Are resolutions binding?


A very quick question about resolutions, if you don’t mind. I hope the information here can be helpful to anyone else who might be worrying in the future.

The question is: Are resolutions binding? For example, if someone resolves to say the Rosary once a week, can he simply stop based on his own arbitrary whim? Or is he bound to his resolution?

Common sense tells me “no,” but sometimes Catholic theology is not so straightforward. (No offense, I love my Church, but it’s true! ;))

For example, also, when we say, “I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace,” is that binding? (This situation is even more sticky since it’s in the context of a prayer. Could it be a promissory oath?)

What are your thoughts, guys?


I answer, take it with the same seriousness (or more) that you do in signing for a mortgage on your house - are you going to pay the monthly payments? or not? and are you going to enjoy the street life when you don’t pay?

“I firmly resolve, with the help of your Grace, to no longer miss the mark…” - who are you talking to in that? Are you addressing a real person, or just repeating words to appease a Priest’s ears so he will give you a pass?

A resolution is as binding as your integrity. We will know you by your fruits.


Thank you for your response, but I think you’ve missed the point. This isn’t about taking something seriously. It’s about *how *seriously should one take it.

Using your example of a mortgage, sure, one should take that seriously. However, if one entered into a binding contract with God concerning the mortgage, I daresay he should take it even more seriously. Hence, my question: Is a resolution tantamount to a binding contract with God, as is the case in a vow or oath?

The same could be asked for the act of contrition. When we “resolve to sin no more,” does that resolution equate to a binding agreement such that, when we sin again, we are guilty of an additional sin of breaking a contract with God?

Let’s face it people blow things off all the time—and sometimes for poor reasons. If someone blows off her resolution for some poor reason, how serious is that decision? Well, I don’t know—hence, why I want to know whether resolutions are binding. So while your comments about serious are not totally unwarranted, they fail to answer my question.

Are resolutions binding?


You have asked several questions about vows, commitments, intentions, whether or not confessions are valid, and now “resolutions”.

This all added up has the air of scruples about it-- please talk to your pastor and get spiritual counsel here.

You should discuss with him why you feel the need to make vows, resolutions, oaths, etc. And whether these are some sort of compulsive behavior, etc.


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