Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Recognizing that the 'pastoral needs of motorists' need to be addressed, the Vatican has issued a 10 Commandments for Drivers:
The Vatican on Tuesday issued a set of ''Ten Commandments'' for drivers, telling motorists not to kill, not to drink and drive, and to help fellow travelers in case of accidents.

An unusual document from the Vatican's office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that cars can be ''an occasion of sin'' -- particularly when they are used for dangerous passing or for prostitution.

It warned about the effects of road rage, saying driving can bring out ''primitive'' behavior in motorists, including ''impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code.''

It urged motorists to obey traffic regulations, drive with a moral sense, and to pray when behind the wheel.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, told a news conference that the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving had become such a big part of contemporary life.

He noted that the Bible was full of people on the move, including Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus -- and that his office is tasked with dealing with all ''itinerant'' people -- including refugees, prostitutes, truck drivers and the homeless.

''We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads,'' Martino said. ''That's a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church.''

The document, ''Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,'' extols the benefits of driving -- family outings, getting the sick to the hospital, allowing people to see other cultures.

But it laments a host of ills associated with automobiles: drivers use their cars to show off; driving ''provides an easy opportunity to dominate others'' by speeding; drivers can kill themselves and others if they don't get their cars regular tuneups, if they drink, use drugs or fall asleep at the wheel.

Uh-oh. My car is due for a tune-up, but thankfully it didn't address how fast I can really drive in a 55 MPH speed zone.

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