Nowadays, people are going crazy with body decoration. Hairstyles, makeup styles, tattoos. To add, body piercing is also a trend! The nose, lips, tongue, and tummy are the body parts that some usually get their piercing. Are you thinking of getting one but cannot totally decide because of fear that it could affect your faith? Got you! In this blog post, we will tackle if body piercing is a sin.
The bible does not specifically indicate teaching on piercing, however, it mentions piercing few times as follows.
“When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose-ring weighing half a shekel, and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels for her wrists.”
“On that day the Lord will do away with the finery of the anklets, sunbursts, and crescents; the pendants, bracelets, and veils; the headdresses, bangles, cinctures, perfume boxes, and amulets; the signet rings, and the nose rings; the court dresses, wraps, cloaks, and purses; the lace gowns, linen tunics, turbans, and shawls.”
In addition, below is a bible verse that has a negative view of a piercing.
“Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
In contrast, this passage gives a positive connection to piercing.
“I adorned you with jewelry, putting bracelets on your arms, a necklace about your neck, a ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.”
So, with contradicting views, what should we believe about body piercing?
Let’s now take into account the Church’s take on this one.
The Catholic Church does not have any teaching as to whether body piercing is a sin or not. But, it gives guidance as to when it can be sinful.
According to the Catechism,
CCC 2288 “Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.”
As Catholics, we know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that’s why we should take care of it.
Therefore, when discerning if you’ll get a body piercing, you must also consider the risk it could bring to your health. If it affects the function of your body organ then it could fall as mutilation, which the Church teaches as immoral.
CCC 2297 “Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”
Discernment before Body Piercing
If you are considering getting a body piercing, you may follow these guide questions.
- What is my reason for body piercing?
This answers the purpose of your body piercing. There are acts that can make this immoral. Body piercing could mean support for the homosexual lifestyle. It could also mean a desire to participate in lustful acts. This question makes sure that your reason is in accordance with the morals of the Church.
- Would this be disobedience to my parents?
If you are under the authority of your parents, their approval is a substantial consideration. According to the 4th Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” If you disobey them, you could be breaking this. Despite having a reasonable purpose, if you disobey your parents, then it wouldn’t matter. Talk to them about your plan.
- Would this body piercing affect my health?
As mentioned, it is important to know if it could have a risk to your health, or if it would affect how your body functions. If yes, then you might consider not doing it. Health matters. So if it could cause mutilation, then it is against the Church. It is immoral.
Body Piercing can be a Sin
Now, let’s summarize what has been written and answer the question.
Is body piercing a sin?
It depends. You must consider your purpose and health risk. If your purpose is to go against the Church or if it would affect how your body functions, then it is a sin.
Since body piercing can be a sin, is it a mortal or venial sin?
Before we answer that, let’s first have a recap of the Church’s teaching on sin.
The Catholic Church categorizes sin depending on its gravity.
It could be mortal or venial.
For a sin to be mortal, the following conditions must be present.
For a sin to be mortal, the following must be present.
- It must involve grave matter
- Committed with full knowledge that it is a grave sin
- Committed with deliberate consent
Let’s use body piercing as an example.
If one had a body piercing knowing it has a probable health risk and aware that it is a sin, then there is a mortal sin.
First, this is an example of mutilation which is immoral, and therefore, a grave matter.
Next, that individual committed it in full knowledge. It means there was a consciousness that it is a sin.
Finally, committed it with full consent. Despite one knowing that it was sinful, it was still committed.
Note that all conditions must exist. If one of the conditions above is lacking, it will fall as venial.
Confessing mortal sin is a must. While confessing venial sin is encouraged.
If you had a body piercing aware it has a risk on your health and knew it was a sin, then you need to confess it because it is a mortal sin.
In confession, you need to mention that you had a body piercing despite knowing its health risk on you.
The priest will then offer you counsel, ask you for penance and eventually absolve you from this sin.
Having a body decoration is not wrong. As Catholics, it is good to look good.
As long as we are doing it morally, then we’ll be fine.
That said, let us not forget that amidst bettering ourselves physically, we should also do the same spiritually.
As much as we spend time decorating our bodies, may we also spend time taking care of those around us.
Our calling is to be holy. Loving God and our neighbors should be our priority.
May we always do our best to do the will of God in us.
Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.