Spiritual Rules Of The Road
Driving a Bugatti Veyron across France not long ago, Jeremy Clarkson remarked that "the roar from the tyres was biblical". Yesterday the Vatican provided its own version of the religious experience of motoring.
Publishing its 10 commandments for drivers, the Vatican suggested they should pray vocally, "especially taking turns with fellow travellers in reciting the prayers, as when reciting the rosary which, due to its rhythm and gentle repetition, does not distract the driver's attention."
The Vatican's Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road promise "this will help [driver and passengers] to feel immersed in the presence of God [and] stay under His protection."
But their highway code has some words of warning for Mr Clarkson and his colleagues. "The domination instinct, or the feeling of arrogance, impels people to seek power in order to assert themselves. This is expressed through speed and gives rise to the pleasure of driving."
Cars, the documents goes on to warn, "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.
"When we praise our cars we are, in fact, praising ourselves, because they belong to us," it says.
The Vatican acknowledged the benefits of driving. Motor vehicles were used for family outings. They rushed sick people to hospital and enabled people to travel and experience other cultures.
But they also cause the deaths of more than 1.2 million people every year on the world's roads, and the pope's advisers clearly believe the time has come to give the Vatican's backing to road safety.