Can nuns have tattoos? (Are Catholics allowed to have tattoos?)

As a theologian with many years of experience in Christian ministry, I have taken a lot of interest many denominations like the catholic lifestyle. I was especially interested in the rules that apply to nuns. During my research, I visited a catholic church and learned about nun’s lifestyle from the nuns and the Father. About a month ago, my theology students asked me about nuns’ lifestyles and whether they are allowed to have tattoos. The topic stemmed from our previous discussion on the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Based on the scriptures and research as a theologian, I could answer my students accurately. So, can nuns have tattoos?

Yes. Nuns can have tattoos just like anyone else if the tattoo follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis gave Catholics a green flag for getting tattoos at his conference in 2018. The Pope said that tattoos are a way of self-expression and self-identity.

In this article, I will discuss what the Catholic Church and the Bible say about tattoos. Join me as we discuss why Catholics can have tattoos, any restrictions against nuns getting tattoos, and whether you can become a nun if you have tattoos. Read on to find out more!

Are Catholics allowed to have tattoos?

Yes. In fact, Catholics have been getting tattoos since the 6th century. Christians would tattoo crosses on their body in the holy land. In the book of Galatians, Paul writes that he has the marks of Jesus on his body, which historians translate into a tattoo. There is no law against tattoos, so Catholics are allowed to have tattoos.

In the Bible, the only mention of tattoos is in Leviticus 19:28, where God prohibits the Israelites from wearing tattoos. The warning is in the Old Testament. However, some theologians argue that the old covenant was replaced by the new covenant brought on by Jesus Christ through his crucifixion, making the Old Testament warning about tattoos no longer applicable to modern Christians.

Is there a restriction against nuns getting a tattoo?

Are Catholics allowed to have tattoos?
Is there a restriction against nuns getting a tattoo? Image source: Pixabay

There is no restriction against getting tattoos for nuns. Tattoos are a form of self-expression, so nuns can get tattoos if they want. However, the tattoo in question should not be something immoral. Many Catholics see the nuns and priests as a representation of the Church, explaining why it is rare to find tattoos on them, especially in exposed areas.

In 2018, Pope Francis encouraged people to get tattoos at one of his conferences. The Pope said that tattoos are a way of belonging and communicating. Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, and the younger generation of religious leaders is looking for a modern approach to passing through their values.

Can you become a nun if you have tattoos?

The Catholic Church does not explicitly say that nuns are not allowed to have tattoos. However, before making your final decision, you must confirm with the community you intend to join. Tattoos inevitably communicate one’s values and what you stand for as a person. Therefore, if your tattoos are crude or lewd, it can cause conflict with the Church. Another factor is the number of tattoos on one’s body; if they are too many, you may want to check in with the Church first.

Does the Catholic Church accept tattooed nuns?

Can nuns have tattoos?
Does the Catholic Church accept tattooed nuns? Image source: Freepik

Yes. The Catholic Church accepts tattooed nuns as long as the tattoos in question follow Catholic teachings. Due to their permanency, tattoos should express the values you identify with and want to live by.

However, if the tattoos are immoral, some churches might consider them unacceptable, while others may be more understanding. The Pope said that catholic authority figures such as nuns should not be afraid to get tattoos as they help connect with the younger generation.

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