broken promises

Hello everyone!
Not sure if this is in the right forum, but I just would like everyone’s opinion. Is it wron to make promises to God. If someone does make a promise to God, and breaks it, is that wrong as well?

I try to not make promises to God. I only pray that He gives me the strength to do His will. It isn’t easy, but He never said it would be.


There are a lot of people who make private promises to God. Look up any of the confraternities, and you will find a list of them, all those people have made promises to God concerning their particular choice.

As for a sin when you fail to meet the obligations - no. Failing to do something in the ‘rules’ is not a sin. However - that doesn’t excuse not trying to fulfill whatever rule it is you’ve adopted.

We all make promises to God - everytime we leave the confessional, everytime we celebrate Mass. Do we always manage to do it? No. But we keep trying.

We’ll never overcome if we don’t make a firm resolution to do something that we either feel we ‘should’ do - or know we must do.

God, like any good Father, is patient with us, knowing our limitations, and knowing our frailty. Just keep plugging along. :slight_smile:



I make promises to God all the time. I say that I promise to try.

God knows your heart and that’s what is important. If He knows that in your heart of hearts you really want to fulfill whatever promise you made to him, than, when you break that promise, He knows why. Sometimes we make promises based on what the people around us are doing. It may not be the will of God that you do what everyone else is doing.

God knows you better than you know yourself. God made you the way you are so that you would be unique. He knows your weaknesses and your strengths. His expectations for you are unique to yourself.

Sit in silence and ask God what His will is for you. Let him take control of your life and amazing things can happen.

Members of religious orders, religious congregations, secular institutes and secular orders make promises or vows. Their superior accepts them in the name of the Church. The superior also promises the person eternal life if he or she fulfills these promises or vows and does so in the name of the Church.

Some people make private vows before a priest. Others may private vows with the permission of their spiritual director or their confessor. While others make private promises on their own.

In the Church there is a long tradition of making promises and vows. In the psalms there is a verse that says “My vows to the Lord I will fulfill in the presence of all his people.” I can’t recall which psalm it is.

Making promises and vows dates back to the OT. It has always been a part of our covenant relationship with God. Our promises to God usually place emphasis on a particular aspect of the covenant.

As to sin, that depends on the type of promise that one makes. Canon Law is very clear that there are different types of promises, from things that we promise to do to how we promise to live. Then there are grades of promises, from simple promises like promising to say the rosary daily to solemn vows made only by a select group of religious, not all religious make solemn vows.

Then there are the two solemn promises that secular priests make: obedience to their bishop and celibacy. They are not solemn vows as are the vows made by Franciscans, Benedictines, Jesuits, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Augustinians. But they are public and morally binding.

When is the breach of a promise a sin and when is it not? The breach is a violation if the thing that we promised is morally binding.

For example, a person who promises to be chaste sins against chastity, there is an objective sin. Chastity is morally binding. Praying the rosay every day is not morally binding. Obedience to one’s legitimate superiors (secular or in the Church) is morally binding. Obdience to a direct order to commit sin is not morally binding. There is no sin if one disobeys.

There is one more interesting situation. That is celibacy. Celibacy is not morally binding. Chastity is. However, in the case of a secular priest, it becomes morally binding because it is a discipline of the Church that Western secular priests promise to be celibate. If the discipline were abrogated for Western priests, then celibacy would not be morally binding for secular priests.

The promise of celibacy made by secular priests does not apply to men and women in religious life. They promise celibate chastity, which is different. In their case, this cannot be abrogated by the Church, because celibate chastity is what binds religious to their community as one is bound to a spouse.

The promises of marriage are also solemn vows. They are always morally binding and cannot be abrogated by the Church or dispensed with.

Yes, we can make promises. There are many kinds of promises and degrees of promises. Breaking a promise where morality enters the picture, is a sin. One should never make a promise lightly and be responsible to fulfill them. One should always assume that the promise is binding until told differently by one’s confessor or other legitimate voice of authority in the Church.

If one cannot fulfill a promise or a vow, one can ask the confessor or other legitimate authority to dispense one from the promise, suspend the promise until it can be fulfilled, or commute the promise to do something else in its place.

I hope this helps.


JR :slight_smile:

It is Psalm 116:

vs 14: I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.

Here’s what it says in my reference books (which might provide a bit more clarification):

A vow is a voluntary promise made to God, and is the most solemn promise that can be made.

For a vow to be binding:

A vow must be a firm promise.
It must be done in public.
It must be deliberately done after serious thought, and freely done with no exterior pressure.
It must be made to God.
It must promise a good action.
It must be possible.
It must be better than the situation that would result if the vow were not fulfilled.

As an act of personal devotion to God, a private vow may be made. A confessor must be consulted before making this type of commitment.

I would like to correct PraRFLEsEkHm that it is a sin to not fulfill a promise to God.:):):thumbsup:

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