The Vatican’s Office of Migrants and Itinerant People has recently released a set of “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” which functions as a kind of “Ten Commandments” for drivers. Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, says that he is charged with the souls of all ``itinerant” people, a demographic that apparently includes refugees, prostitutes, truck drivers and the homeless, in addition to everyday commuters, as far as I can tell. The list is as follows:
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.
The document bemoans the fact that driving can elicit ``impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code,” which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s driven more than a block or so in our fair city. The report also recommends prayer while driving, including the saying of the rosary, which might be a calming alternative to the more traditional Boston driving supplication: “Oh God oh God oh God oh God! Don’t let me die!”
I, for one, hope my Catholic cohabitants keep the proclamations of the Holy See in mind when they get behind the wheel.