From the AP, June 19:
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Tuesday issued a “Ten Commandments” for motorists to keep them on the road to salvation, warning drivers against the sins of road rage, abuse of alcohol or even simple rudeness.
The unusual document from the Vatican’s office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that automobiles can be “an occasion of sin” — particularly when used to make a dangerous passing maneuver or when used by prostitutes and their clients.
And it suggested prayer might come in handy — performing the sign of the cross before starting off and saying the rosary along the way. The rosary was particularly well-suited to recitation by all in the car, it said, since its “rhythm and gentle repetition does not distract the driver’s attention.”
Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, told a news conference the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving has become such a big part of contemporary life.
He cited World Health Organization statistics that said an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured.
“That’s a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church,” he said.
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 on the roads — from refugees to prostitutes, truck drivers and the homeless.
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 get to work and seeing 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; and drivers can kill themselves and others if they drink, use drugs or fall asleep at the wheel.
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 called for drivers to obey speed limits and to exercise a host of Christian virtues: charity to fellow drivers, prudence on the roads, hope of arriving safely and justice in the event of crashes.
Good luck, Cardinal Martino. Moral guidelines for motorists are most welcome—as is acknowledgement that getting behind the wheel of an automobile inherently brings out the worst in human nature, a phenomenon we have pointed out repeatedly. But we submit that what is ultimately needed is a proactive resistance against car culture. After all, as we have irrefutably documented, cars are worse than terrorism.
See our last post on the Vatican.