Vows Taken by Protestant Ministers

Q: I am a Protestant minister who is considering becoming Catholic. I am at a quandary where I must uphold Protestant principles which I no longer find satisfactory, principles which I vowed to uphold at my ordination. I feel like I am caught between being true to my vows before God, and true to conscience before God.

A:I think there is a solution to this aspect of your dilemma. Even in secular law a contract to do something illegal is invalid. In divine law, a vow to do something which God considers intrinsically wrong has no binding force. Thus I could now be bound before God by a vow I had taken to commit murder or adultery. In the same way, I could not be bound before God by a vow I had taken to teach the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura (the “Bible only” theory). Once I perceived the fact that sola Scriptura is against the teaching of God, I am no longer bound in conscience (and was never bound in reality) to teach it, no matter what vows I had taken concerning the matter. For a time I might remain in a Protestant teaching position (for logistical or pastoral reasons), but I would no longer teach that doctrine and simply pass over it.

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