Scripture and Vows


I understand that the Catholic Church teaches that one can be “dispensed a vow” and in many cases, vows are “not binding”–perhaps because one didn’t understand what one was vowing, etc. However, Scripture appears to teach that you must keep a vow no matter how stupid or thoughtless it was.

“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Eccl. 5.4-5).

“It is a snare to say rashly, ‘It is holy,’ and to reflect only after making vows” (Pro. 20.25). If you can be dispensed a vow, then why is it a snare to reflect after making vows? It shouldn’t be a snare if you can just walk out of it if you don’t feel like keeping it.

See also the story of Jephthah in Judges 11.

Why does the Church teach something that appears contrary to Scripture? Is it really not contrary at all?


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