A vow is not a promise. A promise is between two individuals, and can be broken, and often is, with impunity and a mere apology to the offended party. A vow, on the other hand, usually has two defining characteristics. First, it invokes God as either party or witness, and second it involves a public proclamation, inviting the public’s support in helping the parties to uphold the vow once made. Vows are not to be broken but every effort must be expended to make the necessary adjustments to one’s needs or desires to ensure that the vow can be carried out. For all vows – ordination, marriage, baptismal, religious profession – life must be made to accommodate them, not the other way around. All of one’s life must be structured to support these vows once made. If a vow is to be set aside – unlike a promise, all parties must be in agreement about the laying aside. In religious vows, these are made to God. No human power, not even the Church, has the authority to lay them aside on God’s behalf. The moral of the story: don’t make a vow you aren’t prepared to keep.