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