Can I commute my private vow?

Hello thanks for looking at this,

5 Years ago I made a private vow to God that if he gave me success in a relationship with my (now) wife that I would give up coffee for life as a sacrifice of thanks. I know it sounds silly… but coffee was (is) a very great material comfort to me and it seemed significant to go without it.

So God held up his end of things. Now I would like to commute this vow into something of equal or better value, since this particular sacrifice is a bit heavy and is beginning to stray into an occasion for sin… since I can get bitter or become tempted to lapse.

So my question is two part: 1) Am I reading correctly that I have the power to commute this vow into something of better good. 2) What recommendations do you have for the better good?

Thank You


Let us look first to canon 1196,1 (emphasis added):

Can. 1196 In addition to the Roman Pontiff, **the following can dispense from private vows **for a just cause provided that a dispensation does not injure a right acquired by others:
1/ the local ordinary and the pastor with regard to all their subjects and even travelers;

I am personally weary of vows that are essentially “deals” with God. God is gracious, merciful, and loving. The idea that we need to do a deal with God to receive His blessings makes me uneasy. However, based on canon 1196, 1 I would suggest that you discuss this matter with your pastor and permit him to either dispense you or help you consider a substitute.

God bless.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit