Criminal Justice

Canon Law Addresses Road Rage; Priests Say Sinners Could Crowd Confessional

Just before the Vatican released 10 Commandments for better driving last week, motorists in a South Florida fracas were attacking each other’s vehicles with a buck knife and a power tool. A few days later, a disgruntled husband, 63, reportedly was arrested after he rammed his sports utility vehicle into a Mercedes carrying his wife, 40, and her lover, 39.

Clearly, there is a need for better driving. But it remains to be seen whether religious motorists take the new rules to heart, reports the Miami Herald. If they do, confessionals will be crowded, predicts Father Mark Reeves, a Miami native and lawyer. “Obviously, automobiles have been an `occasion of sin’ since the invention of the drive-in movie.”

Topping the list of ten Catholic Church driving tips is a familiar rule: Thou Shalt Not Kill, in a slightly different wording. But other provisions may offer opportunity for reflection–not to mention religious challenge. For example, Commandment Five: “Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.”

Even priests admit it can be a challenge to maintain a charitable attitude toward others and turn the other cheek in the midst of on-the-road aggravations. ”The thing that annoys me more than anything else is people who are simply ignorant of the rules of the road,” says Reeves. “It drives me crazy when I get to a four-way stop and people proceed through. They have no idea who is supposed to have the right-of-way.”

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