Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The 10 Commandments of Driving

The wires are loving this story -- the Vatican's 10 commandments of drivings. Putting you on the path to salvation. And other such headlines. Well here they are.
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.
Yep, the roads would be much nicer if all drivers (particularly in Rome!) followed these! Perhaps it's just another way of saying, if we were all really nice the roads would be better? However, these rules sit in a much larger text entitled "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" (full text at Zenit.) [Is that a typo? The road needs pastoral care? :)] If this seems a little frivolous, there's a section that deals with prostitution, the care of street children and the "homeless (tramps)" (sic). There's a lot packed into these sections and the document is worth study, though, at least at cursory glance, I found a sense of almost naivete in thinking that proper education and exhortation could change people's behavior in realities as complicated as prostitution, and even a sense that prostitution is a modern phenomenon (as opposed to a phenomenon that the tensions of modern society has exacerbated). However, it does add:
113. The Church may provide a wide variety of services to the victims of prostitution, including: housing, reference points, medical and legal assistance, advisors, vocational training, education, rehabilitation, defence and information campaigns, protection from threats, links with families, assistance with voluntary return and reintegration in their countries of origin, and help with obtaining visas when return to their country of origin turns out to be impossible.

Above and beyond these services, the encounter with Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan and Saviour, is a decisive factor of liberation and redemption, including for the victims of prostitution (cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:21; 4:12; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11; and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
The section on prostitution commends the work of women religious in this area especially, and focuses equal attention on the "customers" as the women involved in the sex trade themselves, rightly seeing the latter as victims, and equating prostitution with modern slavery.

1 comment:

St. Izzy said...

Over at the pompously self-important Catholic Culture site, I find that my own feelings about the document are voiced (a bit more strongly than I would voice them):
The document as a whole in unobjectionable and, as I said, uninspiring. It takes its four topics, which seem relatively simple and straightforward morally and spiritually, and simply applies a template of standard things to say about how we should understand and address them. The document makes no effort to present comprehensive or incisive data on these problems, and it contains neither significant insights nor remarkable strategies. At the same time, it does properly call attention to profound and endemic social difficulties which Christians should stop taking for granted and try to do something about.

I wonder why, if this was going to be published, it wasn't done better. I find I have to be an apologist in very general terms:

"What's the point? Well, wouldn't things be better if we followed these rules?"

I would have preferred more insight and more substance.