Where's the commandment about driving a hybrid?


The Vatican has published a list of 10 Commandments for drivers. They 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.

Except for maybe #6, I'm having a hard time seeing what is so car-specific about most of those commandments, which I would think could apply to a host of life situations (for example, shouldn't we protect the more vulnerable party in all circumstances, not just on the road? And isn't killing supposed to be avoided off the road as well as on?) And I hate to say this, but #3 sounds like it came right out of a horoscope or a fortune cookie.

And where's the commandment that says, "When feasible, try to use alternate forms of transportation that will reduce your carbon footprint"?

I suppose I shouldn't make light of this subject. Cardinal Renato Martino was quoted as saying,"We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads. That's a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church." He has a point. I have personal experience with this, since my mother died in an automobile accident. I have written on other occasions about how society on the one hand takes this vast carnage on the roads for granted as the price of living in the modern world, and on the other hand how it reacts with extended national horror to other tragedies where far fewer people die. There is a bit of a discrepancy going on there.

But personally, I think it might be more valuable as an act of social responsibility to look at the social consequences of how the people of Western cultures, particularly the US, are so wedded to their cars that they have managed to wreak havoc on the environment, both by creating suburban sprawl and in producing greenhouse gases. I say this even though I am a bit of a hypocrite; like everyone else, I drive sometimes more than I should. But I also believe that this is both a matter of individual and social responsibility, since communities can do more to promote such alternatives as public transportation and bicycling. And given the moral consequences of what we are doing to the Earth,
I would much rather that religious leaders focused more on the environmental consequences of automobile driving.


Livingsword said...

I am wondering about #1 (You shall not kill). The word kill denotes not just the taking of human life but the taking of animal life (it does not say murder). That may be an interesting “accidental” view.

Another interesting aspect is are these meant as works righteousness towards salvation or are they intended only as sanctification?

As these were not declared from the “throne of Peter” I guess they are just suggestions more than commandments.

In the end they are at least trying to do something good by bringing some attention to something that is sadly happens far too frequently.