Jump to content

private vows question

Recommended Posts

Thank you for responding so quickly.  Yes,God is what matters!  Just for clarification (I’m not sure if there was misunderstanding.  It’s hard to talk clearly in such a short space.). When I said “recognition” I wasn’t referring to an individual being “recognized” as if acknowledged for an accomplishment. I was trying to reference the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in “recognizing” certain paths as being true or valid ways to seek a path of life.  Some communities are “recognized”, others are not.  It’s not that the latter are necessarily “bad”.   But in Her Wisdom the Church has recognized certain paths as being more stable and sure of being valid expressions of gospel living. That’s the “recognition” I was talking about.

I sure wish people would do what they are called to do.  I know sin can get in the way of that sometimes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 63
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • BarbaraTherese


  • MarysLittleFlower


  • AccountDeleted


  • OneHeart


Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Catholic Culture Modern Catholic Dictionary Mysticism "Christian mysticism differs essentially from the non-Christian mysticism of the Oriental world. It always recognizes that the reality to whic

If you make private viows then you simply carry on your life according to them for as long as you're bound and or discern otherwise. If you have an SD and priest to discuss and relate to then great. I

I think the reason why private vows aren't related to hermits very often here is because a vocation to be a canonical hermit involves a lot more than just "making vows outside a community" (just as a

22 hours ago, OneHeart said:

Thank you for reinvigorating this thread. I've read most of it. I've been discerning vows for a number of years, with fits and starts. What has been said here is helpful.  Just wondering..... much in this thread is a sort of comparison between religious life and private vows - the differences mostly.  Why isn't the vocation to private vows discussed relative to the hermits instead? It seems that there is a commonality between private vows::hermits in that both are outside community.  To compare vows in community (religious, secular societies, etc) vs vows in solitude (private vows and hermits)?  My thinking would be that private vows are more akin to the hermits, but that doesn't seem to have been discussed.  Can someone discuss this? 

I think the reason why private vows aren't related to hermits very often here is because a vocation to be a canonical hermit involves a lot more than just "making vows outside a community" (just as a call to consecrated virginity does, actually). A call to be a hermit is a very distinctive call to a life entirely devoted to contemplative prayer in solitude--it's not specifically a call to simply "not be a part of a community." 

21 hours ago, OneHeart said:

But drilling down on that is this question:  why are the vows of a hermit considered "public", while "private vows" are not?  Why is the one "acknowledged" by the Church and the other is not? 

The big difference between public vows and private vows are that public vows are formally received in the name of the Church by a legitimate authority. For religious, this is the appropriate religious superior; for canonical hermits, this is the local diocesan bishop. 

Of course, someone could decide on their own initiative to live a hermit lifestyle and make a private vow to do so, and there's nothing in canon law to prevent this. But to be officially recognized as a hermit in canon law, the hermit would make a public vow in the hands of the local bishop (even if this public vows is lived out mostly apart from the public eye.)

21 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

I have no idea--I'm not a canonist. But I don't understand why it matters. I'm not particularly interested in the formalities. People do what they are called to do. Who cares about "recognition"? God is what matters.

The "recognition" part of a public vow isn't meant to be recognition in the sense of: "Ooooh, everyone can see and tell me how wonderful and holy I am!" It's more like the recognition formally acknowledges and/or creates a specifically relationship between the one making the public vow (or other commitment) and the ecclesial Christian community. 

A person who makes a public vow becomes a public person, meaning the Church as a whole has the right to expect certain things from them, flowing from what may have started as a very personal call from God. E.g., religious and other publicly consecrated persons have an obligation to bear a certain kind of evangelical witness, to be a pastorally "available" presence, etc.

In contrast, for a person who is called to a purely private commitment, their vows are between them and God. Among other things, they don't have the same kind of obligations to the community and are entitled to more privacy in how they live out their vowed commitment. 

Of course, ultimately it depends on how an individual is called. But the distinction between private vows and public ones is still meaningful.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Vatican II was very clear in its language that the human portion of an act of making vows is always a dedication. The divine part of the act mediated by the Church is a consecration. In other words, despite much popular (mis)usage of the term "consecrate" (as in consecrating oneself), when we are speaking of vows the human being dedicates, while God consecrates. This is true in a perpetual profession (an act which initiates one into the consecrated state of life) or of avowal with private vows (we don't use the term "profession" of these because there is no change of state of life). In either case (private vows or public profession) the dedication one makes is a specification of one's baptismal consecration.

Every person, in whatever state of life they live, is called to some form of the Evangelical Counsels and can specify their baptismal consecration in this way or that as they feel called by God to do. What remains true, however, is that lay persons are not called to religious obedience as it require others who are capable and are similarly called to serve in the ministry of authority on this person's behalf. Neither are they called to religious poverty which is mainly a communal commitment, made for the sake of community life and witness. (Canonical Hermits also make vows of religious poverty, though the accent here is on witness value. Such hermits live as do most religious but are responsible for their own upkeep and expenses. In my mind this makes the vow harder to explain or describe except in terms of witness.)

In (public) perpetual profession there is both dedication by the one making profession and consecration by God. These are two related but separate acts in the single larger event called "profession". (We may also call the whole event consecration rather than dedication because there is a change in state of life with God as a central actor in this ecclesially mediated event.) In private vows where there is no ecclesially mediated consecration of the person by God, and where there is no change in the person's state of life, we call the event as a whole "dedication" or avowal because the main action we are describing is that of the human being's dedication to God through private vows. The change in state of life, by the way, involves additional relationships, rights and obligations which do not apply to the lay or baptismal state. The vows one makes in a public profession obligates one publicly  and canonically (legally) to honor such rights, obligations, and relationships and one's consecration by God assures one of the vocation and the graces needed for this state of life. This distinguishes public profession from private avowal.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

It costs about $850 a year for Phatmass.com to survive–and we barely make it. If you’d like to help keep the Phorum alive, please consider a monthly gift.

  • Create New...