Why Pope Francis Thinks People Should Embrace Tattoos

Once upon a time, having a tattoo was considered to be a very controversial fashion choice. The body design went from being a sign of rebellion and heavily stigmatized, to now being absolutely mainstream and even welcomed in some workplaces. Nowadays, anyone and everyone can be seen with a tattoo, and it's a popular form of body expression that is widely accepted. But for some religious folks, there is a constant worry that they are sinning against their beliefs by "branding" themselves. A lot of that might stem from the years-long negative association of tattoos and crime.

However, tattoos are very popular in modern times, and despite some people believing that you can't be tattooed and devout to your religion, that ideology is also changing. Take it from the most powerful voice in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis himself shared some thoughts on the subject a few years ago, in regard to worshipers who have tattoos.

Tattoos? Fret not, says Pope Francis

"Don't be afraid of tattoos," said the pope to an inquiring seminary student in 2018, reports America Magazine. Because millennials are the biggest generation with the most tattoos, says Pew Research, it will be expected that several worshipers found in the church pews will have at least one tattoo. It is so common that an up-and-coming priest was curious on how to receive tattooed parishioners.

Pope Francis noted that tattoos aren't new to religion, and some cultures have long worn them, even if they look different today. "The Eritreans for years made the cross here ... The cross was tattooed. Yes, they are exaggerations, but today I see some," he said, per Christian Today.

The pope added that while some tattoos may come across as intimidating, every individual has their own unique thought process behind their body design, and that there is a story behind every tattoo. "It's important not to be scared. With young people one should never be scared ... Because always, even behind the things that are not so good, there is something that will bring us to some truth."