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