Promises and vows
In many circumstances, the Christian is called to make
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.
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,”
A vow is an act of
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.
The Church recognizes an exemplary value in the vows to
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.
The Church can, in certain cases and for proportionate reasons,
dispense from vows and promises.
The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom
“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.”
This duty derives from “the very
dignity of the human person.”
It does not contradict a “sincere
respect” for different religions which frequently “reflect a ray of
that truth which enlightens all men,”
nor the requirement of
charity, which urges Christians “to treat with love, prudence and
21 CIC, can. 1191 § 1.
23 Cf. CIC, can. 654.
42 § 2.
25 Cf. CIC, cann. 692; 1196-1197.
1 § 2.
2 § 1.
2 § 2.