Leo’s Tattoos

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“Father, I guess I should have worn a shirt or something before coming into the church,” said the young man whom Father Culpepper had never seen before. He was in his late teens or early twenties. It was hard to tell. His arms and neck were covered in tattoos Maybe that was what he meant when he said that he should have worn a shirt. Perhaps, he felt that he should have covered them up.

“You’re right, a long sleeved shirt would have been more appropriate,” he told the young man.

“Sorry, Father,” he mumbled. “I got these tattoos when I was in my teens.”

“How old are you?”


“Are you working?”

“Yes. I work in the warehouse of The Eager Eagle.”

“Do you like working there?”

He shrugged. “Sure. The pay is decent.”

“Do you have family?”

“Yes. I have two brothers and a sister. I’m the eldest. I moved out of my family’s house last year.”

“What’s your name?”

“Leo Brown.”

“Is your family Catholic?”

“Yes. My family comes to this church every Sunday.”

“But, you don’t.”

“No. I don’t feel comfortable being in church because of my tattoos.”


“My mother said that it’s against Catholic beliefs to have tattoos.”

“Just recently, I spoke to a young woman who said that she was considering getting a tattoo for some time but wanted to make sure that it wasn’t against the church’s beliefs. The church doesn’t have any rules in place which would prohibit anyone getting tattoos but I encouraged her to really consider the matter carefully because aren’t easy to remove, in fact, they are meant to be permanent. I asked her what she would do if she were to get the tattoo and six months later decide that she didn’t like it anymore. She said what if it were a tattoo of a cross or a Bible verse. I suggested that she could wear a crucifix instead.”

“What happened? Did she end up getting the tattoo?”

“I don’t know. Before she left, I again informed her that while the Church doesn’t have a specific teaching on tattoos, it does teach that we are obligated to honor our bodies and to regard them as good. I hope that she will make a wise decision.”

“I hope she doesn’t get the tattoo. I wish I hadn’t gotten these tattoos. When I got them, I thought they looked really cool but now, they look ugly and I can’t get rid of them.”

“I don’t believe that tattoos are intrinsically evil and God doesn’t judge a person based on his or her appearance but on what’s in the heart. And from what I can see yours aren’t diabolic, shocking or immoral. If you feel badly about them, wear long sleeve shirts to hide them. There isn’t much you can do about the ones on your neck, though.”

“You know, Father, for a long time, I’ve been afraid to come to church because I felt that God didn’t love me any more because of my tattoos.”

“Leo, God isn’t fickle. God sent His Son to die for all of us, including you so why would He be so cut up over your tattoos that He would stop loving you? When King David committed adultery, tried to pass his child off as another man’s child and then had that man murdered, God didn’t stop loving him. Although we do things which will displease God, it doesn’t affect His love for us. Don’t let your guilt about getting tattooed prevent you from coming to church and from having a relationship with God. Give your heart to Him, spend time with Him and in His Word. You have this wonderful promise that when you draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Leo smiled. “Thank you, Father. I feel much better.”

Father Culpepper smiled. “Good. I’m happy to hear that. Now, go in peace.”

Sources: RC Spirituality; Embulbul Catholic Parish; Inked Mind; Fantasy Name Generators

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