Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vatican Issues a New Set of 10 Commandments

Cardinal Renato Martino, 74, is the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
His group has just issued a set of 10 Commandment for those who brave the highways and byways of our various nations. I was very pleased with these ten "suggestions" (listed below) because this is what our religious leaders should do more of ---- i.e. giving us some practical spiritual guidance -- instead of being fixated on gay marriage and abortion.

I have read that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI (formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith, which in earlier times was the Inquisition)
was caught by surprise at the more affable and practical Cardinal Martino. The Pope made it known that these new commandments/ suggestions did not come from him. This is too bad because on the Pope's recent visit to Brazil, he infuriated many of its citizens by telling them how lucky South America was to have been colonized by the Portuguese and Spanish who brought with them the Holy Faith. These same conquerors also brought with them massacres, enslavement, and looting of the continent's resources. However, maybe receiving the True Faith made up for these "misdemeanors".

I read elsewhere the Cardinal Martino often does the unexpected. Perhaps being in charge of the Council for Justice and Peace is meant to keep him out of trouble. The Vatican could use a few more loose "canons" to shake things up.

Although I respected the last Pope John Paul II who was a genuinely good person, apparently a saintly person too judging that he is on the fast track towards being declared a saint. He was also a brilliant man, a playwright, author of many books, a poet, a philosopher and, as a Polish patriot as well as pastor, he stood up against both the Nazis and the Soviets . He was instrumental to some degree in bringing Poland back to independence.

On the other hand, it seems to me that he unfortunately did succeed in reversing the trends of Vatican II, the Ecumenical Council called to order by Pope John XXIII. This council attempted to bring the Roman Church more into the contemporary scene, to give more decision making power to the bishops, and to encourage the laity to play a more active role. It was, IMO, a liberalizing and humanizing effort. For me -- if one believes that God guides the church --- it is the entire body of the faithful down through the ages that are chiefly guided . Not the hierarchy -- which seems to believe they are directly connected to the Almighty.

I was also disappointed in Pope John Paul's attitude toward the role of the clergy in helping the people of the Third World, especially in Central and South America gain their civil and human rights. This movement of the clergy and nuns was guided to some extent by "liberation theology," which was promoted by the Jesuits, but not just by them. For me, this pastoral activity of the church's representatives---was precisely what Jesus would have wanted for he consistently stood opposed all through his life to the domination forces of the state and the religious authorities --- and by his love for the poor and the oppressed.

Unfortunately, the deconstruction of the progressive ideas and ideals of Vatican II will surely be accelerated by the present German academic, Benedict XVI.

Forsooth, I digress. Back to something positive from Rome; the 10 Commandments for the road:

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.

These 10 Commandments for the road are found in a 36 page document, "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road",

Some other points made ----

Cars tend to bring out the 'primitive' side of human beings, thereby producing rather unpleasant results.

Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

The document advised avoiding:

---unsatisfactory and even barely human manner

---unbalanced behavior ... impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy

Some may laugh at this attempt to address road rage, etc. --- but at least these ideas are meaningful and, if taken to heart, might do some practical good.