OK, so when I was 18 and a new Christian, and fed up with not getting any attention from girls. I remember coming home drunk one night and praying that if I hadn’t at least been kissed by a girl in 2 weeks (it was my first week at University) I’d take a vow of celebacy. The sin of tempting God.
Well, two weeks came and went, I did get a date, but it didn’t end in a kiss.
I didn’t then get down on my knees and take that vow. I did do some brief exploring of monastic life back then, but didn’t feel called to it.
I stayed single for the next 5 years.
In 2005-6 I began exploring a calling to monastic life with the Anglican Franciscans (I was not yet a Catholic). I realised conclusively that I am not called to religious life.
Shortly after this realisation, I met my fiancee, the love of my life, and I am certain as certain can be that I am called to spend my life with her. I know she feels the same way. We also led eachother into the Catholic faith.
But… I still prayed what I prayed. I have already broken that, because I haven’t lived chastely within the bounds appropriate to an unmarried person. I feel the only way I’ll ever be able to cope with my sexual identity appropriately is within a loving marriage with my fiancee.
When I spoke about this with my spiritual director when I was an Anglican, he assured me that such a promise doesn’t amount to a vow, and that as I’d repented of it, I had nothing to worry about. All the same, the Anglicans are known for being on the liberal side.
While I know I was wrong to have prayed this way, in the same way Jephtha was wrong when he promised to offer to God the first thing that greeted him. Just because he knew he was wrong and repented didn’t excuse him from the burden of sacrificing his daughter though, even though the act itself could be viewed as a sin, because God specifically forbids human sacrifice.
What I’m asking is:
- Does what I did count as a vow, even though it was done without the full consent of the will (drunkenly) and while outside of obedience to the Church?
- If it is a vow, is there a way of being dispensed from it?
- While I realise that this vow ruins two people’s lives, because it binds both me and my fiancee to a form of life that is not our calling or vocation, should I still fulfil the vow, i.e. take a full vow of chastity, leave my fiancee, ruin both of our lives, and live in a way that is not the way God wanted to call me to? Would that be the correct penance, is there some other way of commuting that penance without risking mortal sin in disobeying my vows to God?