VATICAN CITY — Thou shall respect speed limits. Thou shall not consider a car an object of personal glorification. Thou shall not drive under the influence of alcohol.
The Vatican took a break from strictly theological matters this past week to issue its own rules of the road, a compendium of do’s and don’ts on the moral aspects of driving and motoring.
A 36-page document called “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road” contains Ten Commandments covering everything from road rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping a car in good shape and avoiding rude gestures while behind the wheel.
The document’s Fifth Commandment reads: “Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin”.
Asked at a news conference when a car became an occasion of sin, Cardinal Renato Martino said “when a car is used as a place for sin”.
One part of the document, under the section “Vanity and personal glorification”, will not go down well with owners of expensive collector cars.
“Cars particularly lend themselves to being used by their owners to show off, and as a means for outshining other people and arousing a feeling of envy,” it said.
The document further urged readers not to behave in an “unsatisfactory and even barely human manner” when driving and to avoid what it called “unbalanced behavior … impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy …”
Praying while driving was encouraged.
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.