Skip to main content



A word (from Lat. voveo, I desire) used in the technical description of a doctrine elaborated to show that God's salvific will embraces those who inculpably cannot actually use the indispensable sociosacramental means of salvation, i.e., the Church and the Church's Sacraments (specifically Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance). Concretely, this qualified votum is the intention (not necessarily explicit) to use the divinely appointed means when feasible to do so, an intention that is contained in supernatural "faith which works through charity" (Gal 5.6). God accepts this votum as a surrogate for actual Church membership and for actual sacramental use. See Trent: Denz 1524, 1543, 1604, 1677; Pius XII: Denz 3821, 386672. Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes teaches that "since Christ died for everyone, and since all are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery." (22) The votum can be understood as the human response to this divine offer.

See Also: salvation, necessity of the church for.

Bibliography: g. vodopivec, "Membri in re ed appartenenza in voto alla Chiesa di Cristo," Euntes Docete 10 (1957) 65104. f. sullivan, Salvation outside the Church? Tracing the History of the Catholic Response (New York 1992).

[f. x. lawlor/

d. m. doyle]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Votum." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Votum." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (February 16, 2019).

"Votum." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.