During a recent meeting Pope Francis had with a group of young people at the Vatican, the pontiff was asked a question about tattoos.

A young seminarian asked him how the pastors of the Church should respond to the fact that tattoos are so widespread and “that for some it is beautiful,” while others think it is something “difficult to understand.”

This was the response of the Pope:

Do not be scared of tattoos. The Eritreans for years made the cross here (on the forehead ).  Also today we see them. The cross was tattooed. Yes, they are exaggerations, but today I see some.

“I think those who have a strong measure of tattoos can not donate blood, things like that… because there is danger of poisoning. There can be a problem of exaggeration, but not of the tattoos themselves.”

Then the successor of St. Peter was encouraged to ask a question to young people who use tattoos:

Tattoos often signify membership in a community. You, young man, that you’re tattooed like that, what are you looking for? In this tattoo, which community membership are you expressing?”

Finally, the Pope encouraged the priests to dialogue in this way with young people and connect with them in their culture.

It’s important not to be scared. With young people one should never be scared! Never! Because always, even behind the things that are not so good, there is something that will bring us to some truth,” including his sanctity.

What do you think of tattoos? Let us know in the comments!

[See also: Can Catholics Get Tattoos? The Answer May Surprise You]

[See also: So Apparently People Have Been Getting Pope Francis Tattoos]

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