If you watch “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report”, or heck even “Headline News”, then you’ve already heard about the “Driver’s Ten Commandments”. This was part of a larger document, the “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road”, that was issued by the Vatican on June 19, 2007. Technically, this is old news, with it being July and all, but in case you hadn’t seen this already I’m covering it now, also, I think it’s fun and timeless.
Actually, despite how easy it is to poke fun at the “Driver’s Ten Commandments” I feel that I should do the thing that no news outlet has done yet, which is provide a little context. As I said, the “Commandments” are part of a larger document. This document was never intended for the average Joe Catholic. According to the presentation at the beginning, “These Guidelines are aimed at bishops, priests, religious and other pastoral workers, as a further step towards a pastoral care that pays increasing attention to all expressions of human mobility, and is integrated within ordinary, local and parochial pastoral care.” The “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road” covers four very separate categories that are connected by that pavement river we call, the road.
Part one is, “Pastoral Care of Road Users”, which includes the infamous “Commandments”. The other three parts are, “Pastoral Ministry for the Liberation of Street Women”, “Pastoral Care of Street Children”, and “Pastoral Care of the Homeless”. Still funny? The fact is, this document is to help provide guidance to Catholics leaders on the church’s stance on these topics and how to help educate others in the subject matter and how best the Church can help solve the dilemmas of these groups.
Yes, road users are a dilemma. Don’t believe me? Then you do not have to commute for your job. I worked in retail for over 10 years. You know what made me dislike people? One year of commuting to my office job. Accidents, reckless driving, the stress of traffic jams, drunk drivers, and more, are all important issues that face every driver, whether they’re Catholic or not. The “Pastoral Care of Road Users” is comical in it’s presentation of the problems drivers face (“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.”), but it does encourage the Church to help educate people in the importance of traffic safety and to contribute support for campaigns and programs aimed at bettering roads and traffic safety. For all of the document’s comic value, and believe me, it has it in spades; at its heart, it’s a well-meaning document.
Now that I’ve been far more fair and generous to the Catholic Church than I may ever be again, let’s check out the “Driver’s 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 unforeseen events.
IV. Be charitable and help your neighbor 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.
Actually, now that I’m reading them, I can’t bring myself to poke fun because I cannot help but wish that more people on my commute seemed to follow these. Although, there is a few that are missing, maybe I need “Rebecca’s Ten Commandments for Drivers”.
I. Thou shall not speed in the slow lane nor go below the speed limit in the middle lane.
II. When it is merely cloudy, and there is no precipitation, thou shall not drive as if there is precipitation.
III. Drivers shall not decelerate just because they are on a bridge.
IV. Drivers shall not decelerate before the exit ramp, for the exit ramp exists for deceleration.
V. Likewise, drives shall accelerate while using on ramps, for they are designed for acceleration.
VI. Drivers shall use their blinkers whenever they are turning or changing lanes.
VII. Drivers shall not use cell phones, even if a hands free device is employed, while driving. There is a reason why our Lord created voice mail.
VIII. If thy vehicle is incapable of achieving the minimum posted speed limit, than thou shall not drive it on that road.
IX. Thou shall decelerate if necessary to let a driver merge.
X. If at all possible, thou shall not be on NY I-87 at the hours of 8:30 a.m. or 4:00 p.m.
If you’re interested, the entire Vatican document can be found here: http://220.127.116.11/news_services/bulletin/news/20451.php?index=20451&po_date=19.06.2007&lang=po#PART%20ONE%20THE%20PASTORAL%20CARE%20OF%20ROAD%20USERS
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