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SPECIAL: Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road

6/20/2007 - 5:55 AM PST

(Page 10 of 18)

left disabled and physically and/or mentally marked for ever. Moreover, road safety education for children is the best way of guaranteeing a safer and more upright future generation.

72. Stress should also be placed on the irreplaceable role of school, which trains and informs. Above all at school children can achieve a lasting grasp of the ethical foundations of traffic problems and the reasons behind traffic regulations. School is where they learn that traffic issues are part of the wider field of the problems of human coexistence, of which the most urgent regards respect for other people. School teaches aware self-restraint in the use and enjoyment of common goods, and is where courtesy and nobility of spirit in human relations should be learnt.

73. School is the institution to which both the family and the State entrust a very important part of their educational duties. This makes it one of the most powerful and irreplaceable instruments for comprehensive training of the person, and failure to fulfil this duty to provide road safety education would create a dangerous training gap that would be hard to fill.

74. An important road safety education opportunity is offered to driving licence candidates. This is a specific training phase, of obvious importance, especially if the person concerned has not received any previous road safety education. Driving schools have a great responsibility, as do the public authorities that are responsible for regulating driving tests.

75. Finally, the large number of road users need training, not only drivers, but also non-driver pedestrians, most of whom have not received adequate road safety education. As many of them are elderly people, they have slower reflexes to deal safely with traffic. Therefore, they are at greater risk of having an accident.

Appeal by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

76. As the aggiornamento of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council took place, preceding Church teaching resounded. Realizing the social changes of the 20th century and warning against pure individualism, the Council also drew attention to the traffic issue, in these terms: "Profound and rapid changes make it more necessary that no one ignoring the trend of events or drugged by laziness, content himself with a merely individualistic morality. It grows increasingly true that the obligations of justice and love are fulfilled only if each person, contributing to the common good, according to his own abilities and the needs of others, also promotes and assists the public and private institutions dedicated to bettering the conditions of human life… [However] many in various places even make light of social laws and precepts, and do not hesitate to resort to various frauds and deceptions in avoiding just taxes or other debts due to society. Others think little of certain norms of social life, for example those designed for the protection of health, or laws establishing speed limits; they do not even avert to the fact that by such indifference they imperil their own life and that of others"[28].

77. In seeking to respond in an adequate and pastoral fashion to the challenges of the contemporary world, we catch sight here of what is in some ways a vast and renewed field of apostolate, which requires duly trained and active pastoral agents. We are referring, for example, to the expression of pastoral care towards lorry drivers, who transport goods over long distances; car and bus drivers; tourists travelling by road or on trains; those responsible for traffic safety; and filling station attendants and motorway restaurant staff.

78. This is also a field of new evangelisation, so dear to the heart of Pope John Paul II. This sector also gives rise to an urgent appeal to seek new paths to bring the Gospel onto the routes of the world -- road and rail networks -- which are new Areopagi for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ the Saviour.

VII. Pastoral Care of the Road

79. Faced with this urgent evangelising commitment in industrial and technologically advanced society, and also taking developing countries into account, the Church wishes to arouse a renewed awareness of obligations concerning the pastoral care of the road and moral responsibility regarding infringement of highway regulations, in order to prevent as far as possible the fatal consequences that derive from it. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council requests bishops to have "a special concern for those among the faithful who, on account of their way of life, cannot sufficiently make use of the common and ordinary pastoral care of parish priests or a quite cut off from it"[29].

Evangelisation within the context of the road

80. Evangelisation within the context of the road addresses this special area, by facilitating everywhere the advance of the Joyful Proclamation and the administration of the ...

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