Is breaking a promise to God a mortal sin?


#1

Hello everyone,

I remember that a while ago I promised God to fast from junk food as penance for my sins. I don’t remember, but I might have promised Him that I wouldn’t eat junk food ever in my life. I feel really bad about this now, because while I promised to fast I don’t know if I promised forever. I really want to be able to eat junk food on occasion, but I’m afraid of mortally sinning if I do.

Does the Catholic Church teach about situations like this one?

Thanks :slight_smile:


#2

In your case, no it would not be a mortal sin for you to eat junk food and break your fast. Also, God knows your intent, and if it was not your intent to not eat junk food forever, God will not hold you to that.

For a sin to be mortal, it has to have three criteria: that it is grave in nature, that the offender has full knowledge of the sin, and that the offender deliberately consents to the sin. In your case, it sounds as if the first two criteria are not met. But at the very least, it’s definitely not a grave sin, so it cannot be mortal. Even if it’s a venial sin, it’s not going to cause spiritual death. If you are afraid that your relationship with God may become injured because of this, express your love to him in another way. Say a rosary, or read all the way through one of the smaller New Testament books, or a Gospel chapter to sort of trade back to God, if that will make you feel better about indulging.

Remember God’s message throughout the Sacred Scriptures: He desires a contrite heart over sacrifice any day.


#3

I did almost the same thing. I made a vow to God to quit smoking if he only give me a child. Well I got the child, after I made the 9-day novena to the infant of prague. Some time after that child was born, I began to smoke again. I was fairly new catholic and did not realize the seriousness of my vow. Or is it just a promice? Anyway, would it be a sin to continue smoking?


#4

Also, promises to God should generally be made under the guidance of a priest or spiritual advisor.

Scott


#5

[quote=jillisamarie]I did almost the same thing. I made a vow to God to quit smoking if he only give me a child. Well I got the child, after I made the 9-day novena to the infant of prague. Some time after that child was born, I began to smoke again. I was fairly new catholic and did not realize the seriousness of my vow. Or is it just a promice? Anyway, would it be a sin to continue smoking?
[/quote]

Breaking a promise and occasionally eat junk food and breaking a promise and returning to an addictive, self-destructive habit are two different things. The gravity is quite different. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and smoking destroys that temple. You need to be there for your child past your child’s teenage years. The graver sin would be returning to smoking after having quit; continuing to smoke is probably less grave, because of the force of habit. But just because you broke the vow once doesn’t mean you failed. Get up and try again. Quit again so you can attend your child’s wedding, or witness the births of your grandkids.


#6

Catholic canon law on vows can be found here.


#7

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