I see that the pope recently made a comment about tattoos. Today, I was listening to an independent French reporter talk about Syria and the Christians suffering generally in the middle east. She was asked to share what she thinks is the symbol of freedom "par excellence". Her answer? The tattoo of the Cross that many Christians in the middle east are getting on their wrists. Given that the pope has just talked about this subject, I decided to look into it since I didn't know much about the custom. It seems that many Christians in Syria are getting the cross tattooed on their wrists willingly while they are living in areas that are still free. And this reporter, who has been there often, knows the people and said that she finds the act very beautiful and a symbol of freedom because they do this while they are free and not afraid, as a way of ensuring that they won't recant their love for Christ and the Church if ever they are captured. So for her, the act carries quite a big meaning and consequence for these people and is not something done lightly in that area. So I searched to know more and found many articles in French about tattooing, which it seems is a practice that goes back centuries for Christian in the middle east. This family-run tattoo parlor in Jerusalem is in its third generation and explains the art goes back 700 centuries. I also came across this article on an Orthodox blog, which gives the history of tattoos, and its parallels with mortification if done in the right spirit. The Church's position is given too. In this blog, the author mentions that the word "branded" in the Septuagint was changed to "bear" in the King James Bible. What a pity when translators change words! Branding back then could also have been referencing the tattoos forced onto Christians by Roman law, which evolved into acts that Christians do willingly today to proclaim their belonging to Christ. I also note that the Lord uses the word "branded" in the TLIG messages, with respect to the sign on the soul or the forehead. Funny enough, Vassula uses the word too in this message here - where it seems to me that it's an inspired use, because the Lord then uses the same word and there is a footnote about what it means. Anyway, just sharing this because I think that the Holy Father is inspired by the Holy Spirit and his words about tattoos will be meaningful to many inside and outside of the Church. Wishing everyone a blessed Holy Week.