“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Have a Navel Piercing?”

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Q: As a teenager I’m into some trendy things such as piercings. A friend of mine just made her confirmation and has a navel piercing, so that confused me at first. I’ve wanted a navel piercing for a while already, but I feel like it’s not right in God’s eyes. But I can’t exactly seem to find anything that says piercings are a sin. I’d appreciate your input on a Catholic getting a navel piercing. I’m an extremely devoted Catholic, even at a young age, and I don’t want to be seen as a hypocrite. My reasoning for wanting the navel piercing is because I think it’s quite pretty. To be honest, I’d rarely show it off, if ever. It’s more so just for me than anything else. – A.C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The Church doesn’t have hard-and-fast rules in cases like these. But perhaps some principles might help you.

First, we should consider our bodies as sacred. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

This means that we should use our bodies for the glory of God.

We should also treat them with respect. This means avoiding things that might damage them or put them at risk unnecessarily.

Here, you might consider the risks that can be linked to body piercings, such as allergic reactions, skin infections, scars, and blood-borne diseases transmittable by the equipment used to do the piercing. And jewelry can get torn out accidentally, potentially requiring stitches.

A growing problem in recent years is the tendency for some people to treat their bodies like material things to be manipulated at will. This can include a range of things, from tattooing to cosmetic surgery for the sake of vanity, to various forms of self-mutilation.

Another consideration is this: You seem to be concerned whether the piercing would be a sin. It’s good to remember that we aren’t in this world just to avoid sin. We are here to become saints.

So, instead of asking whether piercing is a sin, it might be better to ask yourself, “How can I show respect for my body and treat it in a way that reflects my dignity as a daughter of God?”

For related reading, see an earlier posting on tattoos.

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer. Count on my prayers.

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3 Comments
  1. I sympathize with the questioner, but would like to encourage her to rely on her own beauty and instead of a piercing to practice wearing a smile that will enhance her beauty more than any piercing. Personally, I find piercings distracting and they sometimes cause me to unfairly assume something negative about the person. Other than earrings, I find piercings of eyebrows, nares and lips as unappetizing and unlikely to have enhanced their bearers’ appearance.

  2. HI there, The priest and Don make good points.
    I agree very much when the priest writes “A growing problem in recent years is the tendency for some people to treat their bodies like material things to be manipulated at will. This can include a range of things, from tattooing to cosmetic surgery for the sake of vanity, to various forms of self-mutilation.”
    It is not a nice trend, and is going to cause you pain and damage, the tummy is where a woman may go onto carry a child when she is married. It is precious. And even if you do not go onto marry and have children it is still precious.

    It could get caught on something and rip your skin. Best to have respect for the body you have been given. Think why you keep focusing on the piercing, find out the real reason why you want it and explore it as it is maybe something negative. Take your findings to God and pray, try praying The Rosary.

    In modern society we are often faced with trends and we all think we want something when in fact we don’t we have been sold a product such as piercing or plastic surgery just so that someone can make a lot of money from other people’s insecurities. That is not very nice of them to do that.
    body Piercings are not pretty btw. they just aren’t.
    Be respectable and wholesome I think that is the best way to be.
    And if you think that God would not approve then you have your answer.
    God speaks to us all we need to listen.
    God loves you, and he has a great love for you. He loves you so much that it seems that he has already told you the answer which is in the question you have posted.

    Listen to him.
    He loves you so much that he answered you. 🙂
    Take his love in your heart everyday and you will find that it will outshine the want for a piercing 🙂

    You wrote “but I feel like it’s not right in God’s eyes” : then do not turn away from God the Father.
    find peace in the answer that he gave you. Be happy in his love. Remember God listens when you pray to him you can also have a moment were you ask him and have a little chat to him he is there always and it is a comfort. Include God in your life and in decisions that you are not sure off.
    May God bless you.

    From Sarah

  3. i doubt God truly cares about a belly ring. i have piercings and tattoos everywhere, and i still wear a Crucifix proudly, and am prayerful, a true believer, etc., i theyre not mutually exclusive things. body modification for me is a way of honoring my body. i used to hate my nose cause it had broken and never had any medical attention as a kid, so it looks kinda wonky to me, so i had wanted surgery, but then i decided to get it pierced in a few places, side (gonna do the other side soon too) and septum, and now i love my nose. i think God would be inspired by creativity.

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