will use religion as a way to put you off having a tattoo. 

When thinking of getting a tattoo as a Catholic, you should make sure that the tattoo shows values that you’ll always identify with and live up to. There should be nothing immoral, Satanic, or opposed to the teachings of Christianity.

What Does the Catholic Church Say About Tattoos?

All religions have different views on tattoos and whether you should have them or not. Tattoos are not forbidden in the Catholic church, however, your tattoos should not go against the teachings of the Catholic church. 

The Catholic church takes all of its teachings from the bible and the Old Testament does talk about tattoos, and how they are sinful. “Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28).

However, the New Testament doesn’t mention tattoos, and this is why most Catholics believe that it’s ok to get a tattoo.

The Bible says that your body is the temple of God and that it’s his own creation, meaning that it shouldn’t be changed. Many Catholics consider this when getting a tattoo and show honor to their religion.

Can a Catholic Priest Get a Tattoo?

There’s no rule or law that says that a Catholic priest is forbidden from getting a tattoo. However, it’s very rare to ever see a Catholic priest that has a tattoo. Catholics look up to the priests of their church and follow their teachings so this is probably one of the reasons why they don’t have tattoos. 

Tattooing wasn’t a common thing to do years ago but is now increasingly popular. Maybe as younger priests come along, the views of tattoos may change a little. As the culture changes, the Catholic church may become more open-minded regarding tattoos.

What Does the Pope Think About Tattoos?

The Pope is surprisingly positive when talking about tattoos in recent conferences. When he was asked which parts of the modern culture he thought were good and bad, he responded, “don’t be afraid of tattoos.”

He has also talked about how tattoos are a way of engaging in delightful conversations and are a sign of belonging.

It’s important to keep the root of Christianity and its teachings at the forefront, but there is also room for the times to change. The younger generation are still religious, however, they are looking for a more modern approach to communicate their values.

What’s the Right Way To Get a Tattoo as a Catholic?

Tattoos are a big commitment for everyone that’s looking to get one and this is even more so for a Catholic. Even though tattoos are not forbidden by the Catholic church, you need to remember the Catholic teachings when choosing a tattoo.

You shouldn’t have any tattoo design that can be understood as immoral or Satanic. The tattoo that you choose should show the values that you identify with and want to continue to live by. You shouldn’t have any tattoos that show your religion in a negative way.


Many Catholics will have differing opinions and perceptions as to how tattoos should be handled. Even though they’re not forbidden by the Catholic church, you need to be respectful of the teachings of Christianity. 

God won’t ever judge you on the way that you look, only on your heart and soul, so as long as these are clean and pure, there’s no problem.

We hope that you have enjoyed our guide and we have answered your questions about the Catholic church and tattoos.

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