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Mary Seymour wrote:

Hi, guys —

I would like to thank you for answering my previous question. I do have a question I have asked local priests and religious but have gotten opposing views each time. I was hoping one of you may be able to clarify the answer for me. I have had this question on my mind for sometime.

Please keep in mind that I am now totally consecrated to Mary, as it may make a difference in how you answer.

I know that, we are not "of" this world. I am very modest and conservative, but in the past I have had my ears pierced multiple times — usually after some milestone in my life, although I rarely wear more than a single pair of earrings. For a few years I have thought about getting my nose pierced — with a very tiny stone. I have to admit I do like the look of it — personal preference I suppose. Like I have said, I have asked for guidance as to whether there is anything biblical that would oppose this — I know our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, but I'm unsure what that would include. The answers I have received have been based on personal opinion. I interpret this to mean they are unsure.

I haven't gone ahead with it, but if you have something specific that would help me with my decision, I would appreciate it.

Thank you, and God Bless.

In Jesus and Mary always,

Mary

  { I am totally consecrated to Mary and want to know if this would be acceptable. }

Eric replied:

Hi, Mary —

The Church has no specific teaching on this matter. In general, bodily mutilations are forbidden, but that's open to interpretation.

It seems to me a discreet piercing of the nose can hardly be argued to be worse than a piercing of the ear, which I've never heard anyone oppose. Since, as far as I know, it is reversible, I don't think it would be objectionable.

Eric

Paul replied:

Hi, Mary —

I concur with Eric theologically on this.  There is really no doctrine on the topic specifically, but
I would add a "rule of thumb" type of question that might be helpful:

  • Would you want your own child to get her nose pierced?
  • Why would so many more parents be okay with ears being pierced than the nose?
  • Is it only because, in western culture, ear piercing has been around forever and nose-piercing is relatively new?
  • Or might it also be because there's something sacred about the face, being in "His Image" that it may more directly reflect God than ear lobes or other body parts might?

Just a pondering thought to consider.

Paul

John replied:

While I agree with my colleague for the most part, I disagree with Eric about a small point.

A piercing of the nose is significantly different than piercing an ear. Pierced ears are part of main stream fashion and has been in our Western culture for centuries. Nose piercing, on the other hand has almost always been seen as a counter cultural thing to do. In recent decades, body piercing (including the nose) has been associated with a Goth subculture. This fashion was distinctly meant to be rebellious. It was often accompanied with purple, green, or orange hair.

Over the past few years, nose piercing has become slightly more mainstream and the Goth scene has come and gone. Nevertheless, nose piercing is not considered along the lines of ear piercing.

I've seen company dress codes forbidding nose piercing. I can't say the same for ears.

That said; it's up to you. It's not sinful and it sounds like you just like the look. If you aren't trying to look rebellious or draw attention to yourself, then it shouldn't be an issue.

John

Mary Ann replied:

Mary —

Piercings are done on erogenous zones to adorn then and attract sexual attention. Traditionally, the ears are pierced to hold earrings or other pendants. Nose rings were common in some cultures, and as a sign of servitude (a beast of burden often would have a nose ring).

The Church teaches that according to the 5th commandment, we must respect our bodies and not mutilate them. Excessive piercing falls into the realm of mutilation. There is another reason for piercing. People feel that their body is their project, an object that they inhabit rather than themselves. For that reason, to feel a sense of ownership, power or control when things are going well or badly, they can resort to doing something to the body as an act that expresses control or dominion. Bear in mind that most piercings are permanent, and that they are all hazardous and possible sources of infection. In addition, as a member of an older generation, I can tell you that a tiny stone in the nose strikes anyone over 35 as glittering pimple, and only accentuates the pores and blackheads and creases and other facial idiosyncrasies that you would rather others not notice.

In short, express yourself, and your consecration, through you facial expression and your deeds. Don't mutilate your body permanently in a way that you:

  • will grow tired of
  • will regret later when it goes out of fashion
  • will deter job offers or
  • will offend others.

Do nothing expensive without good reason, as a good steward of worldly goods living a life of evangelical simplicity.

Mary Ann

Eric followed-up:

Well said!

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi, Mary —

All my colleagues have made some great points.

If you are totally consecrated to Our Lady I would ask these questions:

  • How do these piercings honor or manifest my total consecration to Mary as a witness to the world.
  • Do these piercings draw people to a honor and develop a devotion to Mary or do they take away from the consecration you have made to her.
  • WWSALD: What would St. Alphonsus Liguori do? (For those unfamiliar with him, he is the author of the Total Consecration to Mary.)

Mary Ann  replied:
In addition, as a member of an older generation, I can tell you that a tiny stone in the nose strikes anyone over 35 as glittering pimple ...

As a member of that generation, I'd go further.

When I grew up. Girls wore ear rings, boys did not.

That said, you can only imagine what people in my generation think when they see, not only boys wearing ear rings, but grown men wearing ear rings.

It just goes to show the powerful example hi-profile celebrities and professional athletes have, not only on younger people, but all Americans in setting poor cultural standards and trends.

I thank the Lord I belong to a counter-cultural Church! Just my humble opinion.

Mike

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