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Driving like a Catholic

Pope Benedict.  In a car.  A very nice car.  Who says Popes should live piously with few of life’s luxuries?

Yesterday, the Vatican published ‘Ten Commandments’ for Driving in a document apparently entitled Guidelines For The Pastoral Care Of The Road. Whether that’s a bad translation, or whether they genuinely think tarmac requires loving care and careful attention to its psychology and emotions is unclear to me. I’m also impressed by the number of times they’ve managed to squeeze ‘not’ into this ‘commandment’:

Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

Also keep in mind that, according to the traditional commandments, thou shalt not not not not not kill, nor shalt thou never fail not to covet the woman who may or may not be your neighbour’s wife.

Perhaps more pertinently, it’s interesting to see that the Vatican are moving with the times. Yeah, cars have been around for some 250 years or so, but that’s moving quite fast for the Vatican. After all, condoms have been around for the better part of 3,500 years – much longer than the Bible – and yet the Church has still failed to acknowledge that they help prevent the spread of STIs.

But the most startling thing about this is that it’s like something you’d have read in the Daily Mail of the nineties, when they were still hot on promoting the so-called Christian values of middle England, and hadn’t relegated religion to a weekly 2cm box containing a Bible verse, hidden amongst the letters pages. Of course, they take great pride in reporting this as the Pope issuing new guidelines for road safety, when in fact this load of garbage was created by a Pontifical Council (about as accurate as saying that a Home Office press-release gives Tony Blair’s personal views), and also claiming that one of the commandments is that ‘Thou shalt not make rude gestures’, which is just blatantly false, but clearly reads better than saying that the document advises courtesy.

Gosh, I got distracted there. I meant to say, the most startling thing is that this is essentially a press release from an increasingly media-driven Vatican – the same Vatican which has a Da Vinci Code debunker – and the same Vatican which increasingly seems to be attempting to play to a modern (small-c) conservative audience, rather than sticking to it’s traditional values of – well, stonings, wars, and murders.

I think it’s pretty from the site as a whole that I’m not the world’s greatest fan of organised religion, but when the Vatican employs a Campbell-esque strategy to woo the media to gain converts at the expense of their traditional values, then we’ve really reached a new low.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

    01.02, 21/06/2007

The sjhoward.co.uk staff investigative reporter (me) has investigated and I found out the reason for the new commandments.
Popemobiles will go on sale at a Catholic Church near you this fall. They feature a great view of those inside and are bullet proof as a result of past incidents. They don’t go very fast, but they do get good gas mileage. There is also a much larger version of the Popemobile for those who follow the teachings of the Holy Father and have large familes. Planned for later release is a model especially for young people. When the seats recline a red warning sign flashes-it reads “no taka da pill.” Prices for the various models have not been set, but payments are going to made by passing the collection plate.

Comment from Anonymous

    16.31, 23/06/2007

lovely ad-hominen Simon and strawman argumentation, stay out of the realm of religion and morals, no good to comment on something that you little about, you just make yourself look silly once again.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    18.31, 23/06/2007

Mort – Is ‘sjhoward.co.uk staff investigative reporter’ a well-paid position? If so, I might swap with you 😉

Anonymous – I think it’s a little disingenuous to claim I’m making an ad hominen argument. I have no problem with them publishing this advice I am ridiculing the Church for being a slow-moving manipulative behemoth trying to compete in a modern-media world, not to discredit their publication nor their argument. The advice itself is largely sensible, and the Church publishing it will probably do a lot of good.

As for not commenting on things I know little about – the strapline for the site is that it’s from the perspective of an ‘ill-informed medical student’. The fact that this occasionally makes me look utterly stupid (example) – either in some people’s eyes, or everybody’s – is part of the charm of the site, and provides great opportunity for debate and user interaction. If I claimed to know everything about everything I write about, the site would be very dull indeed – and much less fun to write.

Comment from Mort Karman

    19.00, 23/06/2007

Simon, I am very well paid. In satisfaction. I enjoy interacting with other people on a variety of topics, something your blog is famous for. However if you want to send money, it is always accepted gladly. I would say you can send drugs,(I mean prescription ones) but the American DEA might get the wrong idea and my next post would be from a federal prison someplace. Are you going to purchase a youth model Popemobile? How do you like Canada and have I been able to turn you into a Canadian Doctor? Make sure you go to lake Louise.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    04.43, 24/06/2007

Calgary’s going great! I’m doing forensic pathology out here to start with, which is absolutely fascinating! Not quite converted to being a Canadian doctor yet, but still having a great time.

Everybody keeps telling me I should visit Lake Louise – so I guess I’ll have to get up there sometime!

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