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Ramon M. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Does the Church prohibit hair transplantation and corrective-eye surgery?

I am 27, and want the eye procedure done to be able to perform my job more efficiently. I work for UPS and have trouble seeing addresses at times. I have recently obtained some prescription lenses but they make my head hurt.

In addition, I have recently experienced slight hair loss in the temple area of my head. This has been due to extreme stress.

  • Is it morally wrong for me to get a hair transplant procedure done?
  • By getting these procedures done, would I be offending God?

I feel I would be because I would be reversing things that God wanted left as they are.

  • On the other side of the coin, wouldn't I be keeping myself — His Living Temple — (Me)
    in top shape and good appearance?

I have had some anxiety about the hair loss, and I've prayed about it, since I know God answers all prayers. You might be the way He answers those prayers.

Thank you very much in advance and God Bless You All.

Ramon M.

  { Does the Church prohibit hair transplantation and corrective-eye surgery? }

Eric replied:

Ramon,

Thanks for your question and your concern about this issue.

There may, in some cases, be a minor sin of vanity involved in hair transplantation but, per se, neither procedure is considered immoral.

Hope that helps!

Eric Ewanco

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Ramon,

Thanks for the good question.

First, you may certainly have both procedures.

You have a duty to care for your eyes, and changing your eyes so that they see properly is not mutilation. That said, be sure that your glasses are correct, first, before you incur the added expense of surgery. I often have prescriptions that are made wrong!

As for the hair, a hair transplant procedure in general could be done for vanity, or be very costly, and therefore not be a good thing to do in those circumstances. However, in your case, the hair loss is in an unusual area, and it could be a matter of embarrassment or humiliation, to which you are certainly not obligated to be subjected. Even regular cosmetic hair transplants are morally permissible, as are other cosmetic surgeries, provided they are necessary for you in your vocation or profession.

For instance, a person who makes a living out of his or her appearance is permitted to invest and maintain the appearance in a way that, for a normal person, would be frivolous.

Or a young person of marriageable age would be permitted to alter a feature that impaired his or her chances of attracting a mate. Now bear in mind that none of these things is intrinsically evil. The only thing that would be evil would be the mutilation of the body in a way that impaired functioning.

All the other procedures, from makeup to tattoos, would come under the rule of virtue and moderation. As cosmetic procedures become more commonplace and less expensive, the moral burden against them shifts from the inordinate expense and vanity to only the vanity.

Eventually, as everyone starts having them, not having them becomes a more and more difficult act of virtue, even to the heroic! Of course, absolute obligations pertain only to negatives
("Do not kill"). There is no absolute obligation to a degree of virtue, such that not attaining it is a serious sin.

One last thing. God planned us to function and be healthy. The forces of nature frequently cause problems, as do the actions of others. These problems are permitted by God so that we have an opportunity to exercise our liberty in a good way. We must take steps to care for ourselves and our health, and to care for others. No one would ever say,

"He was born with a cleft palate, so we should leave him that way because it was God's plan."

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi Ramon,

Since Mary Ann brought up the issue of tattoos and related procedures that go with them, I just wanted to chime in on the one tattoo she overlooked.

Our face : )

I consider it: God's natural tattoo on us for our life.

My brother never did like my tattoo. I guess that's why he always calls me, ugly. : )

Hope this helps!

Mike
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