Private vows/Parish


Hello. I have some doubts about private vows. Because of this I have read the part in Canon Law where this topic is addressed but a few questions remain. So I decided to ask here, where maybe somebody could help me. My questions are related to my specific situation and also general issues.

First, is there a specific formula for a private vow to be valid? What is the difference (if any) between a private vow, and a personal commitment you take, while on prayer for example?
I ask this because once I was praying (before the exposed Blessed Sacrament), concerning my personal struggles with sins of impurity, and I decided to stop entering some specific websites (nothing wrong with these websites, it is just I think they tend to make me spend more time doing useless stuff on line, which may lead to certain sins). Was this a private vow?

Another thing is concerning the possibility of having made such kind of resolution (don’t know if it’s a vow) and not remembering anymore, or just remembering it vaguely. What do you think?
Besides some other resolutions like the previous one I mentioned , and some others like praying more etc, I recently remembered that when I was a kid (don’t know the age exactly, just that I was 10 or younger), because of some stuff other boys in my classroom had done and I was afraid of being punished for it, I promised to pray what I can only remember was a large number of Hail Mary and Our Father, but I don’t recall the exact number, and I don’t remember ever doing this. What do you think?

Finally, I have learned that the priest of my parish, and not any other confessor, has authority over my vows, which brings me to a doubt I have: I study in a city, but every 2 weeks I go to my parents’ home for the weekend, in the parish I was baptized and lived till 4 years ago, so I end up watching Mass each Sunday in a parish, and spend most of my time in the territory of one parish. To which parish do I belong?

Thanks. Sorry for the long post.


Making a change for the better in your personal life is not a vow.
One can go their entire life without making such “vows”. In fact, if you simply try to repent, and don’t make these efforts to “vow” you’ll find there’s no need to released from them, and you’ll be less inclined to scruples. Just a suggestion. However, some people do like, and make these vows. Hopefully, someone else can speak to their form.
For myself, just talking to the Lord in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit for assistance is effective.

Your parish is the one in which you reside.


There is a difference between a private vow (which is rather deliberate -one knows one is doing it) and a resolution or commitment of other sorts.

You may discuss the matters with the Pastor of the place you are living (I assume you have been there at least 3 months (even if one goes home from time to time) or intend to live there…just tell him both your questions - and your living status. If there was any vow (I am not saying there was) he can dispense you (or perhaps say “if there was any vow your dispensed” - to give you peace of mind). Again I am not saying you made any vows…but you want to settle the matter in your mind and then close the door.


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