Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cars can be an occasion for Sin!-- the Vatican offers "driving commandments'

I have often wondered whether we need a theology of driving, especially when I'm driving on the road and there is a "Lane Ending, Merge Right" lane where I have seen some of the darker sides of our nature exhibited as people cut each other off, drive dangerously fast down the shoulder and I can feel my own dark impulses as I try to jockey through the lane ending as quickly as I can.

Well, the Vatican has now come out with "driving commandments," which may or may not help our driving difficulties. If God is really in the "little things," and in the everyday, surely God has some interest in the way that we treat our neighbors (and ourselves) on the road! I've posted just one article below (of many that are already online about these "Commandments") from the BBC. There are other articles here, and here, and here and here.

You can read the document from the Vatican here.

What do you think?
Is the Vatican being frivolous with its time and energy when it should/could be addressing "larger" issues?
... or...
Do you find it a sign of hope that the Church is involving itself in the concerns of people in their everyday lives?

Vatican's 'driving commandments'
(From the BBC online)

The Vatican has issued a set of "10 commandments" for motorists to promote safer driving.

The "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" call on drivers to respect speed limits, refrain from drinking before driving and avoid cursing.

Roman Catholics are also urged to make the sign of the cross before setting off on a journey.

This is said to be the first time the Vatican has specifically dealt with the growing worldwide problem of road rage.

'Occasion of sin'

The 36-page document was put together by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People.

We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads
Cardinal Renato Martino

"Thou shalt not drive and drink", "thou shalt not make rude gestures behind the steering wheel" and "help accident victims" are among the 10 recommendations for motorists.

The document also warns that driving can bring out "primitive" behaviour in motorists, including "cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility".

It says that automobiles can be "an occasion of sin" - particularly when they are used for dangerous overtaking or for prostitution.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's council, said it was important to address the issue because driving had become a big part of contemporary life.

"We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads," he said.

"That's a sad reality, and at the same time a great challenge for society and the Church."

There is not much speeding going on in the Vatican City itself, the BBC's David Willey in Rome says.

A 30km/h (19 mph) speed limit has been enforced for years in the tiny state.

The last recorded accident there was a year-and-a-half ago, our correspondent says.

Read the article here.

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