You are a Temple of the Holy Ghost…
Thou shalt not make any cuttings in thy flesh, for the dead, neither shalt thou make in thyselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord. Lev. 19:28
Growing up in New York City in the 1960’s a fad developed, which, initially was universally regarded as urban blight, but later came to be viewed as an art form by the liberal and well-heeled, Avant Gard, uptown, gallery set. It was and is commonly called graffiti. While the name remains the meaning has morphed from writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface often in a public place, to a place among legitimate techniques and mediums euphemistically called street art. Indeed, it is hailed as a form of artistic social protest and is surrounded by a sub-culture of famous, (more correctly called, infamous) artists as depicted in the 1985 video Turk 182. Essentially, what was and is an act of vandalism has perversely become universally accepted as a beautiful statement of individuality. That said, it is important to bear in mind that the origin of graffiti goes back to ancient times, but was usually associated with social discontent and generally preceded upheaval, revolution, societal collapse and periods of chaos and mayhem.
Since, in my youth, I would have to take the NYC subway system twice daily on my way to and from school, the sight of ubiquitous graffiti on the railcars and other public places was so commonplace it largely became a sort of background music to my urban experience. Like most things, especially the damaging aspects of life, movements escalate, so during the 1980’s the medium went from an inanimate canvas, like a subway car or a tenement building, to the living human body, that is, tattoos. Once limited to dissolute military men, in the eighties tattoos became a fashion statement, primarily among the young, but also for many oldsters who saw them as youthful expressions of individuality. Even, I f not especially, women began to brand themselves with all sorts of tattoos, thereby initiating the fitting term of “tramp stamp”. This obviously is an outgrowth of the ‘Me” generation, which dominated the sixties and seventies decades, the tattoo being the ultimate attention getting device for not only these lost souls but also their offspring. As of December, 2013 statistics show that 36% of 18-25 yr. olds and 40% of those 26-40 yrs. had tattoos. There are approximately 45 million Americans with tattoos. 31% of the people who have a tattoo state that it makes them feel sexy to have it.
While all the above is grotesque enough, there is one aspect of this perverse alleged art form which escapes most people and sad to say especially the contemporary Christian, and that is there are Biblical and religious proscriptions against such trendy forms of self-mutilation. This is particularly vexing for Catholics who at least weekly receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics we are not only taught the truth that we …that is, our bodies, are Temples of the Holy Ghost, but also that when we receive Communion we become living Tabernacles of the of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, that is God Himself. That being said, how many Catholics, even Novus Ordo Catholics would ascend the Sacred Altar and spray paint the Tabernacle which rests upon it? Clearly, none! So by extension why would a believing Catholic ink his (or her) skin, which becomes the living Tabernacles of Our Lord Jesus? Certainly for some Modernists Cafeteria Catholics who no longer believe in the Real Presence this is a moot point and to this I would say: have at it…
In addition to the above, Pagan societies from contemporary to ancient would ink their bodies mainly for the esoteric and occult value of the symbols thereupon etched. So why would any Christian worth his salt emulate these lost souls?
Finally, there is the health and safety aspect of tattooing. Since the regulatory authority varies from locale to locale at different local and State levels there is essentially no uniform health and safety standards applicable. While the FDA, (the Food and Drug Administration), does regulate and evaluate various individual chemicals they do not regulate the application of said chemicals in the tattooing industry, therefore, many of the inks used contain dangerous chemicals and compounds known to be hazardous and toxic to the human body.
The very concept of tattoos is undoubtedly a wile of the devil himself to whom the temporal physical body is loathsome beyond belief. Indeed, most Catholic theologians believe that that is what caused the rebellion among the angels at Creation; the fact, that God would become incarnate, taking on bodily human form. So any activity that debased the body, whether it be debauched or perverse sex, or tattoos which diminishes God’s human creation is of incomparable delight to the devil and his fallen angels.
For additional reading on the deleterious physical effects of tattooing see the below article:
Many Autoimmune Diseases Now Linked To Toxins In Tattoo Ink
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.