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What exactly are private vows? After somebody I vaguely know noted that she has taken private vows, I have been rather too fearful to admit my ignorance. I went home, looked through the Code of Canon Law and after an hour or so, I was even more confused. Apparently, it's not the same as recognised private vows, which apparently are public vows despite the name. Can somebody shed light on this conundrum?

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Since you question specifically states Catholicism, I will give you a quote from a Catholic source:

For centuries people have been embracing the evangelical counsels and binding themselves to observe them by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The most common example we have of persons making these vows are the men and women who make their profession of vows as religious. These religious make what is known as public vows. Not all people, however, are called to make public vows, but instead elect to follow the evangelical counsels through private vows.

There is one primary difference between a public vow of poverty, chastity, or obedience and a private vow of poverty, chastity, or obedience. Public vows are made in a religious profession, or profession in the hands of the bishop of a diocesan hermit and have the effect of placing the individual in the consecrated state in the Church. Private vows are made outside of this context of Ecclesiastical acceptance and they do not change the canonical status of the individual making them within the Church.

I do not know if only those three fall into what can be a private vow or not.

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Ok - two specifications: 1) Can they be of any subject? 2) Does private mean there being no formality at all, or merely that it does not grant them 'public' (=religious) status? –  Chris vCB Jan 6 at 18:30
    
@ Codewombat Not being a Catholic I cannot answer your question, but if you post it here someone may be able to answer it. –  Bye Jan 6 at 19:29
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If I look at my relationship with God the father as a intimate Love between me and Him and also his peoples..

Its only natural to have private vows.. especially since God desires to have a one on one with us. Because simply Gods love is for you.

God loves you more then anyone else could.. weather we take a vow.. only God knows the true heart of the person who made that vow. For God knows the Spirit and if the spirit is truth then nothing can break that vow. But that again is between man and God. The very reason God gave us a new covenant through Jesus.To love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and to love our neighbor as our self. Lots of Love happening with God don't you think? private or public if its love.. there is no issue. (Mark 12:30-31, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:13, Luke 10:27 Duet 6:5,)

John 13:34-35 " A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NKJV

Simply God knows, your heart. He knows your vows.

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This is asking specifically about what private vows are--not why someone would have private vows to God. –  Narnian Jan 9 at 17:16
    
Under stood... the question of what are private vow is also in the same wave as why would you have them.... if I look deep into why I have a vow to God.. dose it not also allow the question to find its answer. Perhaps I have interpreted the question differently then you.. I hope this dose not offended you. I chose to go with a more personal approach. –  Eagle1111 Jan 14 at 21:32
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