Hundreds of Catholics in Austria showed up last weekend to get free tattoos, in an event organized by a group of monks and priests in the country, AFP reports.
In the past, people who tattooed their bodies were seen as disobedient to God, but a priest told AFP that the concept must be changed if the church wants to serve all people.
"It is important for the church to look at how people show their piety, including in their bodies," said Christopher Paul Campbell, director of Quo Vadis.
The number of people leaving the Catholic Church in Austria has been on the rise and reached a record of about 91,000 people last year, according to the newspaper.
Quo Vadis said hundreds of worshipers were eager to attend the first such tattoo session near Vienna's cathedral of St. Stephen's Cathedral on Saturday.
In the end, several available positions were divided into lotteries. On the eve of the session, the German tattoo artist, his needles, and everyone who wanted to get tattooed were blessed in a mass.
Worshipers could choose from a list of intricate Christian motifs, including crosses and fish.
But not everyone was happy with the plan, with organizers saying they received hate mail.
Some people believe that body art might be satanic.