The Catholic Church’s New Driver’s Test and More

Dave Hoffman has been writing about his experiences in Italy. In this post he noted that “Italy has one of the highest car accident rates in Europe” and reflected on the relationship between written law and rules that allow us to interact socially. Coincidentally the Vatican has decided to issue Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road which AP is calling the Ten Commandments for Driving. The document itself does not seem to be available, but the AP article offers the list of the Commandments which I will post below the fold. (A hint: not killing is still in but the rest are aimed at being a conscientious driver; yes a stand against road rage and more).

But before that, although the articles covering the topic are choosing the best lede, they don’t bring out the other aspects of the 36 document to which they refer. The Vatican’s statement refers to four sections: “The pastoral care of road users, pastoral ministry for the liberation of street women, the pastoral care of street children, and the pastoral care of the homeless.” Thoughts on these points and the promised “Commandments” are below the fold.
Now I am sure someone will come out and say in standard blog attack mode: “Hey! The Catholic Church? They have done all sorts of evil. Remember the priests and how about the auto de fe and related torture?” Right, I know. Still, here the Church’s statement seems to be trying to address issues that have been big topics in international law such as trafficking in women and children and domestic issues such as homelessness. I happen to think that George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara was on to something when he suggested to his proselytizing daughter that feeding someone before asking them to find God was a more fair deal. And so if the Church is helping all who are itinerant, regardless of faith, that is good news. The press release, however, indicated that the program was evangelical in its focus on the poor “who must be evangelized while respecting everyone’s freedom of conscience and letting oneself, in turn, be evangelized by them.” (My guess is that evangelical has a slightly different meaning for the Catholic Church than it does in common usage in the U.S. If anyone has more on this difference and/or can unravel the freedom of conscience’s relation to evangelical acts, please share as I have a thought on the topic but would appreciate informed opinion.)

O.K. here are the “Commandments” as provided by AP:

The “Drivers’ Ten Commandments,” as listed by the document, are:
1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

One thought on “The Catholic Church’s New Driver’s Test and More

  1. Perhaps something to be added: Don’t drive an ultra-dangerous car 200 mph! This article reminds me of Daisy and Tom Buchanan, voices full of money:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118186544305536109-search.html?KEYWORDS=car safety mph lamborghini&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month

    “Auto makers are turning out a new breed of supremely fast sports cars that sell for upwards of $250,000 and share many characteristics of purebred racecars. But as more of them hit the road, often in the hands of inexperienced drivers, a growing number are ending up wrapped around trees, smashed into guardrails or otherwise totaled. . . ”

    For more on the morality of driving, see:
    http://jurisdynamics.blogspot.com/2006/08/buying-power-externality.html

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