Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(1,620 words)

1. Vows are a phenomenon frequently met with in the history of religion. They are pronounced in the form of a promise to the divinity, usually in order to win favour or to secure a return of gifts, but also for reasons of moral purification, of gratitude and appreciation, or of dedication to God. Moral theology accordingly describes a vow as an act of divine homage by which man freely binds himself to the performance of a good work not of general obligation, which is better than its concrete opposite; bonum possibile et melius. The validity of a vow demands therefore a corresponding cap…

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Waldemar Molinski, “Vow”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 24 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

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