St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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SERVICE BY PROMISE (Question [88])


Deinde considerandum est de voto, per quod aliquid Deo promittitur. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duodecim. We must now consider vows, whereby something is promised to God. Under this head there are twelve points of inquiry:
Primo, quid sit votum. (1) What is a vow?
Secundo, quid cadat sub voto. (2) What is the matter of a vow?
Tertio, de obligatione voti. (3) Of the obligation of vows;
Quarto, de utilitate vovendi. (4) Of the use of taking vows;
Quinto, cuius virtutis sit actus. (5) Of what virtue is it an act?
Sexto, utrum magis meritorium sit facere aliquid ex voto quam sine voto. (6) Whether it is more meritorious to do a thing from a vow, than without a vow?
Septimo, de solemnitate voti. (7) Of the solemnizing of a vow;
Octavo, utrum possint vovere qui sunt potestati alterius subiecti. (8) Whether those who are under another's power can take vows?
Nono, utrum pueri possint voto obligari ad religionis ingressum. (9) Whether children may be bound by vow to enter religion?
Decimo, utrum votum sit dispensabile vel commutabile. (10) Whether a vow is subject to dispensation or commutation?
Undecimo, utrum in solemni voto continentiae possit dispensari. (11) Whether a dispensation can be granted in a solemn vow of continence?
Duodecimo, utrum requiratur in dispensatione voti superioris auctoritas. (12) Whether the authority of a superior is required in a dispensation from a vow?

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Whether a vow consists in a mere purpose of the will?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod votum consistat in solo proposito voluntatis. Quia secundum quosdam, votum est conceptio boni propositi, animi deliberatione firmata, qua quis ad aliquid faciendum vel non faciendum se Deo obligat. Sed conceptio boni propositi, cum omnibus quae adduntur, potest in solo motu voluntatis consistere. Ergo votum in solo proposito voluntatis consistit. Objection 1: It would seem that a vow consists in nothing but a purpose of the will. According to some [*William of Auxerre, Sum. Aur. III, xxviii, qu. 1; Albertus Magnus, Sent. iv, D, 38], "a vow is a conception of a good purpose after a firm deliberation of the mind, whereby a man binds himself before God to do or not to do a certain thing." But the conception of a good purpose and so forth, may consist in a mere movement of the will. Therefore a vow consists in a mere purpose of the will.
Praeterea, ipsum nomen voti videtur a voluntate assumptum, dicitur enim aliquis proprio voto facere quae voluntarie facit. Sed propositum est actus voluntatis, promissio autem rationis. Ergo votum in solo actu voluntatis consistit. Objection 2: Further, the very word vow seems to be derived from "voluntas" [will], for one is said to do a thing "proprio voto" [by one's own vow] when one does it voluntarily. Now to "purpose" is an act of the will, while to "promise" is an act of the reason. Therefore a vow consists in a mere act of the will.
Praeterea, dominus dicit, Luc. IX, nemo mittens manum ad aratrum et aspiciens retro aptus est regno Dei. Sed aliquis ex hoc ipso quod habet propositum bene faciendi mittit manum ad aratrum. Ergo, si aspiciat retro, desistens a bono proposito, non est aptus regno Dei. Ex solo igitur bono proposito aliquis obligatur apud Deum, etiam nulla promissione facta. Et ita videtur quod in solo proposito voluntatis votum consistat. Objection 3: Further, our Lord said (Lk. 9:62): "No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Now from the very fact that a man has a purpose of doing good, he puts his hand to the plough. Consequently, if he look back by desisting from his good purpose, he is not fit for the kingdom of God. Therefore by a mere good purpose a man is bound before God, even without making a promise; and consequently it would seem that a vow consists in a mere purpose of the will.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Eccle. V, si quid vovisti Deo, ne moreris reddere, displicet enim ei infidelis et stulta promissio. Ergo vovere est promittere, et votum est promissio. On the contrary, It is written (Eccles. 5:3): "If thou hast vowed anything to God, defer not to pay it, for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeaseth Him." Therefore to vow is to promise, and a vow is a promise.
Respondeo dicendum quod votum quandam obligationem importat ad aliquid faciendum vel dimittendum. Obligat autem homo se homini ad aliquid per modum promissionis, quae est rationis actus, ad quam pertinet ordinare, sicut enim homo imperando vel deprecando ordinat quodammodo quid sibi ab aliis fiat, ita promittendo ordinat quid ipse pro alio facere debeat. Sed promissio quae ab homine fit homini, non potest fieri nisi per verba vel quaecumque exteriora signa. Deo autem potest fieri promissio per solam interiorem cogitationem, quia ut dicitur I Reg. XVI, homines vident ea quae parent, sed Deus intuetur cor. Exprimuntur tamen quandoque verba exteriora vel ad sui ipsius excitationem, sicut circa orationem dictum est, vel ad alios contestandum, ut non solum desistat a fractione voti propter timorem Dei, sed etiam propter reverentiam hominum. Promissio autem procedit ex proposito faciendi. Propositum autem aliquam deliberationem praeexigit, cum sit actus voluntatis deliberatae. Sic igitur ad votum tria ex necessitate requiruntur, primo quidem, deliberatio; secundo, propositum voluntatis; tertio, promissio, in qua perficitur ratio voti. Superadduntur vero quandoque et alia duo, ad quandam voti confirmationem, scilicet pronuntiatio oris, secundum illud Psalm., reddam tibi vota mea, quae distinxerunt labia mea; et iterum testimonium aliorum. Unde Magister dicit, XXXVIII dist. IV Lib. Sent., quod votum est testificatio quaedam promissionis spontaneae, quae Deo et de his quae sunt Dei fieri debet, quamvis testificatio possit ad interiorem testificationem proprie referri. I answer that, A vow denotes a binding to do or omit some particular thing. Now one man binds himself to another by means of a promise, which is an act of the reason to which faculty it belongs to direct. For just as a man by commanding or praying, directs, in a fashion, what others are to do for him, so by promising he directs what he himself is to do for another. Now a promise between man and man can only be expressed in words or any other outward signs; whereas a promise can be made to God by the mere inward thought, since according to 1 Kgs. 16:7, "Man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart." Yet we express words outwardly sometimes, either to arouse ourselves, as was stated above with regard to prayer (Question [83], Article [12]), or to call others to witness, so that one may refrain from breaking the vow, not only through fear of God, but also through respect of men. Now a promise is the outcome from a purpose of doing something: and a purpose presupposes deliberation, since it is the act of a deliberate will. Accordingly three things are essential to a vow: the first is deliberation. the second is a purpose of the will; and the third is a promise, wherein is completed the nature of a vow. Sometimes, however, two other things are added as a sort of confirmation of the vow, namely, pronouncement by word of mouth, according to Ps. 65:13, "I will pay Thee my vows which my lips have uttered"; and the witnessing of others. Hence the Master says (Sent. iv, D, 38) that a vow is "the witnessing of a spontaneous promise and ought to be made to God and about things relating to God": although the "witnessing" may strictly refer to the inward protestation.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod conceptio boni propositi non firmatur ex animi deliberatione nisi promissione deliberationem consequente. Reply to Objection 1: The conceiving of a good purpose is not confirmed by the deliberation of the mind, unless the deliberation lead to a promise.
Ad secundum dicendum quod voluntas movet rationem ad promittendum aliquid circa ea quae eius voluntati subduntur. Et pro tanto votum a voluntate accepit nomen quasi a primo movente. Reply to Objection 2: Man's will moves the reason to promise something relating to things subject to his will, and a vow takes its name from the will forasmuch as it proceeds from the will as first mover.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ille qui mittit manum ad aratrum iam facit aliquid. Sed ille qui solum proponit nondum aliquid facit. Sed quando promittit, iam incipit se exhibere ad faciendum, licet nondum impleat quod promittit, sicut ille qui ponit manum ad aratrum nondum arat, iam tamen apponit manum ad arandum. Reply to Objection 3: He that puts his hand to the plough does something already; while he that merely purposes to do something does nothing so far. When, however, he promises, he already sets about doing, although he does not yet fulfil his promise: even so, he that puts his hand to the plough does not plough yet, nevertheless he stretches out his hand for the purpose of ploughing.

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Whether a vow should always be about a better good?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod votum non semper debeat fieri de meliori bono. Dicitur enim melius bonum quod ad supererogationem pertinet. Sed votum non solum fit de his quae sunt supererogationis, sed etiam de his quae pertinent ad salutem. Nam et in Baptismo vovent homines abrenuntiare Diabolo et pompis eius, et fidem servare, ut dicit Glossa, super illud Psalm., vovete et reddite domino Deo vestro. Iacob etiam vovit quod esset ei dominus in Deum, ut habetur Gen. XXVIII, hoc autem est maxime de necessitate salutis. Ergo votum non solum fit de meliori bono. Objection 1: It would seem that a vow need not be always about a better good. A greater good is one that pertains to supererogation. But vows are not only about matters of supererogation, but also about matters of salvation: thus in Baptism men vow to renounce the devil and his pomps, and to keep the faith, as a gloss observes on Ps. 75:12, "Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God"; and Jacob vowed (Gn. 28:21) that the Lord should be his God. Now this above all is necessary for salvation. Therefore vows are not only about a better good.
Praeterea, Iephte in catalogo sanctorum ponitur, ut patet Heb. XI. Sed ipse filiam innocentem occidit propter votum, ut habetur Iudic. XI. Cum igitur occisio innocentis non sit melius bonum, sed sit secundum se illicitum, videtur quod votum fieri possit non solum de meliori bono, sed etiam de illicitis. Objection 2: Further, Jephte is included among the saints (Heb. 11:32). Yet he killed his innocent daughter on account of his vow (Judges 11). Since, then, the slaying of an innocent person is not a better good, but is in itself unlawful, it seems that a vow may be made not only about a better good, but also about something unlawful.
Praeterea, ea quae redundant in detrimentum personae, vel quae ad nihil sunt utilia, non habent rationem melioris boni. Sed quandoque fiunt aliqua vota de immoderatis vigiliis et ieiuniis, quae vergunt in periculum personae. Quandoque etiam fiunt aliqua vota de aliquibus indifferentibus et ad nihil valentibus. Ergo non semper votum est melioris boni. Objection 3: Further, things that tend to be harmful to the person, or that are quite useless, do not come under the head of a better good. Yet sometimes vows are made about immoderate vigils or fasts which tend to injure the person: and sometimes vows are about indifferent matters and such as are useful to no purpose. Therefore a vow is not always about a better good.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Deut. XXIII, si nolueris polliceri, absque peccato eris. On the contrary, It is written (Dt. 23:22): "If thou wilt not promise thou shalt be without sin."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, votum est promissio Deo facta. Promissio autem est alicuius quod quis pro aliquo voluntarie facit. Non enim esset promissio, sed comminatio, si quis diceret se contra aliquem facturum. Similiter vana esset promissio si aliquis alicui promitteret id quod ei non esset acceptum. Et ideo, cum omne peccatum sit contra Deum; nec aliquod opus sit Deo acceptum nisi sit virtuosum, consequens est quod de nullo illicito, nec de aliquo indifferenti debeat fieri votum, sed solum de aliquo actu virtutis. Sed quia votum promissionem voluntariam importat, necessitas autem voluntatem excludit, id quod est absolute necessarium esse vel non esse nullo modo cadit sub voto, stultum enim esset si quis voveret se esse moriturum, vel se non esse volaturum. I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), a vow is a promise made to God. Now a promise is about something that one does voluntarily for someone else: since it would be not a promise but a threat to say that one would do something against someone. In like manner it would be futile to promise anyone something unacceptable to him. Wherefore, as every sin is against God, and since no work is acceptable to God unless it be virtuous, it follows that nothing unlawful or indifferent, but only some act of virtue, should be the matter of a vow. But as a vow denotes a voluntary promise, while necessity excludes voluntariness, whatever is absolutely necessary, whether to be or not to be, can nowise be the matter of a vow. For it would be foolish to vow that one would die or that one would not fly.
Illud vero quod non habet absolutam necessitatem, sed necessitatem finis, puta quia sine eo non potest esse salus, cadit quidem sub voto inquantum voluntarie fit, non autem inquantum est necessitatis. Illud autem quod neque cadit sub necessitate absoluta neque sub necessitate finis, omnino est voluntarium. Et ideo hoc propriissime cadit sub voto. Hoc autem dicitur esse maius bonum in comparatione ad bonum quod communiter est de necessitate salutis. Et ideo, proprie loquendo, votum dicitur esse de bono meliori. On the other hand, if a thing be necessary. not absolutely but on the supposition of an end—for instance if salvation be unattainable without it—it may be the matter of a vow in so far as it is done voluntarily, but not in so far as there is a necessity for doing it. But that which is not necessary, neither absolutely, nor on the supposition of an end, is altogether voluntary, and therefore is most properly the matter of a vow. And this is said to be a greater good in comparison with that which is universally necessary for salvation. Therefore, properly speaking, a vow is said to be about a better good.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod hoc modo sub voto baptizatorum cadit abrenuntiare pompis Diaboli et fidem Christi servare, quia voluntarie fit, licet sit de necessitate salutis. Et similiter potest dici de voto Iacob. Quamvis etiam possit intelligi quod Iacob vovit se habere dominum in Deum per specialem cultum, ad quem non tenebatur, sicut per decimarum oblationem, et alia huiusmodi quae ibi subduntur. Reply to Objection 1: Renouncing the devil's pomps and keeping the faith of Christ are the matter of baptismal vows, in so far as these things are done voluntarily, although they are necessary for salvation. The same answer applies to Jacob's vow: although it may also be explained that Jacob vowed that he would have the Lord for his God, by giving Him a special form of worship to which he was not bound, for instance by offering tithes and so forth as mentioned further on in the same passage.
Ad secundum dicendum quod quaedam sunt quae in omnem eventum sunt bona, sicut opera virtutis et alia quae absolute possunt cadere sub voto. Quaedam vero in omnem eventum sunt mala, sicut ea quae secundum se sunt peccata. Et haec nullo modo possunt sub voto cadere. Quaedam vero sunt quidem in se considerata bona, et secundum hoc possunt cadere sub voto, possunt tamen habere malum eventum, in quo non sunt observanda. Et sic accidit in voto Iephte, qui ut dicitur Iudic. XI, votum vovit domino, dicens, si tradideris filios Ammon in manus meas, quicumque primus egressus fuerit de foribus domus meae mihique occurrerit revertenti in pace, eum offeram holocaustum domino. Hoc enim poterat malum eventum habere, si occurreret ei aliquod animal non immolativum, sicut asinus vel homo, quod et accidit. Unde, ut Hieronymus dicit, in vovendo fuit stultus, quia discretionem non adhibuit, et in reddendo impius. Praemittitur tamen ibidem quod factus est super eum spiritus domini, quia fides et devotio ipsius, ex qua motus est ad vovendum, fuit a spiritu sancto. Propter quod ponitur in catalogo sanctorum, et propter victoriam quam obtinuit; et quia probabile est eum poenituisse de facto iniquo, quod tamen aliquod bonum figurabat. Reply to Objection 2: Certain things are good, whatever be their result; such are acts of virtue, and these can be, absolutely speaking, the matter of a vow: some are evil, whatever their result may be; as those things which are sins in themselves, and these can nowise be the matter of a vow: while some, considered in themselves, are good, and as such may be the matter of a vow, yet they may have an evil result, in which case the vow must not be kept. It was thus with the vow of Jephte, who as related in Judges 11:30,31, "made a vow to the Lord, saying: If Thou wilt deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, whosoever shall first come forth out of the doors of my house, and shall meet me when I return in peace... the same will I offer a holocaust to the Lord." For this could have an evil result if, as indeed happened, he were to be met by some animal which it would be unlawful to sacrifice, such as an ass or a human being. Hence Jerome says [*Implicitly 1 Contra Jovin.: Comment. in Micheam vi, viii: Comment. in Jerem. vii. The quotation is from Peter Comestor, Hist. Scholast.]: "In vowing he was foolish, through lack of discretion, and in keeping his vow he was wicked." Yet it is premised (Judges 11:29) that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him," because his faith and devotion, which moved him to make that vow, were from the Holy Ghost; and for this reason he is reckoned among the saints, as also by reason of the victory which he obtained, and because it is probable that he repented of his sinful deed, which nevertheless foreshadowed something good.
Ad tertium dicendum quod maceratio proprii corporis, puta per vigilias et ieiunia, non est Deo accepta nisi inquantum est opus virtutis, quod quidem est inquantum cum debita discretione fit, ut scilicet concupiscentia refrenetur et natura non nimis gravetur. Et sub tali tenore possunt huiusmodi sub voto cadere. Propter quod et apostolus, Rom. XII, postquam dixerat, exhibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem, addidit, rationabile obsequium vestrum. Sed quia in his quae ad seipsum pertinent de facili fallitur homo in iudicando, talia vota congruentius secundum arbitrium superioris sunt vel servanda vel praetermittenda. Ita tamen quod si ex observatione talis voti magnum et manifestum gravamen sentiret, et non esset facultas ad superiorem recurrendi, non debet homo tale votum servare. Vota vero quae sunt de rebus vanis et inutilibus sunt magis deridenda quam servanda. Reply to Objection 3: The mortification of one's own body, for instance by vigils and fasting, is not acceptable to God except in so far as it is an act of virtue; and this depends on its being done with due discretion, namely, that concupiscence be curbed without overburdening nature. on this condition such things may be the matter of a vow. Hence the Apostle after saying (Rm. 12:1), "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God," adds, "your reasonable service." Since, however, man is easily mistaken in judging of matters concerning himself, such vows as these are more fittingly kept or disregarded according to the judgment of a superior, yet so that, should a man find that without doubt he is seriously burdened by keeping such a vow, and should he be unable to appeal to his superior, he ought not to keep it. As to vows about vain and useless things they should be ridiculed rather than kept.

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Whether all vows are binding?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omne votum obliget ad sui observationem. Homo enim magis indiget his quae per alium hominem fiunt quam Deus, qui bonorum nostrorum non eget. Sed promissio simplex homini facta non obligat ad servandum, secundum institutionem legis humanae, quod videtur esse institutum propter mutabilitatem humanae voluntatis. Ergo multo minus simplex promissio Deo facta, quae dicitur votum, obligat ad observandum. Objection 1: It would seem that vows are not all binding. For man needs things that are done by another, more than God does, since He has no need for our goods (Ps. 15:2). Now according to the prescription of human laws [*Dig. L. xii, de pollicitat., i] a simple promise made to a man is not binding; and this seems to be prescribed on account of the changeableness of the human will. Much less binding therefore is a simple promise made to God, which we call a vow.
Praeterea, nullus obligatur ad impossibile. Sed quandoque illud quod quis vovit fit ei impossibile, vel quia dependet ex alieno arbitrio, sicut cum quis vovet aliquod monasterium intrare cuius monachi eum nolunt recipere; vel propter emergentem defectum, sicut mulier quae vovit virginitatem servare et postea corrumpitur, vel vir qui vovet pecuniam dare et postea amittit pecuniam. Ergo non semper votum est obligatorium. Objection 2: Further, no one is bound to do what is impossible. Now sometimes that which a man has vowed becomes impossible to him, either because it depends on another's decision, as when, for instance, a man vows to enter a monastery, the monks of which refuse to receive him: or on account of some defect arising, for instance when a woman vows virginity, and afterwards is deflowered; or when a man vows to give a sum of money, and afterwards loses it. Therefore a vow is not always binding.
Praeterea, illud ad cuius solutionem est aliquis obligatus, statim solvere tenetur. Sed aliquis non statim solvere tenetur illud quod vovit, praecipue cum sub conditione futura vovet. Ergo votum non semper est obligatorium. Objection 3: Further, if a man is bound to pay something, he must do so at once. But a man is not bound to pay his vow at once, especially if it be taken under a condition to be fulfilled in the future. Therefore a vow is not always binding.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Eccle. V, quodcumque voveris, redde. Multoque melius est non vovere quam post votum promissa non reddere. On the contrary, It is written (Eccles. 5:3,4): "Whatsoever thou hast vowed, pay it; and it is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things promised."
Respondeo dicendum quod ad fidelitatem hominis pertinet ut solvat id quod promisit, unde secundum Augustinum, fides dicitur ex hoc quod fiunt dicta. Maxime autem debet homo Deo fidelitatem, tum ratione dominii; tum etiam ratione beneficii suscepti. Et ideo maxime obligatur homo ad hoc quod impleat vota Deo facta, hoc enim pertinet ad fidelitatem quam homo debet Deo, fractio autem voti est quaedam infidelitatis species. Unde Salomon rationem assignat quare sint vota reddenda. Quia displicet Deo infidelis promissio. I answer that, For one to be accounted faithful one must keep one's promises. Wherefore, according to Augustine [*Ep. xxxii, 2: De Mendac. xx] faith takes its name "from a man's deed agreeing with his word" [*'Fides... fiunt dicta' Cicero gives the same etymology (De Offic. i, 7)]. Now man ought to be faithful to God above all, both on account of God's sovereignty, and on account of the favors he has received from God. Hence man is obliged before all to fulfill the vows he has made to God, since this is part of the fidelity he owes to God. On the other hand, the breaking of a vow is a kind of infidelity. Wherefore Solomon gives the reason why vows should be paid to God, because "an unfaithful... promise displeaseth Him" [*Eccles. 5:3].
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod secundum honestatem ex qualibet promissione homo homini obligatur, et haec est obligatio iuris naturalis. Sed ad hoc quod aliquis obligetur ex aliqua promissione obligatione civili, quaedam alia requiruntur. Deus autem etsi bonis nostris non egeat, ei tamen maxime obligamur. Et ita votum ei factum est maxime obligatorium. Reply to Objection 1: Honesty demands that a man should keep any promise he makes to another man, and this obligation is based on the natural law. But for a man to be under a civil obligation through a promise he has made, other conditions are requisite. And although God needs not our goods, we are under a very great obligation to Him: so that a vow made to Him is most binding.
Ad secundum dicendum quod si illud quod quis vovit ex quacumque causa impossibile reddatur, debet homo facere quod in se est, ut saltem habeat promptam voluntatem faciendi quod potest. Unde ille qui vovit monasterium aliquod intrare debet dare operam quam potest ut ibi recipiatur. Et si quidem intentio sua fuit se obligare ad religionis ingressum principaliter, et ex consequenti elegit hanc religionem vel hunc locum quasi sibi magis congruentem, tenetur, si non potest ibi recipi, aliam religionem intrare. Si autem principaliter intendit se obligare ad hanc religionem vel ad hunc locum, propter specialem complacentiam huius religionis vel loci, non tenetur aliam religionem intrare si illi eum recipere nolunt. Si vero incidit in impossibilitatem implendi votum ex propria culpa, tenetur insuper de propria culpa praeterita poenitentiam agere. Sicut mulier quae vovit virginitatem, si postea corrumpatur, non solum debet servare quod potest, scilicet perpetuam continentiam, sed etiam de eo quod admisit peccando poenitere. Reply to Objection 2: If that which a man has vowed becomes impossible to him through any cause whatsoever, he must do what he can, so that he have at least a will ready to do what he can. Hence if a man has vowed to enter a monastery, he must endeavor to the best of his power to be received there. And if his intention was chiefly to bind himself to enter the religious life, so that, in consequence, he chose this particular form of religious life, or this place, as being most agreeable to him, he is bound, should he be unable to be received there, to enter the religious life elsewhere. But if his principal intention is to bind himself to this particular kind of religious life, or to this particular place, because the one or the other pleases him in some special way, he is not bound to enter another religious house, if they are unwilling to receive him into this particular one. on the other hand, if he be rendered incapable of fulfilling his vow through his own fault, he is bound over and above to do penance for his past fault: thus if a woman has vowed virginity and is afterwards violated, she is bound not only to observe what is in her power, namely, perpetual continency, but also to repent of what she has lost by sinning.
Ad tertium dicendum quod obligatio voti ex propria voluntate et intentione causatur, unde dicitur Deut. XXIII, quod semel egressum est de labiis tuis, observabis, et facies sicut promisisti domino Deo tuo, et propria voluntate et ore tuo locutus es. Et ideo si in intentione et voluntate voventis est obligare se ad statim solvendum, tenetur statim solvere. Si autem ad certum tempus, vel sub certa conditione, non tenetur statim solvere. Sed nec debet tardare ultra quam intendit se obligare, dicitur enim ibidem, cum votum voveris domino Deo tuo, non tardabis reddere, quia requiret illud dominus Deus tuus; et si moratus fueris, reputabitur tibi in peccatum. Reply to Objection 3: The obligation of a vow is caused by our own will and intention, wherefore it is written (Dt. 23:23): "That which is once gone out of thy lips, thou shalt observe, and shalt do as thou hast promised to the Lord thy God, and hast spoken with thy own will and with thy own mouth." Wherefore if in taking a vow, it is one's intention and will to bind oneself to fulfil it at once, one is bound to fulfil it immediately. But if one intend to fulfil it at a certain time, or under a certain condition, one is not bound to immediate fulfilment. And yet one ought not to delay longer than one intended to bind oneself, for it is written (Dt. 23:21): "When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it; and if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin."

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Article: 4  [ << | >> ]

Whether it is expedient to take vows?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non expediat aliquid vovere. Non enim alicui expedit ut privet se bono quod ei Deus donavit. Sed libertas est unum de maximis bonis quae homini Deus dedit, qua videtur privari per necessitatem quam votum imponit. Ergo non videtur expediens homini quod aliquid voveat. Objection 1: It would seem that it is not expedient to take vows. It is not expedient to anyone to deprive himself of the good that God has given him. Now one of the greatest goods that God has given man is liberty whereof he seems to be deprived by the necessity implicated in a vow. Therefore it would seem inexpedient for man to take vows.
Praeterea, nullus debet se periculis iniicere. Sed quicumque vovet se periculo iniicit, quia quod ante votum sine periculo poterat praeteriri, si non servetur post votum, periculosum est. Unde Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Armentarium et Paulinam, quia iam vovisti, iam te obstrinxisti, aliud tibi facere non licet. Non talis eris si non feceris quod vovisti, qualis mansisses si nihil tale vovisses. Minor enim tunc esses, non peior. Modo autem, tanto, quod absit, miserior si fidem Deo fregeris, quanto beatior si persolveris. Ergo non expedit aliquid vovere. Objection 2: Further, no one should expose himself to danger. But whoever takes a vow exposes himself to danger, since that which, before taking a vow, he could omit without danger, becomes a source of danger to him if he should not fulfil it after taking the vow. Hence Augustine says (Ep. cxxvii, ad Arment. et Paulin.): "Since thou hast vowed, thou hast bound thyself, thou canst not do otherwise. If thou dost not what thou hast vowed thou wilt not be as thou wouldst have been hadst thou not vowed. For then thou wouldst have been less great, not less good: whereas now if thou breakest faith with God (which God forbid) thou art the more unhappy, as thou wouldst have been happier, hadst thou kept thy vow." Therefore it is not expedient to take vows.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. IV, imitatores mei estote, sicut et ego Christi. Sed non legitur neque Christum aliquid vovisse, nec apostolos. Ergo videtur quod non expediat aliquid vovere. Objection 3: Further, the Apostle says (1 Cor. 4:16): "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." But we do not read that either Christ or the Apostles took any vows. Therefore it would seem inexpedient to take vows.
Sed contra est quod dicitur in Psalm., vovete et reddite domino Deo vestro. On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 75:12): "Vow ye and pay to the Lord your God."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, votum est promissio Deo facta. Alia autem ratione promittitur aliquid homini, et alia ratione Deo. Homini quidem promittimus aliquid propter eius utilitatem, cui utile est et quod ei aliquid exhibeamus, et quod eum de futura exhibitione prius certificemus. Sed promissionem Deo facimus non propter eius utilitatem, sed propter nostram. Unde Augustinus dicit, in praedicta epistola, benignus exactor est, non egenus, et qui non crescat ex redditis, sed in se crescere faciat redditores. Et sicut id quod damus Deo non est ei utile, sed nobis, quia quod ei redditur reddenti additur, ut Augustinus ibidem dicit; ita etiam promissio qua Deo aliquid vovemus, non cedit in eius utilitatem, qui a nobis certificari non indiget; sed ad utilitatem nostram, inquantum vovendo voluntatem nostram immobiliter firmamus ad id quod expedit facere. Et ideo expediens est vovere. I answer that, As stated above (Articles [1],2), a vow is a promise made to God. Now one makes a promise to a man under one aspect, and to God under another. Because we promise something to a man for his own profit; since it profits him that we should be of service to him, and that we should at first assure him of the future fulfilment of that service: whereas we make promises to God not for His but for our own profit. Hence Augustine says (Ep. cxxvii, ad Arment. et Paulin.): "He is a kind and not a needy exactor, for he does not grow rich on our payments, but makes those who pay Him grow rich in Him." And just as what we give God is useful not to Him but to us, since "what is given Him is added to the giver," as Augustine says (Ep. cxxvii, ad Arment. et Paulin.), so also a promise whereby we vow something to God, does not conduce to His profit, nor does He need to be assured by us, but it conduces to our profit, in so far as by vowing we fix our wills immovably on that which it is expedient to do. Hence it is expedient to take vows.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut non posse peccare non diminuit libertatem, ita etiam necessitas firmatae voluntatis in bonum non diminuit libertatem, ut patet in Deo et in beatis. Et talis est necessitas voti, similitudinem quandam habens cum confirmatione beatorum. Unde Augustinus in eadem epistola dicit quod felix necessitas est quae in meliora compellit. Reply to Objection 1: Even as one's liberty is not lessened by one being unable to sin, so, too, the necessity resulting from a will firmly fixed to good does not lessen the liberty, as instanced in God and the blessed. Such is the necessity implied by a vow, bearing a certain resemblance to the confirmation of the blessed. Hence, Augustine says (Ep. cxxvii, ad Arment. et Paulin.) that "happy is the necessity that compels us to do the better things."
Ad secundum dicendum quod quando periculum nascitur ex ipso facto, tunc illud factum non est expediens, puta quod aliquis per pontem ruinosum transeat fluvium. Sed si periculum immineat ex hoc quod homo deficit ab illo facto, non desinit propter hoc esse expediens, sicut expediens est ascendere equum, quamvis periculum immineat cadenti de equo. Alioquin oporteret ab omnibus bonis cessare quae per accidens ex aliquo eventu possunt esse periculosa. Unde dicitur Eccle. XI, qui observat ventum non seminat, et qui considerat nubes nunquam metet. Periculum autem voventi non imminet ex ipso voto, sed ex culpa hominis, qui voluntatem mutat transgrediens votum. Unde Augustinus dicit in eadem epistola, non te vovisse poeniteat. Immo gaude iam tibi sic non licere quod cum tuo detrimento licuisset. Reply to Objection 2: When danger arises from the deed itself, this deed is not expedient, for instance that one cross a river by a tottering bridge: but if the danger arise through man's failure in the deed, the latter does not cease to be expedient: thus it is expedient to mount on horseback, though there be the danger of a fall from the horse: else it would behoove one to desist from all good things, that may become dangerous accidentally. Wherefore it is written (Eccles. 11:4): "He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that considereth the clouds shall never reap." Now a man incurs danger, not from the vow itself, but from his fault, when he changes his mind by breaking his vow. Hence, Augustine says (Ep. cxxvii, ad Arment. et Paulin.): "Repent not of thy vow: thou shouldst rather rejoice that thou canst no longer do what thou mightest lawfully have done to thy detriment."
Ad tertium dicendum quod Christo secundum se non competebat vovere. Tum quia Deus erat. Tum etiam quia, inquantum homo, habebat firmatam voluntatem in bono, quasi comprehensor existens. Quamvis per quandam similitudinem ex persona eius dicatur in Psalm., secundum Glossam, vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium eum, loquitur autem pro corpore suo, quod est Ecclesia. Reply to Objection 3: It was incompetent for Christ, by His very nature, to take a vow, both because He was God, and because, as man, His will was firmly fixed on the good, since He was a "comprehensor." By a kind of similitude, however, He is represented as saying (Ps. 21:26): "I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear Him," when He is speaking of His body, which is the Church.
Apostoli autem intelliguntur vovisse pertinentia ad perfectionis statum quando Christum, relictis omnibus, sunt secuti. The apostles are understood to have vowed things pertaining to the state of perfection when "they left all things and followed Christ."

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Whether a vow is an act of latria or religion?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod votum non sit actus latriae sive religionis. Omne enim opus virtutis cadit sub voto. Sed ad eandem virtutem pertinere videtur promittere aliquid et facere illud. Ergo votum pertinet ad quamlibet virtutem, et non specialiter ad religionem. Objection 1: It would seem that a vow is not an act of latria or religion. Every act of virtue is matter for a vow. Now it would seem to pertain to the same virtue to promise a thing and to do it. Therefore a vow pertains to any virtue and not to religion especially.
Praeterea, secundum Tullium, ad religionem pertinet cultum et caeremoniam Deo offerre. Sed ille qui vovet nondum aliquid Deo offert, sed solum promittit. Ergo votum non est actus religionis Objection 2: Further, according to Tully (De Invent. ii, 53) it belongs to religion to offer God worship and ceremonial rites. But he who takes a vow does not yet offer something to God, but only promises it. Therefore, a vow is not an act of religion.
Praeterea, cultus religionis non debet exhiberi nisi Deo. Sed votum non solum fit Deo, sed etiam sanctis et praelatis, quibus religiosi profitentes obedientiam vovent. Ergo votum non est religionis actus. Objection 3: Further, religious worship should be offered to none but God. But a vow is made not only to God, but also to the saints and to one's superiors, to whom religious vow obedience when they make their profession. Therefore, a vow is not an act of religion.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Isaiae XIX, colent eum in hostiis et muneribus, et vota vovebunt domino et solvent. Sed colere Deum est proprie religionis sive latriae. Ergo votum est actus latriae sive religionis. On the contrary, It is written (Is. 19:21): "(The Egyptians) shall worship Him with sacrifices and offerings and they shall make vows to the Lord, and perform them." Now, the worship of God is properly the act of religion or latria. Therefore, a vow is an act of latria or religion.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, omne opus virtutis ad religionem seu latriam pertinet per modum imperii, secundum quod ad divinam reverentiam ordinatur, quod est proprius finis latriae. Ordinare autem alios actus in manifestum est autem ex praedictis quod votum est quaedam imperatas. Et ideo ipsa ordinatio actuum cuiuscumque virtutis in servitium Dei est proprius actus latriae. I answer that, As stated above (Question [81], Article [1], ad 1), every act of virtue belongs to religion or latria by way of command, in so far as it is directed to the reverence of God which is the proper end of latria. Now the direction of other actions to their end belongs to the commanding virtue, not to those which are commanded. Therefore the direction of the acts of any virtue to the service of God is the proper act of latria.
Manifestum est autem ex praedictis quod votum est quaedam promissio Deo facta, et quod promissio nihil est aliud quam ordinatio quaedam eius quod promittitur in eum cui promittitur. Unde votum est ordinatio quaedam eorum quae quis vovet in divinum cultum seu obsequium. Et sic patet quod vovere proprie est actus latriae seu religionis. 42779] II-I Now, it is evident from what has been said above (Articles [1],2) that a vow is a promise made to God, and that a promise is nothing else than a directing of the thing promised to the person to whom the promise is made. Hence a vow is a directing of the thing vowed to the worship or service of God. And thus it is clear that to take a vow is properly an act of latria or religion.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illud quod cadit sub voto quandoque quidem est actus alterius virtutis, sicut ieiunare, continentiam servare; quandoque vero est actus religionis, sicut sacrificium offerre vel orare. Utrorumque tamen promissio Deo facta ad religionem pertinet, ratione iam dicta. Unde patet quod votorum quoddam pertinet ad religionem ratione solius promissionis Deo factae, quae est essentia voti, quandoque etiam ratione rei promissae, quae est voti materia. Reply to Objection 1: The matter of a vow is sometimes the act of another virtue, as, for instance, keeping the fast or observing continency; while sometimes it is an act of religion, as offering a sacrifice or praying. But promising either of them to God belongs to religion, for the reason given above. Hence it is evident that some vows belong to religion by reason only of the promise made to God, which is the essence of a vow, while others belong thereto by reason also of the thing promised, which is the matter of the vow.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui promittit, inquantum se obligat ad dandum, iam quodammodo dat, sicut dicitur fieri aliquid cum fit causa eius, quia effectus virtute continetur in causa. Et inde est quod non solum danti, sed etiam promittenti gratiae aguntur. Reply to Objection 2: He who promises something gives it already in as far as he binds himself to give it: even as a thing is said to be made when its cause is made, because the effect is contained virtually in its cause. This is why we thank not only a giver, but also one who promises to give.
Ad tertium dicendum quod votum soli Deo fit, sed promissio potest etiam fieri homini, et ipsa promissio boni quae fit homini potest cadere sub voto, inquantum est quoddam opus virtuosum. Et per hunc modum intelligendum est votum quo quis vovet aliquid sanctis vel praelatis, ut ipsa promissio facta sanctis vel praelatis cadat sub voto materialiter, inquantum scilicet homo vovet Deo se impleturum quod sanctis vel praelatis promittit. Reply to Objection 3: A vow is made to God alone, whereas a promise may be made to a man also: and this very promise of good, which is fore made to a man, may be the matter of a vow, and in so far as it is a virtuous act. This is how we are to understand vows whereby we vow something to the saints or to one's superiors: so that the promise made to the saints or to one's superiors is the matter of the vow, in so far as one vows to God to fulfil what one has promised to the saints or one's superiors.

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Whether it is more praiseworthy and meritorious to do something in fulfilment of a vow, than without a vow?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod magis sit laudabile et meritorium facere aliquid sine voto quam cum voto. Dicit enim prosper, in II de vita Contempl., sic abstinere vel ieiunare debemus ut non nos necessitati ieiunandi subdamus, ne iam non devoti, sed inviti rem voluntariam faciamus. Sed ille qui vovet ieiunium subdit se necessitati ieiunandi. Ergo melius esset si ieiunaret sine voto. Objection 1: It would seem that it is more praiseworthy and meritorious to do a thing without a vow than in fulfilment of a vow. Prosper says (De Vita Contempl. ii): "We should abstain or fast without putting ourselves under the necessity of fasting, lest that which we are free to do be done without devotion and unwillingly." Now he who vows to fast puts himself under the necessity of fasting. Therefore it would be better for him to fast without taking the vow.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, II Cor. IX, unusquisque prout destinavit in corde suo, non ex tristitia aut ex necessitate, hilarem enim datorem diligit Deus. Sed quidam ea quae vovent ex tristitia faciunt, et hoc videtur procedere ex necessitate quam votum imponit, quia necessitas contristans est, ut dicitur V Metaphys. Ergo melius est aliquid facere sine voto quam cum voto. Objection 2: Further, the Apostle says (2 Cor. 9:7): "Everyone as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." Now some fulfil sorrowfully what they have vowed: and this seems to be due to the necessity arising from the vow, for necessity is a cause of sorrow according to Metaph. v [*Ed. Did. iv, 5]. Therefore, it is better to do something without a vow, than in fulfilment of a vow.
Praeterea, votum necessarium est ad hoc quod firmetur voluntas hominis ad rem quam vovet, ut supra habitum est. Sed non magis potest firmari voluntas ad aliquid faciendum quam cum actu facit illud. Ergo non melius est facere aliquid cum voto quam sine voto. Objection 3: Further, a vow is necessary for the purpose of fixing the will on that which is vowed, as stated above (Article [4]). But the will cannot be more fixed on a thing than when it actually does that thing. Therefore it is no better to do a thing in fulfilment of a vow than without a vow.
Sed contra est quod super illud Psalm., vovete et reddite, dicit Glossa, vovere voluntati consulitur. Sed consilium non est nisi de meliori bono. Ergo melius est facere aliquod melius opus ex voto quam sine voto, quia qui facit sine voto, implet tantum unum consilium, scilicet de faciendo; qui autem facit cum voto, implet duo consilia, scilicet et vovendo et faciendo. On the contrary, A gloss on the words of Ps. 75:12, "Vow ye and pay," says: "Vows are counseled to the will." But a counsel is about none but a better good. Therefore it is better to do a deed in fulfilment of a vow than without a vow: since he that does it without a vow fulfils only one counsel, viz. the counsel to do it, whereas he that does it with a vow, fulfils two counsels, viz. the counsel to vow and the counsel to do it.
Respondeo dicendum quod triplici ratione facere idem opus cum voto est melius et magis meritorium quam facere sine voto. Primo quidem, quia vovere, sicut dictum est, est actus latriae, quae est praecipua inter virtutes morales. Nobilioris autem virtutis est opus melius et magis meritorium. Unde actus inferioris virtutis est melior et magis meritorius ex hoc quod imperatur a superiori virtute, cuius actus fit per imperium, sicut actus fidei vel spei melior est si imperetur a caritate. Et ideo actus aliarum virtutum moralium, puta ieiunare, quod est actus abstinentiae, et continere, quod est actus castitatis, sunt meliora et magis meritoria si fiant ex voto, quia sic iam pertinent ad divinum cultum, quasi quaedam Dei sacrificia. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de virginitate, quod neque ipsa virginitas quia virginitas est, sed quia Deo dicata est, honoratur; quam fovet et servat continentia pietatis. I answer that, For three reasons it is better and more meritorious to do one and the same deed with a vow than without. First, because to vow, as stated above (Article [5]) is an act of religion which is the chief of the moral virtues. Now the more excellent the virtue the better and more meritorious the deed. Wherefore the act of an inferior virtue is the better the more meritorious for being commanded by a superior virtue, whose act it becomes through being commanded by it, just as the act of faith or hope is better if it be commanded by charity. Hence the works of the other moral virtues (for instance, fasting, which is an act of abstinence; and being continent, which is an act of chastity) are better and more meritorious, if they be done in fulfilment of a vow, since thus they belong to the divine worship, being like sacrifices to God. Wherefore Augustine says (De Virg. viii) that "not even is virginity honorable as such, but only when it is consecrated to God, and cherished by godly continence."
Secundo, quia ille qui vovet aliquid et facit, plus se Deo subiicit quam ille qui solum facit. Subiicit enim se Deo non solum quantum ad actum sed etiam quantum ad potestatem, quia de cetero, non potest aliud facere, sicut plus daret homini qui daret ei arborem cum fructibus quam qui daret ei fructus tantum, ut dicit Anselmus, in libro de Similitud. Et inde est quod etiam promittentibus gratiae aguntur, ut dictum est. Secondly, because he that vows something and does it, subjects himself to God more than he that only does it; for he subjects himself to God not only as to the act, but also as to the power, since in future he cannot do something else. Even so he gives more who gives the tree with its fruit, than he that gives the fruit only, as Anselm [*Eadmer] observes (De Simil. viii). For this reason, we thank even those who promise, as stated above (Article [5], ad 2).
Tertio, quia per votum immobiliter voluntas firmatur in bonum. Facere autem aliquid ex voluntate firmata in bonum pertinet ad perfectionem virtutis, ut patet per philosophum, in II Ethic., sicut etiam peccare mente obstinata aggravat peccatum, et dicitur peccatum in spiritum sanctum, ut supra dictum est. Thirdly, because a vow fixes the will on the good immovably and to do anything of a will that is fixed on the good belongs to the perfection of virtue, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 4), just as to sin with an obstinate mind aggravates the sin, and is called a sin against the Holy Ghost, as stated above (Question [14], Article [2]).
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritas illa est intelligenda de necessitate coactionis, quae involuntarium causat et devotionem excludit. Unde signanter dicit, ne iam non devoti, sed inviti rem voluntariam faciamus. Necessitas autem voti est per immutabilitatem voluntatis, unde et voluntatem confirmat et devotionem auget. Et ideo ratio non sequitur. Reply to Objection 1: The passage quoted should be understood as referring to necessity of coercion which causes an act to be involuntary and excludes devotion. Hence he says pointedly: "Lest that which we are free to do be done without devotion and unwillingly." On the other hand the necessity resulting from a vow is caused by the immobility of the will, wherefore it strengthens the will and increases devotion. Hence the argument does not conclude.
Ad secundum dicendum quod necessitas coactionis, inquantum est contraria voluntati, tristitiam causat, secundum philosophum. Necessitas autem voti in his qui sunt bene dispositi, inquantum voluntatem confirmat, non causat tristitiam, sed gaudium. Unde Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Armentarium et Paulinam, non te vovisse poeniteat, immo gaude iam tibi sic non licere quod cum tuo detrimento licuisset. Si tamen ipsum opus, secundum se consideratum, triste et involuntarium redderetur post votum, dum tamen remaneat voluntas votum implendi, adhuc est magis meritorium quam si fieret sine voto, quia impletio voti est actus religionis, quae est potior virtus quam abstinentia, cuius actus est ieiunare. Reply to Objection 2: According to the Philosopher, necessity of coercion, in so far as it is opposed to the will, causes sorrow. But the necessity resulting from a vow, in those who are well disposed, in so far as it strengthens the will, causes not sorrow but joy. Hence Augustine says (Ep. ad Arment. et Paulin. cxxcii): "Repent not of thy vow: thou shouldst rather rejoice that thou canst no longer do what thou mightest lawfully have done to thy detriment." If, however, the very deed, considered in itself, were to become disagreeable and involuntary after one has taken the vow, the will to fulfil it remaining withal, it is still more meritorious than if it were done without the vow, since the fulfilment of a vow is an act of religion which is a greater virtue than abstinence, of which fasting is an act.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ille qui facit aliquid sine voto habet immobilem voluntatem respectu illius operis singularis quod facit, et tunc quando facit, non autem manet voluntas eius omnino firmata in futurum, sicut voventis, qui suam voluntatem obligavit ad aliquid faciendum et antequam faceret illud singulare opus, et fortasse ad pluries faciendum. Reply to Objection 3: He who does something without having vowed it has an immovable will as regards the individual deed which he does and at the time when he does it; but his will does not remain altogether fixed for the time to come, as does the will of one who makes a vow: for the latter has bound his will to do something, both before he did that particular deed, and perchance to do it many times.

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Article: 7  [ << | >> ]

Whether a vow is solemnized by the reception of holy orders, and by the profession of a certain rule?

Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod votum non solemnizetur per susceptionem sacri ordinis, et per professionem ad certam regulam. Votum enim, ut dictum est, promissio Deo facta est. Ea vero quae exterius aguntur ad solemnitatem pertinentia non videntur ordinari ad Deum, sed ad homines. Ergo per accidens se habent ad votum. Non ergo solemnitas talis est propria conditio voti. Objection 1: It would seem that a vow is not solemnized by the reception of holy orders and by the profession of a certain rule. As stated above (Article [1]), a vow is a promise made to God. Now external actions pertaining to solemnity seem to be directed, not to God, but to men. Therefore they are related to vows accidentally: and consequently a solemnization of this kind is not a proper circumstance of a vow.
Praeterea, illud quod pertinet ad conditionem alicuius rei, videtur posse competere omnibus illis in quibus res illa invenitur. Sed multa possunt sub voto cadere quae non pertinent neque ad sacrum ordinem, neque pertinent ad aliquam certam regulam, sicut cum quis vovet peregrinationem, aut aliquid huiusmodi. Ergo solemnitas quae fit in susceptione sacri ordinis vel in promissione certae regulae, non pertinet ad conditionem voti. Objection 2: Further, whatever belongs to the condition of a thing, would seem to be applicable to all in which that thing is found. Now many things may be the subject of a vow, which have no connection either with holy orders, or to any particular rule: as when a man vows a pilgrimage, or something of the kind. Therefore the solemnization that takes place in the reception of holy orders or in the profession of a certain rule does not belong to the condition of a vow.
Praeterea, votum solemne idem videtur esse quod votum publicum. Sed multa alia vota possunt fieri in publico quam votum quod emittitur in susceptione sacri ordinis vel professione certae regulae, et huiusmodi etiam vota possunt fieri in occulto. Ergo non solum huiusmodi vota sunt solemnia. Objection 3: Further, a solemn vow seems to be the same as a public vow. Now many other vows may be made in public besides that which is pronounced in receiving holy orders or in professing a certain rule; which latter, moreover, may be made in private. Therefore not only these vows are solemn.
Sed contra est quod solum huiusmodi vota impediunt matrimonium contrahendum et dirimunt iam contractum; quod est effectus voti solemnis, ut infra dicetur in tertia huius operis parte. On the contrary, These vows alone are an impediment to the contract of marriage, and annul marriage if it be contracted, which is the effect of a solemn vow, as we shall state further on in the Third Part of this work [*XP, Question [53], Article [2]].
Respondeo dicendum quod unicuique rei solemnitas adhibetur secundum illius rei conditionem, sicut alia est solemnitas novae militiae, scilicet in quodam apparatu equorum et armorum et concursu militum; et alia solemnitas nuptiarum, quae consistit in apparatu sponsi et sponsae et conventu propinquorum. Votum autem est promissio Deo facta. Unde solemnitas voti attenditur secundum aliquid spirituale, quod ad Deum pertineat, idest secundum aliquam spiritualem benedictionem vel consecrationem, quae ex institutione apostolorum adhibetur in professione certae regulae, secundo gradu post sacri ordinis susceptionem, ut Dionysius dicit, VI cap. Eccles. Hier. Et huius ratio est quia solemnitates non consueverunt adhiberi nisi quando aliquis totaliter mancipatur alicui rei, non enim solemnitas nuptialis adhibetur nisi in celebratione matrimonii, quando uterque coniugum sui corporis potestatem alteri tradit. Et similiter voti solemnitas adhibetur quando aliquis per susceptionem sacri ordinis divino ministerio applicatur; et in professione certae regulae, quando per abrenuntiationem saeculi et propriae voluntatis aliquis statum perfectionis assumit. I answer that, The manner in which a thing is solemnized depends on its nature [conditio]: thus when a man takes up arms he solemnizes the fact in one way, namely, with a certain display of horses and arms and a concourse of soldiers, while a marriage is solemnized in another way, namely, the array of the bridegroom and bride and the gathering of their kindred. Now a vow is a promise made to God: wherefore, the solemnization of a vow consists in something spiritual pertaining to God; i.e. in some spiritual blessing or consecration which, in accordance with the institution of the apostles, is given when a man makes profession of observing a certain rule, in the second degree after the reception of holy orders, as Dionysius states (Eccl. Hier. vi). The reason of this is that solemnization is not wont to be employed, save when a man gives himself up entirely to some particular thing. For the nuptial solemnization takes place only when the marriage is celebrated, and when the bride and bridegroom mutually deliver the power over their bodies to one another. In like manner a vow is solemnized when a man devotes himself to the divine ministry by receiving holy orders, or embraces the state of perfection by renouncing the world and his own will by the profession of a certain rule.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod huiusmodi solemnitas pertinet non solum ad homines, sed ad Deum, inquantum habet aliquam spiritualem consecrationem seu benedictionem, cuius Deus est auctor, etsi homo sit minister, secundum illud Num. VI, invocabunt nomen meum super filios Israel, et ego benedicam eis. Et ideo votum solemne habet fortiorem obligationem apud Deum quam votum simplex; et gravius peccat qui illud transgreditur. Quod autem dicitur quod votum simplex non minus obligat apud Deum quam solemne, intelligendum est quantum ad hoc quod utriusque transgressor peccat mortaliter. Reply to Objection 1: This kind of solemnization regards not only men but also God in so far as it is accompanied by a spiritual consecration or blessing, of which God is the author, though man is the minister, according to Num. 6:27, "They shall invoke My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." Hence a solemn vow is more binding with God than a simple vow, and he who breaks a solemn vow sins more grievously. When it is said that a simple vow is no less binding than a solemn vow, this refers to the fact that the transgressor of either commits a mortal sin.
Ad secundum dicendum quod particularibus actibus non consuevit solemnitas adhiberi, sed assumptioni novi status, ut dictum est. Et ideo cum quis vovet aliqua particularia opera, sicut aliquam peregrinationem vel aliquod speciale ieiunium, tali voto non congruit solemnitas, sed solum voto quo aliquis totaliter se subiicit divino ministerio seu famulatui; in quo tamen voto, quasi universali, multa particularia opera comprehenduntur. Reply to Objection 2: It is not customary to solemnize particular acts, but the embracing of a new state, as we have said above. Hence when a man vows particular deeds, such as a pilgrimage, or some special fast, such a vow is not competent to be solemnized, but only such as the vow whereby a man entirely devotes himself to the divine ministry or service: and yet many particular works are included under this vow as under a universal.
Ad tertium dicendum quod vota ex hoc quod fiunt in publico possunt habere quandam solemnitatem humanam, non autem solemnitatem spiritualem et divinam, sicut habent vota praemissa, etiam si coram paucis fiant. Unde aliud est votum esse publicum, et aliud esse solemne. Reply to Objection 3: Through being pronounced in public vows may have a certain human solemnity, but not a spiritual and divine solemnity, as the aforesaid vows have, even when they are pronounced before a few persons. Hence the publicity of a vow differs from its solemnization.

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Whether those who are subject to another's power are hindered from taking vows?

Ad octavum sic proceditur. Videtur quod illi qui sunt alterius potestati subiecti non impediantur a vovendo. Minus enim vinculum superatur a maiori. Sed obligatio qua quis subiicitur homini est minus vinculum quam votum, per quod aliquis obligatur Deo. Ergo illi qui sunt alienae potestati subiecti non impediuntur a vovendo. Objection 1: It would seem that those who are subject to another's power are not hindered from taking vows. The lesser bond is surpassed by the greater. Now the obligation of one man subject to another is a lesser bond than a vow whereby one is under an obligation to God. Therefore those who are subject to another's power are not hindered from taking vows.
Praeterea, filii sunt in potestate patris. Sed filii possunt profiteri in aliqua religione etiam sine voluntate parentum. Ergo non impeditur aliquis a vovendo per hoc quod est subiectus potestati alterius. Objection 2: Further, children are under their parents' power. Yet children may make religious profession even without the consent of their parents. Therefore one is not hindered from taking vows, through being subject to another's power.
Praeterea, maius est facere quam promittere. Sed religiosi qui sunt sub potestate praelatorum possunt aliqua facere sine licentia suorum praelatorum, puta dicere aliquos Psalmos, vel facere aliquas abstinentias. Ergo videtur quod multo magis possunt huiusmodi vovendo Deo promittere. Objection 3: Further, to do is more than to promise. But religious who are under the power of their superiors can do certain things such as to say some psalms, or abstain from certain things. Much more therefore seemingly can they promise such things to God by means of vows.
Praeterea, quicumque facit quod de iure facere non potest, peccat. Sed subditi non peccant vovendo, quia hoc nunquam invenitur prohibitum. Ergo videtur quod de iure possunt vover Objection 4: Further, whoever does what he cannot do lawfully sins. But subjects do not sin by taking vows, since nowhere do we find this forbidden. Therefore it would seem that they can lawfully take vows.
Sed contra est quod Num. XXX mandatur quod, si mulier in domo patris sui, et adhuc in puellari aetate, aliquid voverit, non tenetur rea voti nisi pater eius consenserit. Et idem dicit de muliere habente virum. Ergo, pari ratione, nec aliae personae alterius potestati subiectae possunt se voto obligare. On the contrary, It is commanded (Num. 30:4-6) that "if a woman vow any thing... being in her father's house, and yet but a girl in age," she is not bound by the vow, unless her father consent: and the same is said there (Num. 30:7-9) of the woman that has a husband. Therefore in like manner other persons that are subject to another's power cannot bind themselves by vow.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, votum est promissio quaedam Deo facta. Nullus autem potest per promissionem se firmiter obligare ad id quod est in potestate alterius, sed solum ad id quod est omnino in sua potestate. Quicumque autem est subiectus alicui, quantum ad id in quo est subiectus, non est suae potestatis facere quod vult, sed dependet ex voluntate alterius. Et ideo non potest se per votum firmiter obligare, in his in quibus alteri subiicitur, sine consensu sui superioris. I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), a vow is a promise made to God. Now no man can firmly bind himself by a promise to do what is in another's power, but only to that which is entirely in his own power. Now whoever is subject to another, as to the matter wherein he is subject to him, it does not lie in his power to do as he will, but it depends on the will of the other. And therefore without the consent of his superior he cannot bind himself firmly by a vow in those matters wherein he is subject to another.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sub promissione Deo facta non cadit nisi quod est virtuosum, ut supra dictum est. Est autem contra virtutem ut id quod est alterius homo offerat Deo, ut supra dictum est. Et ideo non potest omnino salvari ratio voti, cum quis in potestate constitutus vovet id quod est in potestate alterius, nisi sub conditione si ille ad cuius potestatem pertinet non contradicat. Reply to Objection 1: Nothing but what is virtuous can be the subject of a promise made to God, as stated above (Article [2]). Now it is contrary to virtue for a man to offer to God that which belongs to another, as stated above (Question [86], Article [3]). Hence the conditions necessary for a vow are not altogether ensured, when a man who is under another's power vows that which is in that other's power, except under the condition that he whose power it concerns does not gainsay it.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ex quo homo venit ad annos pubertatis, si sit liberae conditionis, est suae potestatis quantum ad ea quae pertinent ad suam personam, puta quod obliget se religioni per votum, vel quod matrimonium contrahat. Non autem est suae potestatis quantum ad dispensationem domesticam. Unde circa hoc non potest aliquid vovere quod sit ratum, sine consensu patris. Reply to Objection 2: As soon as a man comes of age, if he be a freeman he is in his own power in all matters concerning his person, for instance with regard to binding himself by vow to enter religion, or with regard to contracting marriage. But he is not in his own power as regards the arrangements of the household, so that in these matters he cannot vow anything that shall be valid without the consent of his father.
Servus autem, quia est in potestate domini etiam quantum ad personales operationes, non potest se voto obligare ad religionem, per quam ab obsequio domini sui abstraheretur. A slave, through being in his master's power, even as regards his personal deeds, cannot bind himself by vow to enter religion, since this would withdraw him from his master's service.
Ad tertium dicendum quod religiosus subditus est praelato quantum ad suas operationes secundum professionem regulae. Et ideo etiam si aliquis ad horam aliquid facere possit quando ad alia non occupatur a praelato, quia tamen nullum tempus est exceptum in quo praelatus non possit eum circa aliquid occupare, nullum votum religiosi est firmum nisi sit de consensu praelati. Sicut nec votum puellae existentis in domo, nisi sit de consensu patris, nec uxoris, nisi de consensu viri. Reply to Objection 3: A religious is subject to his superior as to his actions connected with his profession of his rule. Wherefore even though one may be able to do something now and then, when one is not being occupied with other things by one's superior, yet since there is no time when his superior cannot occupy him with something, no vow of a religious stands without the consent of his superior, as neither does the vow of a girl while in (her father's) house without his consent; nor of a wife, without the consent of her husband.
Ad quartum dicendum quod licet votum eorum qui sunt alterius potestati subiecti non sit firmum sine consensu eorum quibus subiiciuntur, non tamen peccant vovendo, quia in eorum voto intelligitur debita conditio, scilicet si suis superioribus placuerit, vel non renitantur. Reply to Objection 4: Although the vow of one who is subject to another's power does not stand without the consent of the one to whom he is subject, he does not sin by vowing; because his vow is understood to contain the requisite condition, providing, namely, that his superior approve or do not gainsay it.

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Whether children can bind themselves by vow to enter religion?

Ad nonum sic proceditur. Videtur quod pueri non possint voto se obligare ad religionis ingressum. Cum enim ad votum requiratur animi deliberatio, non competit vovere nisi illis qui habent usum rationis. Sed hoc deficit in pueris, sicut et in amentibus vel furiosis. Sicut ergo amentes et furiosi non possunt se ad aliquid voto adstringere, ita etiam nec pueri, ut videtur, possunt se voto obligare religioni. Objection 1: It would seem that children cannot bind themselves by vow to enter religion. Since a vow requires deliberation of the mind, it is fitting that those alone should vow who have the use of reason. But this is lacking in children just as in imbeciles and madmen. Therefore just as imbeciles and madmen cannot bind themselves to anything by vow, so neither, seemingly, can children bind themselves by vow to enter religion.
Praeterea, illud quod rite potest ab aliquo fieri, non potest ab alio irritari. Sed votum religionis a puero vel puella factum ante annos pubertatis potest a parentibus revocari, vel a tutore, ut habetur XX, qu. II, cap. puella. Ergo videtur quod puer vel puella, ante quatuordecim annos, non possit rite vovere. Objection 2: Further, that which can be validly done by one cannot be annulled by another. Now a vow to enter religion made by a boy or girl before the age of puberty can be revoked by the parents or guardian (20, qu. ii, cap. Puella). Therefore it seems that a boy or girl cannot validly make a vow before the age of fourteen.
Praeterea, religionem intrantibus annus probationis conceditur, secundum regulam beati Benedicti et secundum statutum Innocentii IV, ad hoc quod probatio obligationem voti praecedat. Ergo illicitum videtur esse quod pueri voto obligentur ad religionem ante probationis annum. Objection 3: Further, according to the rule of Blessed Benedict [*Ch. 58] and a statute of Innocent IV, a year's probation is granted to those who enter religion, so that probation may precede the obligation of the vow. Therefore it seems unlawful, before the year of probation, for children to be bound by vow to enter religion.
Sed contra, illud quod non est rite factum non est validum, etiam si a nullo revocetur. Sed votum puellae, etiam ante annos pubertatis emissum, validum est si infra annum a parentibus non revocetur, ut habetur XX, qu. II, cap. puella. Ergo licite et rite possunt pueri voto obligari ad religionem, etiam ante annos pubertatis. On the contrary, That which is not done aright is invalid without being annulled by anyone. But the vow pronounced by a maiden, even before attaining the age of puberty, is valid, unless it be annulled by her parents within a year (20, qu. ii, cap. Puella). Therefore even before attaining to puberty children can lawfully and validly be bound by a vow to enter religion.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex praedictis patet, duplex est votum, scilicet simplex, et solemne. Et quia solemnitas voti in quadam spirituali benedictione et consecratione consistit, ut dictum est, quae fit per ministerium Ecclesiae; ideo solemnizatio voti sub dispensatione Ecclesiae cadit. Votum autem simplex efficaciam habet ex deliberatione animi, qua quis se obligare intendit. Quod autem talis obligatio robur non habeat, dupliciter potest contingere. Uno quidem modo, propter defectum rationis, sicut patet in furiosis et amentibus, qui se voto non possunt obligare ad aliquid, dum sunt in furia vel amentia. Alio modo, quia ille qui vovet est alterius potestati subiectus, ut supra dictum est. Et ista duo concurrunt in pueris ante annos pubertatis, quia et patiuntur rationis defectum, ut in pluribus; et sunt naturaliter sub cura parentum, vel tutorum, qui sunt eis loco parentum. Et ideo eorum vota ex duplici causa robur non habent. Contingit tamen, propter naturae dispositionem, quae legibus humanis non subditur, in aliquibus, licet paucis, accelerari rationis usum, qui ob hoc dicuntur doli capaces. Nec tamen propter hoc in aliquo eximuntur a cura parentum, quae subiacet legi humanae respicienti ad id quod frequentius accidit. I answer that, As may be gathered from what has been said above (Article [7]), vows are of two kinds, simple and solemn. And since, as stated in the same article, the solemnization of a vow consists in a spiritual blessing and consecration bestowed through the ministry of the Church, it follows that it comes under the Church's dispensation. Now a simple vow takes its efficacy from the deliberation of the mind, whereby one intends to put oneself under an obligation. That such an obligation be of no force may happen in two ways. First, through defect of reason, as in madmen and imbeciles, who cannot bind themselves by vow so long as they remain in a state of madness or imbecility. Secondly, through the maker of a vow being subject to another's power, as stated above (Article [8]). Now these two circumstances concur in children before the age of puberty, because in most instances they are lacking in reason, and besides are naturally under the care of their parents, or guardians in place of their parents: wherefore in both events their vows are without force. It happens, however, through a natural disposition which is not subject to human laws, that the use of reason is accelerated in some, albeit few, who on this account are said to be capable of guile: and yet they are not, for this reason, exempt in any way from the care of their parents; for this care is subject to human law, which takes into account that which is of most frequent occurrence.
Est ergo dicendum quod si puer vel puella, ante pubertatis annos, nondum habeat usum rationis, nullo modo potest se ad aliquid voto obligare. Si vero ante annos pubertatis attigerit usum rationis, potest quidem, quantum in ipso est, se obligare, sed votum eius potest irritari per parentes, quorum curae remanet adhuc subiectus. Accordingly we must say that boys or girls who have not reached the years of puberty and have not attained the use of reason can nowise bind themselves to anything by vow. If, however, they attain the use of reason, before reaching the years of puberty, they can for their own part, bind themselves by vow; but their vows can be annulled by their parents, under whose care they are still subject.
Quantumcumque tamen sit doli capax, ante annos pubertatis non potest obligari voto solemni religionis, propter Ecclesiae statutum, quod respicit id quod in pluribus accidit. Post annos autem pubertatis, possunt iam se voto religionis obligare, vel simplici vel solemni, absque voluntate parentum. Yet no matter how much they be capable of guile before the years of puberty, they cannot be bound by a solemn religious vow, on account of the Church's decree [*Sext. Decret. cap. Is qui, de Reg. et transeunt. ad Relig.] which considers the majority of cases. But after the years of puberty have been reached, they can bind themselves by religious vows, simple or solemn, without the consent of their parents.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de pueris qui nondum attigerunt usum rationis, quorum vota sunt invalida, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 1: This argument avails in the case of children who have not yet reached the use of reason: for their vows then are invalid, as stated above.
Ad secundum dicendum quod vota eorum qui sunt in potestate aliorum habent conditionem implicitam, scilicet si non revocentur a superiori, ex qua licita redduntur, et valida si conditio extat, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 2: The vows of persons subject to another's power contain an implied condition, namely, that they be not annulled by the superior. This condition renders them licit and valid if it be fulfilled, as stated above.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de voto solemni quod fit per professionem. Reply to Objection 3: This argument avails in the case of solemn vows which are taken in profession.

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Whether vows admit of dispensation?

Ad decimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in voto dispensari non possit. Minus enim est commutari votum quam in eo dispensari. Sed votum non potest commutari, dicitur enim Levit. XXVII, animal quod immolari potest domino, si quis voverit, sanctum erit, et mutari non poterit, nec melius malo nec peius bono. Ergo multo minus potest dispensari in voto. Objection 1: It would seem that vows are not subject to dispensation. It is less to have a vow commuted than to be dispensed from keeping it. But a vow cannot be commuted, according to Lev. 27:9,10, "A beast that may be sacrificed to the Lord, if anyone shall vow, shall be holy, and cannot be changed, neither a better for a worse, nor a worse for a better." Much less, therefore, do vows admit of dispensation.
raeterea, in his quae sunt de lege naturae et in praeceptis divinis non potest per hominem dispensari, et praecipue in praeceptis primae tabulae, quae ordinantur directe ad dilectionem Dei, quae est ultimus praeceptorum finis. Sed implere votum est de lege naturae; et est etiam praeceptum legis divinae, ut ex supra dictis patet; et pertinet ad praecepta primae tabulae, cum sit actus latriae. Ergo in voto dispensari non potest. Objection 2: Further, no man can grant a dispensation in matters concerning the natural law and in the Divine precepts, especially those of the First Table, since these aim directly at the love of God, which is the last end of the precepts. Now the fulfilment of a vow is a matter of the natural law, and is commanded by the Divine law, as shown above (Article [3]), and belongs to the precepts of the First Table since it is an act of religion. Therefore vows do not admit of dispensation.
Praeterea, obligatio voti fundatur super fidelitatem quam homo debet Deo, ut dictum est. Sed in hac nullus potest dispensare. Ergo nec in voto. Objection 3: Further, the obligation of a vow is based on the fidelity which a man owes to God, as stated above (Article [3]). But no man can dispense in such a matter as this. Neither, therefore, can any one grant a dispensation from a vow.
Sed contra, maioris firmitatis esse videtur quod procedit ex communi voluntate quam quod procedit ex singulari voluntate alicuius personae. Sed in lege, quae habet robur ex communi voluntate, potest per hominem dispensari. Ergo videtur quod etiam in voto per hominem dispensari possit. On the contrary, That which proceeds from the common will of many has apparently greater stability than that which proceeds from the individual will of some one person. Now the law which derives its force from the common will admits of dispensation by a man. Therefore it seems that vows also admit of dispensation by a man.
Respondeo dicendum quod dispensatio voti intelligenda est ad modum dispensationis quae fit in observantia alicuius legis. Quia, ut supra dictum est, lex ponitur respiciendo ad id quod est ut in pluribus bonum, sed quia contingit huiusmodi in aliquo casu non esse bonum, oportuit per aliquem determinari in illo particulari casu legem non esse servandam. Et hoc proprie est dispensare in lege, nam dispensatio videtur importare commensuratam quandam distributionem vel applicationem communis alicuius ad ea quae sub ipso continentur, per quem modum dicitur aliquis dispensare cibum familiae. I answer that, The dispensation from a vow is to be taken in the same sense as a dispensation given in the observance of a law because, as stated above (FS, Question [96], Article [6]; FS, Question [97], Article [4]), a law is made with an eye to that which is good in the majority of instances. But since, in certain cases this is not good, there is need for someone to decide that in that particular case the law is not to be observed. This is properly speaking to dispense in the law: for a dispensation would seem to denote a commensurate distribution or application of some common thing to those that are contained under it, in the same way as a person is said to dispense food to a household.
Similiter autem ille qui vovet quodammodo sibi statuit legem, obligans se ad aliquid quod est secundum se et in pluribus bonum. Potest tamen contingere quod in aliquo casu sit vel simpliciter malum, vel inutile, vel maioris boni impeditivum, quod est contra rationem eius quod cadit sub voto, ut ex praedictis patet. Et ideo necesse est quod determinetur in tali casu votum non esse servandum. Et si quidem absolute determinetur aliquod votum non esse servandum, dicitur esse dispensatio voti. Si autem pro hoc quod servandum erat aliquid aliud imponatur, dicitur commutatio voti. Unde minus est votum commutare quam in voto dispensare. Utrumque tamen in potestate Ecclesiae consistit. In like manner a person who takes a vow makes a law for himself as it were, and binds himself to do something which in itself and in the majority of cases is a good. But it may happen that in some particular case this is simply evil, or useless, or a hindrance to a greater good: and this is essentially contrary to that which is the matter of a vow, as is clear from what has been said above (Article [2]). Therefore it is necessary, in such a case, to decide that the vow is not to be observed. And if it be decided absolutely that a particular vow is not to be observed, this is called a "dispensation" from that vow; but if some other obligation be imposed in lieu of that which was to have been observed, the vow is said to be "commuted." Hence it is less to commute a vow than to dispense from a vow: both, however, are in the power of the Church.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod animal quod immolari poterat, ex hoc ipso quod vovebatur, sanctum reputabatur, quasi divino cultui mancipatum, et haec erat ratio quare non poterat commutari; sicut nec modo posset aliquis rem quam vovit, iam consecratam, puta calicem vel domum, commutare in melius vel in peius. Animal autem quod non poterat sanctificari quia non erat immolatitium, redimi poterat et debebat, sicut ibidem lex dicit. Et ita etiam nunc commutari possunt vota si consecratio non interveniat. Reply to Objection 1: An animal that could be lawfully sacrificed was deemed holy from the very moment that it was the subject of a vow, being, as it were, dedicated to the worship of God: and for this reason it could not be changed: even so neither may one now exchange for something better, or worse, that which one has vowed, if it be already consecrated, e.g. a chalice or a house. On the other hand, an animal that could not be sacrificed, through not being the lawful matter of a sacrifice, could and had to be bought back, as the law requires. Even so, vows can be commuted now, if no consecration has intervened.
Ad secundum dicendum quod sicut ex iure naturali et praecepto divino tenetur homo implere votum, ita etiam tenetur ex eisdem obedire superiorum legi vel mandato. Et tamen cum dispensatur in aliqua lege humana, non fit ut legi humanae non obediatur, quod est contra legem naturae et mandatum divinum, sed fit ut hoc quod erat lex, non sit lex in hoc casu. Ita etiam auctoritate superioris dispensantis fit ut hoc quod continebatur sub voto, non contineatur, inquantum determinatur in hoc casu hoc non esse congruam materiam voti. Et ideo cum praelatus Ecclesiae dispensat in voto, non dispensat in praecepto iuris naturalis vel divini, sed determinat id quod cadebat sub obligatione deliberationis humanae, quae non potuit omnia circumspicere. Reply to Objection 2: Even as man is bound by natural law and Divine precept to fulfil his vow, so, too, is he bound under the same heads to obey the law or commands of his superiors. And yet when he is dispensed from keeping a human law, this does not involve disobedience to that human law, for this would be contrary to the natural law and the Divine command; but it amounts to this—that what was law is not law in this particular case. Even so, when a superior grants a dispensation, that which was contained under a vow is by his authority no longer so contained, in so far as he decides that in this case such and such a thing is not fitting matter for a vow. Consequently when an ecclesiastical superior dispenses someone from a vow, he does not dispense him from keeping a precept of the natural or of the Divine law, but he pronounces a decision on a matter to which a man had bound himself of his own accord, and of which he was unable to consider every circumstance.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ad fidelitatem Deo debitam non pertinet quod homo faciat id quod ad vovendum est malum, vel inutile, vel maioris boni impeditivum, ad quod tendit voti dispensatio. Et ideo dispensatio voti non est contra fidelitatem Deo debitam. Reply to Objection 3: The fidelity we owe to God does not require that we fulfil that which it would be wrong or useless to vow, or which would be an obstacle to the greater good whereunto the dispensation from that vow would conduce. Hence the dispensation from a vow is not contrary to the fidelity due to God.

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Whether it is possible to be dispensed from a solemn vow of continency?

Ad undecimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in voto solemni continentiae possit fieri dispensatio. Una enim ratio dispensandi in voto est si sit impeditivum melioris boni, sicut dictum est. Sed votum continentiae, etiam si sit solemne, potest esse impeditivum melioris boni, nam bonum commune est divinius quam bonum unius; potest autem per continentiam alicuius impediri bonum totius multitudinis, puta si quando per contractum matrimonii aliquarum personarum quae continentiam voverunt, posset pax patriae procurari. Ergo videtur quod in solemni voto continentiae possit dispensari. Objection 1: It would seem that it is possible to be dispensed from a solemn vow of continency. As stated above, one reason for granting a dispensation from a vow is if it be an obstacle to a greater good. But a vow of continency, even though it be solemn, may be an obstacle to a greater good, since the common good is more God-like than the good of an individual. Now one man's continency may be an obstacle to the good of the whole community, for instance, in the case where, if certain persons who have vowed continency were to marry, the peace of their country might be procured. Therefore it seems that it is possible to be dispensed even from a solemn vow of continency.
Praeterea, latria est nobilior virtus quam castitas. Sed si quis voveat aliquem actum latriae, puta offerre Deo sacrificium, potest in illo voto dispensari. Ergo multo magis potest dispensari in voto continentiae, quod est de actu castitatis. Objection 2: Further, religion is a more excellent virtue than chastity. Now if a man vows an act of religion, e.g. to offer sacrifice to God he can be dispensed from that vow. Much more, therefore, can he be dispensed from the vow of continency which is about an act of chastity.
Praeterea, sicut votum abstinentiae observatum potest vergere in periculum personae, ita etiam observatio voti continentiae. Sed in voto abstinentiae, si vergat in corporale periculum voventis, potest fieri dispensatio. Ergo etiam, pari ratione, in voto continentiae potest dispensari. Objection 3: Further, just as the observance of a vow of abstinence may be a source of danger to the person, so too may be the observance of a vow of continency. Now one who takes a vow of abstinence can be dispensed from that vow if it prove a source of danger to his body. Therefore for the same reason one may be dispensed from a vow of continency.
Praeterea, sicut sub professione religionis, ex qua votum solemnizatur, continetur votum continentiae, ita etiam et votum paupertatis et obedientiae. Sed in voto paupertatis et obedientiae potest dispensari, sicut patet in illis qui post professionem ad episcopatum assumuntur. Ergo videtur quod in solemni voto continentiae possit dispensari. Objection 4: Further, just as the vow of continency is part of the religious profession, whereby the vow is solemnized, so also are the vows of poverty and obedience. But it is possible to be dispensed from the vows of poverty and obedience, as in the case of those who are appointed bishops after making profession. Therefore it seems that it is possible to be dispensed from a solemn vow of continency.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Eccli. XXVI, omnis ponderatio non est digna animae continentis. On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 26:20): "No price is worthy of a continent soul."
Praeterea, extra, de statu Monach., in fine illius decretalis, cum ad monasterium, dicitur, abdicatio proprietatis, sicut etiam custodia castitatis, adeo est annexa regulae monachali ut contra eam nec summus pontifex possit indulgere. Further, (Extra, De Statu Monach.) at the end of the Decretal, Cum ad Monasterium it is stated that the "renouncing of property, like the keeping of chastity, is so bound up with the monastic rule, that not even the Sovereign Pontiff can disperse from its observance."
Respondeo dicendum quod in solemni voto continentiae tria possunt considerari, primo quidem, materia voti, scilicet ipsa continentia; secundo, perpetuitas voti, cum scilicet aliquis voto se adstringit ad perpetuam observantiam continentiae; tertio, ipsa solemnitas voti. Dicunt ergo quidam quod votum solemne est indispensabile ratione ipsius continentiae, quae non recipit condignam recompensationem, ut patet ex auctoritate inducta. Cuius rationem quidam assignant quia per continentiam homo triumphat de domestico inimico, vel quia per continentiam homo perfecte conformatur Christo, secundum puritatem animae et corporis. Sed hoc non videtur efficaciter dici. Quia bona animae, utpote contemplatio et oratio, sunt multo meliora bonis corporis, et magis nos Deo conformant, et tamen potest dispensari in voto orationis vel contemplationis. Unde non videtur esse ratio quare non possit dispensari in voto continentiae, si respiciatur absolute ad ipsam continentiae dignitatem. Praesertim cum apostolus, I ad Cor. VII, ad continentiam inducat propter contemplationem, dicens quod mulier innupta cogitat quae Dei sunt, finis autem potior est his quae sunt ad finem. I answer that, Three things may be considered in a solemn vow of continency: first, the matter of the vow, namely, continency; secondly, the perpetuity of the vow, namely, when a person binds himself by vow to the perpetual observance of chastity: thirdly, the solemnity of the vow. Accordingly, some [*William of Auxerre, Sum. Aur. III. vii. 1, qu. 5] say that the solemn vow cannot be a matter of dispensation, on account of the continency itself for which no worthy price can be found, as is stated by the authority quoted above. The reason for this is assigned by some to the fact that by continency man overcomes a foe within himself, or to the fact that by continency man is perfectly conformed to Christ in respect of purity of both body and soul. But this reason does not seem to be cogent since the goods of the soul, such as contemplation and prayer, far surpass the goods of the body and still more conform us to God, and yet one may be dispensed from a vow of prayer or contemplation. Therefore, continency itself absolutely considered seems no reason why the solemn vow thereof cannot be a matter of dispensation; especially seeing that the Apostle (1 Cor. 7:34) exhorts us to be continent on account of contemplation, when he says that the unmarried woman... "thinketh on the things of God [Vulg.: 'the Lord']," and since the end is of more account than the means.
Et ideo alii rationem huius assignant ex perpetuitate et universalitate huius voti. Dicunt enim quod votum continentiae non potest praetermitti nisi per id quod est omnino contrarium, quod nunquam licet in aliquo voto. Sed hoc est manifeste falsum. Quia sicut uti carnali copula est continentiae contrarium, ita comedere carnes vel bibere vinum est contrarium abstinentiae a talibus, et tamen in huiusmodi votis potest dispensari. Consequently others [*Albertus Magnus, Sent. iv, D, 38] find the reason for this in the perpetuity and universality of this vow. For they assert that the vow of continency cannot be canceled, save by something altogether contrary thereto, which is never lawful in any vow. But this is evidently false, because just as the practice of carnal intercourse is contrary to continency, so is eating flesh or drinking wine contrary to abstinence from such things, and yet these latter vows may be a matter for dispensation.
Et ideo aliis videtur quod in voto solemni continentiae possit dispensari propter aliquam communem utilitatem seu necessitatem, ut patet in exemplo praemisso de pacificatione terrarum ex aliquo matrimonio contrahendo. Sed quia decretalis inducta expresse dicit quod nec summus pontifex potest contra custodiam castitatis monacho licentiam dare, ideo aliter videtur dicendum, quod, sicut supra dictum est, et habetur Levit. ult., illud quod semel sanctificatum est domino, non potest in alios usus commutari. Non autem potest facere aliquis Ecclesiae praelatus ut id quod est sanctificatum sanctificationem amittat, etiam in rebus inanimatis, puta quod calix consecratus desinat esse consecratus, si maneat integer. Unde multo minus hoc potest facere aliquis praelatus, ut homo Deo consecratus, quandiu vivit, consecratus esse desistat. Solemnitas autem voti consistit in quadam consecratione seu benedictione voventis, ut dictum est. Et ideo non potest fieri per aliquem praelatum Ecclesiae quod ille qui votum solemne emisit desistat ab eo ad quod est consecratus, puta quod ille qui est sacerdos non sit sacerdos, licet possit praelatus ob aliquam causam executionem ordinis inhibere. Et simili ratione, Papa non potest facere quod ille qui est professus religionem non sit religiosus, licet quidam iuristae ignoranter contrarium dicant. For this reason others [*Innocent IV, on the above decretal] maintain that one may be dispensed even from a solemn vow of continency, for the sake of some common good or common need, as in the case of the example given above (Objection [1]), of a country being restored to peace through a certain marriage to be contracted. Yet since the Decretal quoted says explicitly that "not even the Sovereign Pontiff can dispense a monk from keeping chastity," it follows seemingly, that we must maintain that, as stated above (Article [10], ad 1; cf. Lev. 27:9,10,28), whatsoever has once been sanctified to the Lord cannot be put to any other use. For no ecclesiastical prelate can make that which is sanctified to lose its consecration, not even though it be something inanimate, for instance a consecrated chalice to be not consecrated, so long as it remains entire. Much less, therefore, can a prelate make a man that is consecrated to God cease to be consecrated, so long as he lives. Now the solemnity of a vow consists in a kind of consecration or blessing of the person who takes the vow, as stated above (Article [7]). Hence no prelate of the Church can make a man, who has pronounced a solemn vow, to be quit of that to which he was consecrated, e.g. one who is a priest, to be a priest no more, although a prelate may, for some particular reason, inhibit him from exercising his order. In like manner the Pope cannot make a man who has made his religious profession cease to be a religious, although certain jurists have ignorantly held the contrary.
Est ergo considerandum utrum continentia sit essentialiter annexa ei ad quod votum solemnizatur, quia si non est ei essentialiter annexa, potest manere solemnitas consecrationis sine debito continentiae; quod non potest contingere si sit essentialiter annexum ei ad quod votum solemnizatur. Non est autem essentialiter annexum debitum continentiae ordini sacro, sed ex statuto Ecclesiae. Unde videtur quod per Ecclesiam possit dispensari in voto continentiae solemnizato per susceptionem sacri ordinis. Est autem debitum continentiae essentiale statui religionis, per quem homo abrenuntiat saeculo, totaliter Dei servitio mancipatus; quod non potest simul stare cum matrimonio, in quo incumbit necessitas procurandae uxoris et prolis et familiae, et rerum quae ad hoc requiruntur. Unde apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. VII, quod qui est cum uxore sollicitus est quae sunt mundi, quomodo placeat uxori, et divisus est. Unde nomen monachi ab unitate sumitur, per oppositum ad divisionem praedictam. Et ideo in voto solemnizato per professionem religionis non potest per Ecclesiam dispensari, et rationem assignat decretalis, quia castitas est annexa regulae monachali. We must therefore consider whether continency is essentially bound up with the purpose for which the vow is solemnized, because if not, the solemnity of the consecration can remain without the obligation of continency, but not if continency is essentially bound up with that for which the vow is solemnized. Now the obligation of observing continency is connected with Holy orders, not essentially but by the institution of the Church; wherefore it seems that the Church can grant a dispensation from the vow of continency solemnized by the reception of Holy Orders. On the other hand, the obligation of observing continency is an essential condition of the religious state, whereby a man renounces the world and binds himself wholly to God's service, for this is incompatible with matrimony, in which state a man is under the obligation of taking to himself a wife, of begetting children, of looking after his household, and of procuring whatever is necessary for these purposes. Wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:33) that "he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided." Hence the "monk" takes his name from "unity" [*The Greek {monos}] in contrast with this division. For this reason the Church cannot dispense from a vow solemnized by the religious profession; and the reason assigned by the Decretal is because "chastity is bound up with the monastic rule."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod periculis rerum humanarum est obviandum per res humanas, non autem per hoc quod res divinae convertantur in usum humanum. Professi autem religionem mortui sunt mundo et vivunt Deo. Unde non sunt revocandi ad vitam humanam occasione cuiuscumque eventus. Reply to Objection 1: Perils occasioned by human affairs should be obviated by human means, not by turning divine things to a human use. Now a professed religious is dead to the world and lives to God, and so he must not be called back to the human life on the pretext of any human contingency.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in voto temporalis continentiae dispensari potest, sicut et in voto temporalis orationis vel temporalis abstinentiae. Sed quod in voto continentiae per professionem solemnizato non possit dispensari, hoc non est inquantum est actus castitatis, sed inquantum incipit ad latriam pertinere per professionem religionis. Reply to Objection 2: A vow of temporal continency can be a matter of dispensation, as also a vow of temporal prayer or of temporal abstinence. But the fact that no dispensation can be granted from a vow of continency solemnized by profession is due, not to its being an act of chastity, but because through the religious profession it is already an act of religion.
Ad tertium dicendum quod cibus directe ordinatur ad conservationem personae, et ideo abstinentia cibi directe potest vergere in periculum personae. Unde ex hac ratione recipit votum abstinentiae dispensationem. Sed coitus non ordinatur directe ad conservationem personae, sed ad conservationem speciei. Unde nec directe abstinentia coitus per continentiam vergit in periculum personae. Sed si per accidens ex ea aliquod periculum personale accidat, potest aliter subveniri, scilicet per abstinentiam, vel alia corporalia remedia. Reply to Objection 3: Food is directly ordered to the upkeep of the person, therefore abstinence from food may be a direct source of danger to the person: and so on this count a vow of abstinence is a matter of dispensation. On the other hand sexual intercourse is directly ordered to the upkeep not of the person but of the species, wherefore to abstain from such intercourse by continency does not endanger the person. And if indeed accidentally it prove a source of danger to the person, this danger may be obviated by some other means, for instance by abstinence, or other corporal remedies.
Ad quartum dicendum quod religiosus qui fit episcopus, sicut non absolvitur a voto continentiae, ita nec a voto paupertatis, quia nihil debet habere tanquam proprium, sed sicut dispensator communium bonorum Ecclesiae. Similiter etiam non absolvitur a voto obedientiae, sed per accidens obedire non tenetur, si superiorem non habeat, sicut et abbas monasterii, qui tamen non est a voto obedientiae absolutus. Reply to Objection 4: A religious who is made a bishop is no more absolved from his vow of poverty than from his vow of continency, since he must have nothing of his own and must hold himself as being the dispenser of the common goods of the Church. In like manner neither is he dispensed from his vow of obedience; it is an accident that he is not bound to obey if he have no superior; just as the abbot of a monastery, who nevertheless is not dispensed from his vow of obedience.
Auctoritas vero Ecclesiastici quae in contrarium obiicitur, intelligenda est quantum ad hoc quod nec fecunditas carnis, nec aliquod corporale bonum est comparandum continentiae, quae inter bona animae computatur, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de sancta virginitate. Unde signanter dicitur, animae continentis, non, carnis continentis. The passage of Ecclesiasticus, which is put forward in the contrary sense, should be taken as meaning that neither fruitfulness of the of the flesh nor any bodily good is to be compared with continency, which is reckoned one of the goods of the soul, as Augustine declares (De Sanct. Virg. viii). Wherefore it is said pointedly "of a continent soul," not "of a continent body."

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Whether the authority of a prelate is required for commutation or the dispensation of a vow?

Ad duodecimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ad commutationem vel dispensationem voti non requiratur praelati auctoritas. Aliquis enim potest intrare religionem absque auctoritate alicuius superioris praelati. Sed per introitum religionis absolvitur homo a votis in saeculo factis, etiam a voto terrae sanctae. Ergo voti commutatio vel dispensatio potest esse absque auctoritate superioris praelati. Objection 1: It would seem that the authority of a prelate is not required for the commutation or dispensation of a vow. A person may enter religion without the authority of a superior prelate. Now by entering religion one is absolved from the vows he made in the world, even from the vow of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land [*Cap. Scripturae, de Voto et Voti redempt.]. Therefore the commutation or dispensation of a vow is possible without the authority of a superior prelate.
Praeterea, dispensatio voti in hoc consistere videtur quod determinatur in quo casu votum non sit observandum. Sed si praelatus male determinet, non videtur esse vovens absolutus a voto, quia nullus praelatus potest dispensare contra praeceptum divinum de implendo voto, ut dictum est. Similiter etiam si aliquis propria auctoritate recte determinet in quo casu votum non sit implendum, non videtur voto teneri, quia votum non obligat in casu in quo habet peiorem eventum, ut dictum est. Ergo dispensatio voti non requirit auctoritatem alicuius praelati. Objection 2: Further, to dispense anyone from a vow seems to consist in deciding in what circumstances he need not keep that vow. But if the prelate is at fault in his decision, the person who took the vow does not seem to be absolved from his vow, since no prelate can grant a dispensation contrary to the divine precept about keeping one's vows, as stated above (Article [10], ad 2; Article [11]). Likewise, when anyone rightly determines of his own authority that in his case a vow is not to be kept, he would seem not to be bound; since a vow need not be kept if it have an evil result (Article [2], ad 2). Therefore the Authority of a prelate is not required that one may be dispensed from a vow.
Praeterea, si dispensare in voto pertinet ad potestatem praelatorum, pari ratione pertineret ad omnes. Sed non pertinet ad omnes dispensare in quolibet voto. Ergo non pertinet ad potestatem praelatorum dispensatio voti. Objection 3: Further, if it belongs to a prelate's power to grant dispensations from vows, on the same count it is competent to all prelates, but it does not belong to all to dispense from every vow. Therefore it does not belong to the power of a prelate to dispense from vows.
Sed contra, sicut lex obligat ad aliquid faciendum, ita et votum. Sed ad dispensandum in praecepto legis requiritur superioris auctoritas, ut supra dictum est. Ergo, pari ratione, etiam in dispensatione voti. On the contrary, A vow binds one to do something, even as a law does. Now the superior's authority is requisite for a dispensation from a precept of the law, as stated above (FS, Question [96], Article [6]; FS, Question [97], Article [4]). Therefore it is likewise required in a dispensation from a vow.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, votum est promissio Deo facta de aliquo quod sit Deo acceptum. Quid sit autem in aliqua promissione acceptum ei cui promittitur, ex eius pendet arbitrio. Praelatus autem in Ecclesia gerit vicem Dei. Et ideo in commutatione vel dispensatione votorum requiritur praelati auctoritas, quae in persona Dei determinat quid sit Deo acceptum, secundum illud II ad Cor. II, nam et ego propter vos donavi in persona Christi. Et signanter dicit, propter vos, quia omnis dispensatio petita a praelato debet fieri ad honorem Christi, in cuius persona dispensat; vel ad utilitatem Ecclesiae, quae est eius corpus. I answer that, As stated above (Articles [1],2), a vow is a promise made to God about something acceptable to Him. Now if you promise something to anyone it depends on his decision whether he accept what you promise. Again in the Church a prelate stands in God's place. Therefore a commutation or dispensation of vows requires the authority of a prelate who in God's stead declares what is acceptable to God, according to 2 Cor. 2:10: "For... have pardoned... for your sakes... in the person of Christ." And he says significantly "for your sakes," since whenever we ask a prelate for a dispensation we should do so to honor Christ in Whose person he dispenses, or to promote the interests of the Church which is His Body.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omnia alia vota sunt quorundam particularium operum, sed per religionem homo totam vitam suam Dei obsequio deputat. Particulare autem in universali includitur. Et ideo decretalis dicit quod reus fracti voti non habetur qui temporale obsequium in perpetuam religionis observantiam commutat. Nec tamen in religionem ingrediens tenetur implere vota vel ieiuniorum vel orationum vel aliorum huiusmodi, quae existens in saeculo fecit, quia religionem ingrediens moritur priori vitae; et etiam singulares observantiae religioni non competunt; et religionis onus satis hominem onerat, ut alia superaddere non oporteat. Reply to Objection 1: All other vows are about some particular works, whereas by the religious life a man consecrates his whole life to God's service. Now the particular is included in the universal, wherefore a Decretal [*Cap. Scripturae, de Voto et Voti redempt.] says that "a man is not deemed a vow-breaker if he exchange a temporal service for the perpetual service of religion." And yet a man who enters religion is not bound to fulfil the vows, whether of fasting or of praying or the like, which he made when in the world, because by entering religion he dies to his former life, and it is unsuitable to the religious life that each one should have his own observances, and because the burden of religion is onerous enough without requiring the addition of other burdens.
Ad secundum dicendum quod quidam dixerunt quod praelati possunt in votis pro libito dispensare, quia in quolibet voto includitur conditionaliter voluntas praelati superioris, sicut supra dictum est quod in votis subditorum, puta servi vel filii, intelligitur conditio, si placuerit patri vel domino, vel, si non renitantur. Et sic subditus absque omni remorsu conscientiae posset votum praetermittere, quandocumque sibi a praelato diceretur. Reply to Objection 2: Some have held that prelates can dispense from vows at their will, for the reason that every vow supposes as a condition that the superior prelate be willing; thus it was stated above (Article [8]) that the vow of a subject, e.g. of a slave or a son, supposes this condition, if "the father or master consent," or "does not dissent." And thus a subject might break his vow without any remorse of conscience, whenever his superior tells him to.
Sed praedicta positio falso innititur. Quia cum potestas praelati spiritualis, qui non est dominus sed dispensator, sit in aedificationem data, et non in destructionem, ut patet II ad Cor. X; sicut praelatus non potest imperare ea quae secundum se Deo displicent, scilicet peccata, ita non potest prohibere ea quae secundum se Deo placent, scilicet virtutis opera. Et ideo absolute potest homo ea vovere. Ad praelatum tamen pertinet diiudicare quid sit magis virtuosum et Deo magis acceptum. Et ideo in manifestis dispensatio praelati non excusaret a culpa, puta si praelatus dispensaret cum aliquo super voto de ingressu religionis, nulla apparenti causa obstante. Si autem esset causa apparens, per quam saltem in dubium verteretur, posset stare iudicio praelati dispensantis vel commutantis. Non tamen iudicio proprio, quia ipse non gerit vicem Dei, nisi forte in casu in quo id quod vovit esset manifeste illicitum, et non posset opportune ad superiorem recurrere. But this opinion is based on a false supposition: because a spiritual prelate being, not a master, but a dispenser, his power is given "unto edification, not for destruction" (2 Cor. 10:8), and consequently, just as he cannot command that which is in itself displeasing to God, namely, sin, so neither can he forbid what is in itself pleasing to God, namely, works of virtue. Therefore absolutely speaking man can vow them. But it does belong to a prelate to decide what is the more virtuous and the more acceptable to God. Consequently in matters presenting no difficulty, the prelate's dispensation would not excuse one from sin: for instance, if a prelate were to dispense a person from a vow to enter the religious life, without any apparent cause to prevent him from fulfilling his vow. But if some cause were to appear, giving rise, at least, to doubt, he could hold to the prelate's decision whether of commutation or of dispensation. He could not, however, follow his own judgment in the matter, because he does not stand in the place of God; except perhaps in the case when the thing he has vowed is clearly unlawful, and he is unable to have recourse to the prelate.
Ad tertium dicendum quod quia summus pontifex gerit plenarie vicem Christi in tota Ecclesia, ipse habet plenitudinem potestatis dispensandi in omnibus dispensabilibus votis. Aliis autem inferioribus praelatis committitur dispensatio in votis quae communiter fiunt et indigent frequenti dispensatione, ut habeant de facili homines ad quem recurrant, sicut sunt vota peregrinationum et ieiuniorum et aliorum huiusmodi. Vota vero maiora, puta continentiae et peregrinationis terrae sanctae, reservantur summo pontifici. Reply to Objection 3: Since the Sovereign Pontiff holds the place of Christ throughout the whole Church, he exercises absolute power of dispensing from all vows that admit of dispensation. To other and inferior prelates is the power committed of dispensing from those vows that are commonly made and frequently require dispensation, in order that men may easily have recourse to someone; such are the vows of pilgrimage (Cap. de Peregin., de Voto et Voti redempt.), fasting and the like, and of pilgrimage to the Holy Land, are reserved to the Sovereign Pontiff [*Cap. Ex multa].

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