Next time you blow your top while driving, or overtake another car, or beat the red light – get down on your knees and beg forgiveness. Otherwise …no, not the slammer; worse than that – hell!
Those acts may now be considered sins in the Catholic Church based from the new 10 Commandments for Motorists issued by the Vatican on Tuesday.
The Vatican said it issued the commandments, titled “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” to keep motorists on the road to salvation.
“Calm down,” Pope Benedict XVI(left) seems to be telling these two angry motorists in this montage.
The unusual document warns drivers against the sins of road rage, abuse of alcohol and even simple rudeness.
Here are the Ten Commandments of Driving:
- You shall not kill.
- The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
- Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
- Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
- Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
- Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
- Support the families of accident victims.
- Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
- On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
- Feel responsible toward others.
The document suggested prayer might come in handy while driving — 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 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.
World Health Organization statistics showed that 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.
The document 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.
No, it’s not true that Paris Hilton’s driving escapades influenced the Vatican in coming out with the document.
And no, it’s also not true that the Vatican is also coming with the 10 Commandments of Walking on the Streets, or the 10 Commandments of Going to the Office or to School or to the Mall or to Whatever Place!