Catholic Influencers Podcast with Fr. Rob Galea

EP#09- Tattoos and The Church (feat. Phillip Webb)

April 16, 2019 Season 1 Episode 9
Catholic Influencers Podcast with Fr. Rob Galea
EP#09- Tattoos and The Church (feat. Phillip Webb)
Chapters
Catholic Influencers Podcast with Fr. Rob Galea
EP#09- Tattoos and The Church (feat. Phillip Webb)
Apr 16, 2019 Season 1 Episode 9
FRG Ministry
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the Catholic Influencers Podcast Fr. Rob Galea and Danii discuss what the Catholic Church and the bible teach about getting tattoos and some things that should be considered when planning to get a tattoo. 
Fr. Rob interviews Pastor Phillip Webb, a protestant pastor from Sydney.  Ps. Phillip completed a doctorate on Christianity and tattoos and shares his findings on the scriptural foundations and insights from interviews for his study.



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Speaker 1:
0:06
Hey everybody, welcome to the Catholic influence as podcasts compensation to help Catholic influence as like you and me go deeper and further in influencing our world for Jesus.
Speaker 2:
0:24
I'm your host father up Gallia Antonio Koto study fell oven. And we look forward to talking to you today about tattoos and the checks. How has your week been?
Speaker 3:
0:43
I was gonna say so good without even thinking. I think I've had a good week. Oh No, I was sick. You are sick and I never like, I very rarely get sick, so when I do I'm like, mom, I'm sorry, name, but I think it was just a blocked nose. And you thought you thought it was hay fever but it was actually a code and I could have got sick. Oh my God. Glad back to you. How was your week?
Speaker 2:
1:03
My Week is good. Um, I've been working, um, I don't even know what I did the last few days, but over the weekend working in the parish. Interesting that I don't, I haven't traveled for a while, so it feels very strange to me. You in Sydney on Friday. Oh yeah. That is the ages ago. Today's Tuesday. Oh my God. A full four days of no travel. Yeah, exactly. So, but it's been good. It's been good. So today you have an interesting topic and one that, um, a lot of people ask me every week I get an email or a comment or someone asking me about my tattoos and what, why do Christians get tattoos? In fact, I remember just one time being in Indonesia and after a concert is this young woman came up to men. She was full of tattoos and she came up to me crying. She said she does Father Rob. I thought the Catholic Church had a problem with tattoos. In fact, she got tattoos and then was looked at really badly at cats the next time she went to mass. And so she stopped going to mass for a long, long time. But then just saw that, um, that I had to do as a priest. And so she started to think, wait, hold on a minute. Maybe I'll go back to church.
Speaker 3:
2:09
Is it true that the Catholic Church has a problem? Because like Hillsong, they've got like these cool hipster Mizzou's, they've got tattoos, but like not that many Catholic priests have tattoos. From what I understand. Is it like Catholic thing?
Speaker 2:
2:21
Well, on an inside level I think there are a lot of tats Priesta to have tattoos, but they don't necessarily show them from a bat. You see if you look at it, what does the church teach about that tool as well? Ultimately? Nothing. Nothing. I at least not directly that the church doesn't have. In fact a particular teacher teaching on every little thing
Speaker 3:
2:44
and that's it. We'll see you next week. No, there's more to it than that though.
Speaker 2:
2:50
The only time the church teaches us things, particularly when the catechism and the teachings of the church and is if there's something objectively immoral or some you do the right things for the wrong reasons. So that's something that we have immoral motives to, to talk about to, to do something.
Speaker 3:
3:10
Yes. I like the church doesn't have a teaching on tattoos. And even in the catechism, in the Catholic church, like there's no in the index, there's nothing on tattoos. Like you're going to tea and there's nothing but the ease in paragraph three, six Fords that talks about like the temples, the human body being a temple and it says the human body shares in the dignity of the image of God. And then a little bit further down in saint paragraph, it goes on to say, for this reason man or woman may not despise his bodily life. Rather he's obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in on our sins. God has created it and we'll raise it up on the last day.
Speaker 2:
3:44
Hmm. So the buddy is objectively good and we should honor the body in everything we do. In fact, that quality is in the catechism of the Catholic church, but it is quoted from God. You met speced. I'm a a chair, Vatican council to document. So the question that you see that we need to is, is we need to honor our bodies and regard our bodies is good. They are intrinsically good. Okay. So, and whether our bodies look good, look bad, feel good, feel bad, that our bodies are still good because they are created by God and they're created good. So the question when doing things like tattoos or even [inaudible] is not whether this is morally right or morally wrong because we won't have an answer there. But the question we need to ask is, am I honoring my body as a god given good. If I get this Tattoo Aura, I get this PSC. So Eh, we need to understand, understand that we need to honor the body in everything we do. Everything we eat, every PSC, every tattoo, always to honor the God given body that we have.
Speaker 3:
4:48
That's really reassuring to know that it's not like a teaching of the church that just wrong. 10 piercings or tattoos cause I've got both. And I would hate to have to leave the church or remove the tattoos on the BSE, which the Jews. Oh my goodness. Isn't it sad that my first thought was, oh no, I guess no, I would never, no. I never do anything to dishonor the church. Of course. But yeah, at the end, that is a really, yeah, and that's really nice because I know that in his he heal there is, um, I'll read it out now. So it's a Z, he'll chapter 16, this 11. Um, and it's just talking about pcs here. So I adorned you with ornaments. I put bracelets on your arms, a chain on your neck, a ring on your nose, Erin's in your ears and to beautiful crown upon your head. So even like in the Bible here, it's got earrings. So how come? I don't know, I guess how can we know that year ends aren't bad, but then tattoos.
Speaker 2:
5:38
Yeah. When they're mentioned the Bible, it's a little bit more iffy. Yeah. We'll look it according to Ezekiel. This is something, obviously this was written in a cultural setting where piercings were done and often done. Um, and it, we know who through scripture that today is nothing objectively, um, immoral about piercings because this as what you just read it is the groom at dawning the bride with piercings on their nose and on their ears. But just because it's objectively wrong objectively. Okay. Sorry. Not Wrong objectively. Okay too. To have these spaces mean everyone has to get them. And it doesn't mean that we have to get our nose ps and our ESPs. But let's talk about tattoos. Do you see this is different because scripture doesn't have a really positive, um, say about tattoos, but I think also it's so, so important to look at at APP and context. Let's, let's read Leviticus 1928.
Speaker 3:
6:36
So yeah, in Leviticus Chapter 19 Verse 28, it says, you should not make any gasses on your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you. I am the Lord. So like, I feel like that says pretty black, black and white in scripture that I like don't get.
Speaker 2:
6:51
So that's it. It's forbidden. Yeah. So we really could wrap this up in 30 seconds. That's right. Tune in next week. So, well, look, I think we have to put it again in the context of Leviticus. Leviticus is a book written, which is a very much part of the Bible and important part of the Bible. Um, but it is all about ritual. The things that we should do and shouldn't do in approaching God, but also moral purity. But it is, and this is I'm, I'm not saying this just because I, there's something I agree or don't agree with, but it is no longer relevant to Christians. And how do I know that? Because it's written in the acts of the apostles. The council came together and actually said and actually said that these laws no longer hold us. In fact, let's just again in context, can you read the verse before Verse 27 it says this, verse 27 says, you should not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. So what it's saying there, that same verse that says not to have tattoos is the same the first before. He's just saying, don't trim your hair. Don't shave the sides of your head. If I went for a haircut yesterday, so I had disobeyed Leviticus, I'm going to have to stop shaving my beard.
Speaker 2:
8:01
Yes. Well, I don't know if you do have up yet. Please don't stop.
Speaker 3:
8:05
[inaudible] visit may come in on a Monday. I didn't let my beard guy, the Bible told me not to shave my beard. I was just trying to be a good Christian go.
Speaker 2:
8:17
So the activity, yeah. So it's also live in Vegas. I'm in other verses forbids you to eat shellfish and to eat pork
Speaker 3:
8:26
like this 29 years as do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute like hell. That escalated quickly. But how do we know like so you're saying like tattoos don't have to count that one. Cause in acts it says, nope, some of them aren't real. How can we have to like, oh we can ignore number 27 and 28, but also like it's pretty relevant even in the 21st century. Dude, don't make your daughter a prostitute that still stands
Speaker 2:
8:49
well. Some things in is still, I still forbidden for Christians. And for example, the, the um, versus you just, and also they still talk about murder and adultery, but this is because it is objectively immoral. Okay. So there are certain things that are a moral that not necessarily immoral. It's not immoral to cut the sides of your head, your hair. It's not immoral to trim, Trim your beard, but it's not immoral to eat pork. But it is immoral to murder someone. Okay. Cause you're taking away the life of someone else, which we don't have a right to do that, but which one does tattoos fall under? Does it fall on the book or does it fall on the murder? That's a big gap there. Yes and well I think it w w and context again is so important. Okay. So people would, if this was written in a time where Jews used to live among pagans.
Speaker 2:
9:37
Okay. And so the way you knew a Christian or a pagan as someone who was involved in in particular pagan ritual or practice was if they were branded for the God they said. So they were hundreds, possibly thousands of gods, and each person was branded by the God they served. Except for the Jews. The Jews. When branded, they had the long beard and that's how they were identified and allowed to shave it. Yes, that's right. While everyone else shave their beard. So that was the way you would identify who they hadn't had. Their hair wouldn't be trimmed because otherwise they would, they would be identified with other pagan practices. So it's not about the permanence of the mark of the body, it's about being identified and claiming yourself for a particular God. Okay. And it, the thing is Christians still should not participate in pagan ritual, whether they are involved, tattoos or not. But the reality is this is not why people get tattoos. Today, I didn't get a tattoo to label myself for a particular pagan and most p pagan practice. And most of the, at least I haven't actually, I have seen some people, um, w with horrendous tattoos and things that labeled them even the Satanic Damn Tattoos. And that's in a sense, that's where it becomes iffy and wrong. But most of the people I know don't label themselves for a particular God when they get tattoos. So most of them
Speaker 3:
11:03
position then like these days, most Christians isn't scriptural. It's more like that cultural. So like not satanic, not paying in nothing. I, yes, that would mark your body permanently for something other than you know, what you believe in or your faith or something that you would stand by.
Speaker 2:
11:17
Yeah. So look at the AG. Exactly. So the opposition is not a uh, a moral one, but it is a cultural one. And because that was very much our us associated with, with certain beliefs and certain cultural standings. For example, I don't know, I remember when I was growing up, my dad, my dad had a furnishing company and he had factories. He had like these big, big factories that used to employ people, but he would never employ anyone who had a piercing or a tattoo. And he would come up to me and say, Robert, I interviewed someone but they had tattoos so I didn't give them the job. There's something really similar
Speaker 3:
11:54
in the town I grew up in. For anyone that's not Australian listening, I'll explain this word, this word Bogan and redneck redneck red, like a redneck lack. You just, it's not something you aspire to be. And a lot of bogans have an esteem like the southern cross tattooed somewhere. Usually like on a car for, on their upper arm. And it's, it's Kinda like, like branding yourself as a bogan. Like it's just kind of my brother is similar I guess to what you're saying there. Like he'll meet someone you back. Oh yeah, no, they were all right. But that is southern cross tattoo. Yeah. And instantly, you know, you're like, oh, they have a bogan.
Speaker 2:
12:26
Exactly. But that's the way you perceive them as spoken. Not necessarily. They wouldn't see them. So, oh, I'm Bogan,
Speaker 3:
12:31
let me get that. They're probably really proud of it. But again, there's nothing wrong with being a bogan. Okay.
Speaker 2:
12:38
But you see the, I think this is a cultural as well, the way we perceive things. Before it was prisoners, gangsters and people who were maybe considered lower class or untrustworthy were the ones that, that, that would get tattoos. And that's why my dad wouldn't employ them because in his mind, the means need. Someone had that Tattoo. It means they spent time in prison when that wasn't, that was a bias, you know, it was a cultural bias. And in fact of the biggest criticisms I get for my tattoos as a priest is not from Australia or from America or from Europe, but funnily enough, it is from, from Mexico. And because it's, they're still, for example, in Mexico, this strong idea that it is the criminals, the gangsters that, that have these tattoos.
Speaker 3:
13:24
Yeah. And one thing that we learned, so we researched for every podcast. And one thing that I learned with this one, which I found really interesting, is that Christians had actually been tattooing for a really long time. So there is in like a British Museum, there's this mummified remains of a Sudanese woman that actually has a monogram of Saint Michael on her inner thigh, or even in Meti, medieval Europe. They would do religious pilgrimages to Jerusalem. And while they were there, they would get a tattoo to signify that they've completed that pilgrimage. And there's actually a tattoo parlor. Eden, the holy lands that started tattooing in like 1,380 so it's been going for hundreds of years. Um, and then as well, you know, Coptic Christians have a cross on the their wrist to signify that they are Christian. And that was because they needed that to be able to let life be led him to churches. So this traditional tattooing in Christianity isn't something where, I don't know, like I said earlier, Hillsong's just decided that it looks cool with their RM William boots and the skinny jeans. That's an Australian brand. Again, it's a hipster thing. Um, but you know, it's something that Christians have been doing for a really long time
Speaker 2:
14:27
and for the right reasons as well, like the, the, the pilgrimages and also the thing on the wrist is to identify themselves. And also it was the place where Christ wounds, where we often think of Christ wounds on the inside of the arms, but that there's no way the car cross the arm would have had the strength to carry the weight of Jesus there. So it was on actually on the risk. And so it was a, again, a place of, of, of um, Christ's wounds. So it was done for the right reasons. And it's, as you said, it's been done for hundreds of evil if not thousands of years and it's not a recent phenomenon. And you say that word phenomenon and it was a fun fact. I can only say that word if I sing it like the muppets thing, it's a phenomenon so you can fit, I can't say for mom and on.
Speaker 2:
15:12
So it is not a recent phenomenon. It is something that has been happening for ages, for ages and for a reason. Now having said this, we're going to conclude here because we're going to go to an interview very soon and there's an interview with Phil. Phil is a pass, they're Protestant pastor who has done a doctorate, can you believe it? And Christians and tattoos. So he's quite a specialist in that. So we get to interview him and talk to him about this. But before we go on, I just still, one thing that we do need to do is is to be prudent. There's nothing anti Christian about tattoos, but still there are certain things, and I'm gonna just say maybe five things that we need to be careful of when doing a tattoo. Festivals. Safety. Look after your body. Don't take any needless risk to your body, what your health.
Speaker 2:
15:58
Make sure that the standards of the tattoo parlor up to standard and that you're going to be looked after and that there's no reuse needles and so on, so forth, and get medical help if there's any infection or anything that comes out of that. The second thing is consider how others perceive this. If you're going to get piercings or tattoos on your neck or the, and you're going to work with elderly people in the hospital, just consider the reaction. Consider how it might affect people. Not that we need to be controlled by what others think of us, but let's be considerate. The third thing is art. It's make sure it's good art. And I know art is subjective. What is good and what is not, but think of it as, as temple art versus defacing it with graffiti. Okay? Um, and honor your body and don vandalize it to decorate it to don't desecrate it.
Speaker 2:
16:53
The fourth think it thing is and think forever that this is going to last forever. Don't take something that's fashionable for awhile, you know, and like the pineapples, my goodness, those are fashionable for, for uh, for a while and everyone got pineapples and that, that that happened for for a while me but will remain fashionable. But just think twice. Think three times before that happened. Got Pineapple tellers or they just bought the fruit pineapple tattoos that say there was a very big phase and phase, well maybe it's so fashionable. Maybe it still will be in 40 years. Damn. I don't know. As cool tattoo. My keyboardist, he got a pair of socks tattooed onto his until his feet. That's a small pair of socks. That's really cool. No, no, that tiny on his ankle biters was cool anyway, so if when you think it is forever, just think for example, if you print three or four tee shirts and wear that same shirt with the design of your tattoo where that same t shirt for six months.
Speaker 2:
17:53
See if you get sick of the design, obviously watched those tee shirts in between because you will seriously get sick of those, that design. So we'll society and the rest of everyone there, 80 or whatever. And then the fifth thing is, is your motives is your motive for vanity or because you don't feel good about a particular part of your body. So you want to cover that or that you think that the data is going to make you happy. Just watch your motives, do it for the right reasons. So if you get a tattoo, get something that will inspire you and remind you of what is most important in your lives. And the greatest importance is that we honor God and we remember that God is the center of everything and this draws us closer to God. So now we're going to go into the interview that father up has had with pastor Phil where the, it's a really interesting, I listened to it already because I'm sneaky and I have that private access, but it was really like interesting and I couldn't stop listening. So we're going to go into that now that his research on the scriptural foundation to if Christians like are or are not allowed to get tenants and what they should consider if they do.
Speaker 2:
19:07
So we're here in Catholic influence, a podcast. I'm here in the studio and Bill Pastor Phil Webb who is an ordained minister in the AA CC church. Um, and is it the head pastor, senior pastor in a bilingual church in south Sydney. And um, it's just a privilege to be able to talk to him, to interview him today about Christians and tattoos. You see because this is quite sometimes seen as something to Bu Pastor Phil actually studied Pentecostalism, Pentecostals and Tattoo. So it's such a privilege fill to to have you and to, and to listen to your, your mind and your heart about the subject.
Speaker 4:
19:48
I'm really glad to be here.
Speaker 2:
20:00
Yeah. Cause there are young people full of tattoos,
Speaker 4:
20:13
particularly more and more people and getting them more.
Speaker 2:
20:30
Yeah.
Speaker 4:
20:39
Yeah. Every person had a unique answer, but as I got to take them, pay their answers to each other, I found it was three things that set everyone was starting to site and the first one was simply that, number one, we liked them hatcheries as an art form and so obviously if I didn't watch them, they wouldn't get them. Number two was really Christian and that was that night three, they attacks who as a form of worship. Yeah. Which was I thought was interesting and specifically three different ways. That's the attach we served and worth it. Uh, the first one, it was a real cold for them to price. Some of them will find it a pattern when it we're United, we say ham to wish it, praise God and often cashier who's had some imagery or some word that we've been, to tie you specific words,
Speaker 2:
21:41
you worked as a youth pastor. Then I gave the example of when you were talking about this, about someone who had tattooed, maybe the Holy Spirit's, I think it was at the bottom of their foot. Sometimes I like I, I have tattoos but sometime let's put it in this way. Let's say I wear socks and different socks every week and sometimes I have these religious socks, you know, like socks of of a saint or sox of the Holy Spirit and people get so offended that I'm wearing something some sacred on my feet. So why would someone do something like that? Put an image of the Holy Spirit on the bottom of their foot
Speaker 4:
22:37
as a symbol of the Holy Spirit every morning today I want to walk with Jesus.
Speaker 2:
22:55
That's right. Permanent thing for example, like wearing socks of the holy spirit. Why? Why do you think people wanted something so once something so permanent
Speaker 4:
23:16
as well as people who are not Christian today. A lot of people, both Christian and non Christian life and we really don't have a lot of control over myself and my body. And I think putting a mark on your body statement of who I am because what I believe, this is what I stand for.
Speaker 2:
23:51
This is reminding me. I get someone to quoting as you have. I know with assisted started living 19 mark, your buddies did not take two. We have what is, how does that fit in? It's like this is exactly what the Bible seems to be telling us not to do.
Speaker 4:
24:35
Would it be different from them the various immediately before that fraud of your head. While we're happy to cut out one verse, we take another verse, the very next verse and actually Miss Apply it. Even talking about contemporary, that's a completely different idea.
Speaker 2:
25:00
Yeah. But when it comes to contemporary tattooing for example, another thing I've heard is like a tattoo shops, you know, some of them, I've even had people saying that these tattoo shops are demonic. You know, when, when choosing a two, two, two, two fold question is what are the things um, Christian needs to consider should consider before getting a tattoo. And the second thing is should they go to a Christian Tattoo artist?
Speaker 4:
25:29
Because when I did my research, I actually went into my research a little bit. I'm sure that what I would find someone and to the point that I've actually gone and got one tattoo and actually in the process of planning my second one. So the questions that I think need to be considered various, you know, what is it that it was done by a Christian person or is it that it's received by someone who is a Christian person? I think if someone is actively involved in certain behaviors that I wouldn't agree with it. I would probably be clear of that regardless of whether it was tattooing or anything else. I don't think that Cathy would enable more. What does it represent that has the potential, positive or negative
Speaker 2:
26:26
even I've had and I don't know how to pray over the ink and things like that. How does one stay safe?
Speaker 4:
26:43
Paul's approach to that one to apply this thinking to food, don't ask questions. I'm a Christian and I've got the holy ghost living with thought of me. He's more powerful than any demon and so I don't need to be worried. When I got into the marketplace, has this food been offered to an auto or not? I mean, if we did that, we probably wouldn't eat in most Chinese restaurant. They have a little Buddha.
Speaker 2:
27:08
I think one of the things, the reasons I got my right arm, which says forgiven and it starts off with your first point and it's always reminded me of God's mercy of the maintenance. You know, I've gone, every time I look at it and I'm feeling upset or whatever, I just remember it. It's a permanent reminder to me of God's mercy. And you know, there hasn't been one day, one moment that I've regretted that tattoo. No, the other tattoos I have, but um, but particularly this one because it just reminds me so much of God's messy and it's permanently there.
Speaker 4:
27:57
Yeah.
Speaker 2:
28:09
Yes.
Speaker 4:
28:13
Oh, I didn't see, I didn't get my tattoo Christian. I had wonderful conversation. I was able to, what a beautiful opportunity to sit with these guys, a captive audience for three hours. He gets to do the work knowing that he's actually doing something that I've God's glory. And so even that was a wonderful opportunity. Somebody
Speaker 2:
28:48
yes. As we finish off advice, would you give to someone who has been thinking about getting a tattoo?
Speaker 4:
29:02
Number one, what am I showing to the world? What are people going to think about? That is a bad thing. Everybody in Australia, I'm not eight not everybody, but it's the very broad, what is that? How's it going to be? How's it going to be understood in the future from paypal?
Speaker 2:
29:38
Yeah, so important to consider. Yeah. I don't know if there's anything else you'd like to conclude with something you'd like to leave us with when it comes to your research and and what you found out.
Speaker 4:
29:51
Yeah. Look, one pass that they'd came to mind, someone had criticized him. He's got many tattoos on many parts of the body. He said that people were telling him, how could you defile the temple of the Holy Spirit? And his response to them was actually, if my body is really the temple of God, I want to make it look as beautiful for him and he'd be 60 they're all beautiful things of salvation and the cross and I'm crying and the Holy Spirit, things that are really core and central to who he needs is a Christian. Well, I had another enough pasta that I spoke to. He actually likes me before he was saying he came from a bit of a rough background and he actually had some inappropriate language, weeks, body. And once he became a Christian we actually pass over that. And so for him, yes he regrets that first pass through that he got, but he will look at that cross and it's a reminder to him that the blood of Jesus Christ, the Cross of Christ covers all of these costs. That is such a powerful,
Speaker 2:
30:59
that's beautiful. And the, at the end of the day it's us. So we need to be fighting for our bodies are important. And I'm a big advocate for looking after our bodies. It was my training and we went to clean eating and all of that, but at the end of the day it should never come and we should use every part of our body to help us to help us. Souls reached the Jesus reach to, to the cross. So Phil, I really thank you so much for your, your time. I thank you so much for taking this interview and I've found this really interesting. There's a lot I am going to go and, and take, take home with me. And so once again, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for your research. Thank you. And then we're going to be praying for you as well. Now you actually studying and you're going to do a doctorate on the Pentecostals and sacramentalism and the Eucharist and things like that. So as, as Catholics also we'll be praying for you that you will, um, the, yeah, this will be a beautiful insight for you and for your congregation to
Speaker 4:
31:58
thank you, rob. I really appreciate the opportunity. I personally found this research fascinating and a really insightful in my research. I did look at a lot of literature from Catholic sources and eastern Orthodox sources. To me, calories was turned into a beautiful place of overlap between different expressions of Christian, and so I really appreciate this change to my week, which we do today.
Speaker 2:
32:21
Once again, thank you and please know that we'll be praying for you.
Speaker 4:
32:25
Thank you, Ryan. I appreciate it.
Speaker 5:
32:26
Sounds Nice.
Speaker 3:
32:33
Thank you so much for listening to the Catholic influences, podcasts that I, it's been a joy to have you with us. Remember to get in touch at FIP St Com, forward slash podcast or any of that. Social media is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with FIIG ministry. See you next week.
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