§1. A vow, that is, a deliberate and free promise made to God about a possible and better good, must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion.
§2. Unless they are prohibited by law, all who possess suitable use of reason are capable of making a vow.
§3. A vow made out of grave and unjust fear or malice is null by the law itself.
§1. A vow is public if a legitimate superior accepts it in the name of the Church; otherwise, it is private.
§2. A vow is solemn if the Church has recognized it as such; otherwise, it is simple.
§3. A vow is personal if the person making the vow promises an action; real if the person making the vow promises some thing; mixed if it shares the nature of a personal and a real vow.
By its nature a vow obliges only the person who makes it.
A vow ceases by the lapse of the time designated to fulfill the obligation, by a substantial change of the matter promised, by the absence of a condition on which the vow depends, by the absence of the purpose of the vow, by dispensation, or by commutation.
The person who has power over the matter of the vow can suspend the obligation of the vow for as long a time as the fulfillment of the vow brings disadvantage to that person.
In addition to the Roman Pontiff, the following can dispense from private vows for a just cause provided that a dispensation does not injure a right acquired by others:
1. the local ordinary and the pastor with regard to all their subjects and even travelers;
2. the superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life if it is clerical and of pontifical right with regard to members, novices, and persons who live day and night in a house of the institute or society;
3. those to whom the Apostolic See or the local ordinary has delegated the power of dispensing.
The person who makes a private vow can commute the work promised by the vow into a better or equal good; however, one who has the power of dispensing according to the norm of can. 1196
can commute it into a lesser good.
Vows made before religious profession are suspended while the person who made the vow remains in the religious institute.
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