Nowadays a lot of youth is seen wearing tattoos of cross, angels, butterflies even mother Mary and Jesus. To become more trendy youth are seen with multiple piercing. What does Catholic Church teach about these practices?

 Harry Joseph, Cochin, India

 There is nothing intrinsically immoral about a Catholic having a tattoo or a piercing. What make those things immoral would be its content/message/purpose. The often quoted Old Testament prohibitions, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:28) are not binding on Catholics as it refers to ritual law rather than moral law. It is the consensus of Catholic biblical commentators that this prohibition is not part of the unchanging moral law, but part of the ritual law specific to Old Testament situations.

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Fr Bitaju Mathew, O.SS.T. belongs to the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives (Trinitarians). He serves as the secretary Vice Provincial of the Order in India and is currently Chaplain of the Jesus Youth International Formation Team.