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510

Part Three

Promises and vows

2101

In many circumstances, the Christian is called to make

promises

to God. Baptism and Confirmation, Matrimony and Holy

Orders always entail promises. Out of personal devotion, the

Christian may also promise to God this action, that prayer, this

alms-giving, that pilgrimage, and so forth. Fidelity to promises

made to God is a sign of the respect owed to the divine majesty and

of love for a faithful God.

2102

“A

vow

is a deliberate and free promise made to God

concerning a possible and better good which must be fulfilled by

reason of the virtue of religion,”

21

A vow is an act of

devotion

in

which the Christian dedicates himself to God or promises him

some good work. By fulfilling his vows he renders to God what has

been promised and consecrated to Him. The

Acts of the Apostles

shows us St. Paul concerned to fulfill the vows he had made.

22

2103

The Church recognizes an exemplary value in the vows to

practice the

evangelical counsels:

23

Mother Church rejoices that she has within herself many

men and women who pursue the Savior’s self-emptying

more closely and show it forth more clearly, by undertaking

poverty with the freedom of the children of God, and re­

nouncing their own will: they submit themselves to man for

the sake of God, thus going beyond what is of precept in the

matter of perfection, so as to conform themselves more fully

to the obedient Christ.

24

The Church can, in certain cases and for proportionate reasons,

dispense from vows and promises.

25

The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom

2104

“All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what

concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it

as they come to know it.”

26

This duty derives from “the very

dignity of the human person.”

27

It does not contradict a “sincere

respect” for different religions which frequently “reflect a ray of

that truth which enlightens all men,”

28

nor the requirement of

charity, which urges Christians “to treat with love, prudence and

21 CIC, can. 1191 § 1.

22 Cf.

Acts

18:18; 21:23-24.

23 Cf. CIC, can. 654.

24

LG

42 § 2.

25 Cf. CIC, cann. 692; 1196-1197.

26

DH

1 § 2.

27

DH

2 § 1.

28

NA

2 § 2.

1237

1064

1973

914

2467

851