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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thou Shall Not Drive Recklessly

In acknowledgement of the shift of the world’s main form of transportation from horses to cars, the Vatican has released a document called the “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road”.

The Vatican's Office for Migrants and Itinerant People compiled the document in light of the ever-increasing volume of vehicles on the road worldwide and the correlated increase in incidents of road rage and automobile related deaths. Cardinal Renato Martino who heads the office said in a news conference held for the document’s release, “We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads. That's a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church."

So for all you drivers out there, here they are, the “10 Commandments of Driving” straight from the Vatican:
  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 also suggests you pray for a safe journey before you even begin driving and recite the rosary with your passengers to keep your mind free from other distractions.

I have to give the Vatican props for recognizing a current and enormous problem and doing what they can to help. Now if they could just acknowledge that condoms CAN help to stem the spread of HIV, maybe there are another 3 million lives a year that they could help save!

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Blogger (A Little) Gris Gris said...

Guess I have to go to confession now.

9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small pet peeve: If people are breaking the guidance of the church already by having sex, they have no right to blame the church when they don’t want to use a condom. Either follow the whole law or take responsibility for your choices. Abstinence is actually more effective than a condom. It doesn’t tear.

10:26 AM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

Anon- Nobody is saying it isn't. If you read my post carefully, you would see that I said condoms can "help to stem the spread of HIV". I never suggested they could stop it, but they can certainly HELP to slow it down.

I think maybe you should stop assuming that everyone who is infected with HIV is HAVING SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE and that their infection with a deadly illness is simply a consequence of their poor choices.

Stop and think about women in say, Africa, who don't necessarily have the same rights and equality as women in the U.S. Do you think those women would dare ask their husbands to wear a condom when the Catholic Church has condemned it? Not every woman has the right to "choose abstinence".

8,500 people DIE everyday of AIDS while another 6,000 new people are infected. There are 39.5 million HIV positive people in the world right now. Were some of those people infected because they made bad decisions, I'm sure. Were some of those people infected because their PARTNERS made bad decisions and they were told that God wouldn't approve of them using/asking their partner to use, the only barrier we currently have available to prevent the spread of HIV? YES. These are the people I am concerned for. The ones who maintain blind trust in an institution that continually and consistently undermines both science and medicine.

Are condoms foolproof? Nope. But here’s a little fact for you from the 2006 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS, May 2006: “Correct and consistent use of the male condom reduces the risk of sexual transmission of HIV by 80–90%—an efficacy rate that exceeds those reported for many of the world’s standard vaccines.”

I’m not saying that the AIDS epidemic is solely the result of the Catholic Church’s vilification of condoms, but I will say that it certainly doesn’t help. -Lulu

12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put Lulu. I don't even know where to go with this one. Abstinence is a great concept Anon, but get real. If that is the solution to world health crises, "God" help us all. Rather than tote the righteous act, look at the facts. Abstinence education doesn't work. The government spends $176 million dollars a year on abstinence-only education, and in the 2007 report to Congress, 1 out of 2 students were sexually active by the time they were 17. Of those sexually active, less than a quarter report using condoms regularly. Ok, so we can tell 100 kids not to have sex. More than 50 of them will before they are 17 years old. Of those 50, maybe 12 will use condoms regularly, leaving about 38 not using them and vulnerable to any number of risks. Why? Because rather than being truthful about human nature and the risks that come with them, we are hiding behind our country's hypocrisy, where sex sells, little girls are wearing crop tops and booty shorts, little boys are singing "Shake that ass for me," (nominated for a Grammy, Charted #6 in the remember the one), and we spending $176 million dollars a year to tell kids that the ONLY way to avoid STDs and pregnancy is to "wait until marriage." Wait, are you in charge of the Iraq war too?

12:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love "Shake that Ass." Great song. Really great song.

12:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lulu-I have thought of the wives in Africa, and if their husbands actually listened to the church and were faithful to their wives, they wouldn’t be infected. The man breaking one covenant and following another follows the other because it suites him. It is naïve to think that if the church changed its mind a man like that would suddenly start caring about his wife’s safety. He isn’t using one because he doesn’t want to and he’s letting us blame the church instead of focusing on empowering these women.

As to your stats, focus on the term “correct use.” It’s miss leading. That doesn’t just mean putting it on right, that means missionary position, very very gently. Who the hell does that every time? Not to mention the strains that are starting to pass through latex…

Captainadventure—I am one hundred percent opposed to abstinence only education. That doesn’t change the fact that abstinence is the only 100% guarantee. Give people options, let them make their choices, but let them also take responsibility for the choices they make. If you are going to sin, sin boldly.

1:02 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

Anon - Women's empowerment is important, but as long as the church tells those women that condoms are wrong, they have no leg to stand on when they ask their husbands to wear one. He never has to agree to wear one because "God says their bad". Whether he believes it or not doesn't really matter, what matters is that his wife believes it.

I'm not saying that the church changing its mind about condoms means that every man will change his mind about how he respects his sexual partner(s), but at the very least it tells women that condoms aren't evil and that they can ask their partner to wear one and that her partner cannot say "I won't wear one because it is wrong in the eyes of God". The only excuse he is left with is "I won't wear one because I don't care about you", which really isn't as good of an argument.

You say give people choices, give the faithful the CHOICE to use a condom. Currently, a Catholic woman who has asked her husband, her only sexual partner, to wear a condom has sinned in the eyes of God. You can (and should) empower women as much as possible but if condoms are off the table because that woman is a Catholic, she's screwed.

Your argument seems to be that "abstinence is the best way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV". Of course that is correct, but give people, specifically women, a SECOND CHOICE. If you can't abstain from sex, here is another option. It isn’t 100% effective, but when you are talking life or death, I’ll take something over nothing.

Empower women, educate women, let them have a way to not have to stay with men who disrespect them, do all these things, but remember that empowering women also means telling them that they should do everything they can to protect their health and that means letting them know that God won't hate them for using a condom. -Lulu

1:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lulu you make many good points, but I must point out something you have forgotten. He's only other response isn't "I don't care about you" it's "How dare you accuse me of being unfaithful!" Self righteous indignation goes a long way for an abuser, and infecting someone with HIV is abuse.

1:54 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

True, but just because he'll come up with other reasons to NOT wear one doesn't mean that we shouldn't tackle the one that his wife has no argument against.

As long as the church tells men not only that they don't HAVE to wear one, but that they CAN'T wear one, why would any man decide TO wear one? If they didn't want to wear one in the first place, the church has given them an ironclad reason to never have to and taken away any right their sexual partner(s) had to ask them to.- Lulu

2:16 PM

Blogger The Pink Totebag said...

I'm the product of Catholic school education. I consider myself a Catholic, and I'm raising my family as such. I also consider myself a pretty liberal democrat, so it stands to assume that I think it's bunk that we are still living in the stone ages where the Catholic church is concerned on this particular issue. That being said, I wanted to add my two cents about the discussion regarding the effect that the church's stance can have on the mentality of a sexually active person. Going through 12 years of Catholic school has done a BIG number on my perception of my own sexuality. Despite the fact that I am in a committed, married, healthy relationship - the type of situation which is the only acceptable one for a sexual relationship as far as the church is concerned, I still feel somewhat guilty about having sex, and constantly worry that I am pregnant despite condom use (the pill isn't an option for me - and we all know where the church stands on that one anyway). I know what "anon" is going to say - the church doesn't even want married people to be using condoms and that we should all be ready to welcome whatever baby may come our way. But the truth is, for my family, 7 children is neither physically nor financially the best thing. My husband and I could get together once or twice a month and then chart the rest on a calendar, but I have to say that that is neither practical nor truly effective either. My point is that the church has really affected, probably for life, the way I perceive myself and my body, not to mention my relationship with my husband. To act like people can just dig right out from under that type of doctrine and pressure is ignorant. If I - a well-educated, confident, married woman has difficulty doing that, how can you be so blind as to assume that women in less-educated, less-free, more-oppressed societies would feel as though they had a choice in the matter? I feel like the Catholic church should spend more time addressing those particular issues and less time in my head, or my bedroom, for that matter.

3:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's a little late to weigh in on this one, but anyhoo... I am also a Catholic school alumnus. They taught me lots of things, including reasoning and problem solving. These skills have led me to believe that a group of celibate men might not issue the best advice on sexuality and contraception (as a somewhat irrelevant side note, we didn't have health or sex ed, but Family Life). So I'm stuck making up my own mind. Those guys in the Vatican can do whatever they think is best for them.

I'm curious to know when and where have those HIV strains that can make their way through latex were identified? I haven't seen that data, but would be interested to know more.

1:05 PM


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