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Here's something I've never given much thought..

Is plastic surgery, not for recontstructive reasons, a sin?  Like, getting a facelift?  Getting calf implants?  Breast implants? 

In my NFP class we watched a video with a priest talking and he said sterilization is wrong for several reasons, and one is because it's a sin to alter perfectly functioning body parts.  Wouldn't that mean cosmetic surgery is a sin? 

I know I'm taking his statement out of context, but when I heard that statement I was like, "wait what?"  Obviously altering a working body part to make it NOT work is different than altering a body part to make it more attractive.  I'm just wondering if the Church has a stance on cosmetic surgery? 


Re: Here's something I've never given much thought..

  • Honestly, I've never given it that much though either.

    I had cosmetic surgery a few years ago because I had a large bump under my right eye, the resutl of being a younger sister ;)

    I think that could be stretching the sin of vanity a bit far though   I'll have to ask my pastor tomorrow if I catch him

  • btw, I PMed you
  • monkeysipmonkeysip member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 2012
    It's definitely a gray area.

    I mean, some could argue that even a lot of reconstructive surgery is vanity because you're trying to look better (I'm not arguing that... just saying).

    I think if something is really affecting your life and confidence, it may be okay to deal with that through cosmetic surgery.  Like I knew a woman with one boob tremendously bigger than the other.  So she had to get breast implants for both (you can't just do one).

    Some women may have noses that cause serious confidence issues, so they get a nose job. 

    I don't know, it's probably just an individual situation.  I think God wants us to feel good in our bodies, and to an extent, cosmetic surgery may just be an extreme form of other ways we care for our appearance (wearing make-up, dyeing our hair, etc.). 

    But there's a lot of things to consider.  Should we be spending such a large amount of money?  Should we be taking medical risks (surgery can be dangerous)?  Are we feeding into a stereotypical model image of the "perfect woman"?  Things each individual should think about and maybe talk to their pastor about before making a decision.

  • I  agree with monkeysip's attitude. In Judaism, self-consciousness/lack of confidence in a body part, is considered a medical condition that might be treated with surgery. Also, though men should grow beards, not when it affects their ability to earn a living, which some rabbis interpret to mean if it's just not the norm in your profession.

    St. Thomas Aquinas says that women can adorn themselves to please their husbands. I've heard the principle expanded to include anyone who would legitimately delight in her beauty.
  • Yeah, I think you need to consider a few things. This logic might lead one to believe that orthodontia is sinful, because most of the time, it's cosmetic. But that seems silly. So what's the difference? I think it comes down to motive. To me, cosmetic surgery doesn't seem intrinsically wrong. It's just that sometimes, it is an expensive attempt for some women to fix a different problem. Some (not all) women try to change their natural bodies to gain a sense of worth, as if being skinny or big breasted or young looking will make them a more worthwhile human being, or more worthy of others' love. It can be the same problem some girls with eating disorders face. The sinfulness, I guess, is in neglecting your God-given dignity by objectifying yourself, and also in putting faith in something that is worldly and passing. Of course, this isn't the motive of all women getting cosmetic surgery, so I don't think you can make a blanket statement about it. I would get my boobs evened out too, for sure!
  • i would think it might be.

    you usually get cosmetic surgery for vanity, right?  does vanity stem from pride?  pride is one of the 7 capital sins so that's why it might be.

    i was also always taught that anything that permanently mars or alters your body was wrong - a good example being tattoos. 

    i remember it killed my mother to even let me get my ears pierced - it took years before she finally allowed it and that was because the holes can close up over time so its not as permanent, as, say, a tattoo,
  • I guess in some cases it is vanity, but there's got to be a line somewhere.  SIL had breast reduction surgery because she was having back spasms.  If I broke my nose and ended up with any kind of misshapen knob, I think I'd want to fix that.  And while I take issue with the smorgasboard of weight-loss surgeries out there, I understand that sometimes a person needs that treatment to save his/her life.

    Obviously there are elective surgeries that are completely unnecessary and vain (and getting horribly abused -- hello fix-a-flat butt injections), but I think the bigger problem there is with confidence.  I'm happy to see advertisements telling young girls they don't have to look like a VS model to be considered attractive.



  • Good thoughts, ladies! 


  • I would imagine, like others have said in different terms, that it is a matter of proportional good--the proportion of good to be acheived by the surgery vs. the health risks, use of resources, risk of vanity/pride, etc. To me a breast reduction for back pain or fixing something that truly causes you to stand out is a different matter than, for example, a facelift because you don't like having wrinkles.
    Our little saint, 12/18/2010-12/28/2010

  • MedStudent13MedStudent13 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited March 2012
    I've actually often thought about a similar issue when I was reading up on NFP with reguards to weight loss. Central to the Church's teachings on sex is that it has two purposes: unitive and procreative. Contraception is wrong because it takes away the procreative aspect of sex, meanwhile assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro, are wrong because they take away the unitive aspect of sex. But is weight loss so different? Eating is both nutritive and pleasurable. When you decide to drop a few pounds for your wedding and instead of initiating a healthy exercise routine and a healthy diet and instead of cutting soda do nothing but switch to diet coke instead of regular, you are essentially depriving yourself of the calories in order to keep experiencing the pleasure of drinking the soda. Likewise I'm sure some people have attempted so called 'cleansing diets' where they take nothing but vitamins and water, therefore depriving themselves of the pleasing nature of taking in food while still taking in the essential nutrients. Am I overthinking this here?
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