Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm laughing but I know it's not funny...

Vatican issues '10 Commandments' for drivers
08:57 PM CDT on Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Associated Press
VATICAN CITY – 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.

Read the rest here, including the actual "'Ten Commandments' for motorists".

I think it's good that something like this has come out. We're supposed to be an intelligent race and one that has compassion for others, but sometimes we fail in both areas. Some people don't think twice about their behavior on the road and I would bet even fewer think about how that behavior affects their relationship with God. (I don't think people realize (or realize very often) that they are sinning when they choose to speed, run a light, or do anything else that is not only against the law but that endangers his brother.)

I admit that I did laugh a little when I saw the headline in the newspaper this morning. But again, I do think it's good that it has been said. Maybe we, as a people, do not say enough what needs to be said. If we don't say it, we can't expect people to know. Unwritten laws are great if everyone has the common sense to pick up on them. As we all know, however, this is not the case. Too many people die each year because not everyone has the common sense. So things like this must be said.

The best part, I dare say, is that people may come to realize (or come closer to the realization) that the Vatican is not loony. The people there are good people with an earnest desire to do God's will and to bring His people closer to Him. The Catholic Church supports virtuous deeds and warns against sin. On the other hand, some may see this as an attempt to control our lives even more -- to micromanage, if you will. People will say what they will. But for those who are awakened by the message, praise God. Some people REALLY need that message...


Blogger Barb, sfo said...

This is exactly it--we do not say enough, what needs to be said! Are we so afraid of offending everyone all the time, to the point where we are actually victimized by that fear?

6/20/2007 01:20:00 PM  

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