Masaccio_Il Tributo, dopo il restauro. Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Firenze , Santa Maria del Carmine, Firenze

Masaccio – Tribute Money – Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

1. In the Code of Canon Law a vow is defined in Can. 1191 as “a deliberate and free promise made to God about a possible and better good” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies that “a vow is an act of devotion in which the Christian dedicates himself to God or promises him some good work. By fulfilling his vows he renders to God what has been promised and consecrated to Him”.

2. In order to specify the nature and obligation of a vow, the Code of Canon Law states in Can. 1192 that “a vow is public if a legitimate superior accepts it in the name of the Church,” such as the case for persons in a religious institute, “otherwise, it is private.” A vow ceases by the lapse of the time designated to fulfil the obligation or by dispensation, which can be obtained by “the local ordinary and the pastor with regard to all their subjects and even travellers” (Can. 1196).

3. Whoever makes a vow takes a commitment with God to fulfil what he has promised. Many Christians made and make vows, like for example to walk to a sanctuary for penitence or build a chapel in honour of the Virgin to give thanks for a grace.