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What are Religious Vows?

Religious vows are public promises made by members of religious groups about how they act, what they believe, and what they do. Throughout the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism, there are many different types of religious vows made by both the lay community and the monastic community as they progress on their path of study. The Vinaya is a book that talks about the vows of fully ordained nuns and monks in all of the different types of Buddhism. In the Christian tradition, religious who live in cenobitic and eremitic communities make public vows to follow the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, or the Benedictine equivalent. They do this to show that they have publicly said that they follow the evangelical counsels. Individuals who make vows are seen as having made a choice to follow Jesus Christ more closely with help from the Holy Spirit in a certain type of religious living. There is a type of person who lives their religious life according to the vows they have made. This person is called a votary or a votarist As a public promise, the religious vow has to be kept by Church law. In one way, the person who makes it can no longer get married. People who join the consecrated life don’t become part of the church’s hierarchy. Instead, they become part of a state of life that is neither clerical nor lay, the consecrated state, in the Catholic Church, There are, however, members of religious orders and hermits who have Holy Orders. They are part of the hierarchy, but not everyone is.


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