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Tacked on to the Vatican’s ‘Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People’ issued earlier today there’s a long treatise on the responsibilities of Christian drivers.
There’s also a Ten Commandments for Motorists, including “On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.”
Cycling gets a few brief mentions – nothing specific about jumping red lights being a sin - but the Vatican is aiming fairly and squarely at motorists.
The new treatise is published by the Vatican Publishing House. It has some jump-out passages.
In addition to traffic congestion, people are directly exposed to dangers deriving from other related problems, such as noise, air pollution and intensive use of raw materials…It is a good idea to call for a commitment to avoid unnecessary car use.
Those who know Jesus Christ are careful on the roads. They don’t only think about themselves, and are not always worried about getting to their destination in a great hurry. They see the people who accompany them on the road, each of whom has their own life, their own desire to reach a destination and their own problems. They see everyone as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. This is the attitude that characterises a Christian driver.
When driving a vehicle, special circumstances may lead us to behave in an unsatisfactory and even barely human manner.
The domination instinct, or the feeling of arrogance, impels people to seek power in order to assert themselves. Driving a car provides an easy opportunity to dominate others. Indeed, by identifying themselves with their car, drivers enormously increase their own power.
The free availability of speed, being able to accelerate at will, setting out to conquer time and space, overtaking, and almost subjugating other drivers, turn into sources of satisfaction that derive from domination.
Cars tend to bring out the primitive side of human beings, thereby producing rather unpleasant results.
Obviously, careless motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians do not wish for the fatal consequences of an accident they cause, nor do they intend to harm the life and property of others. However, as these consequences are the product of a conscious action, we may rightly speak of moral responsibility.
Drivers’ Ten Commandments
I. You shall not kill.
II. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
III. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
IV. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.
V. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
VI. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
VII. Support the families of accident victims.
VIII. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
IX. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
X. Feel responsible towards others.
Surely this decalogue for drivers can be boiled down to just Number IX?