Jesuit says bad driving is a sin

Using mobile phones while driving, drink-driving, or driving while fatigued, are sins that should be confessed, according to the Jesuit director of an influential magazine in Italy.

CLICK HERECathoilc News Service reports that poor driving "places at great risk one's own life and the lives of others, certainly much more than seeing a provocative film, something people confess much more easily because they feel more at fault," wrote Fr Gianpaolo Salvini.

The priest is director of La Civilta Cattolica, a magazine reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication.

Fr Salvini noted that in late November, Pope Benedict XVI publicly asked people to drive more carefully in order to save lives.

While much of his article looked at statistics about driving habits and accidents in Italy, the Jesuit also looked at the moral, psychological and social issues involved in more and more people driving cars, mopeds and motorcycles.

Like any human action, he said, driving involves "a series of obligations deriving from justice, prudence and charity," obligations that are morally binding.

Unfortunately, Fr Salvini said, most people - including church people - do not seem to give much thought to the moral implications of getting behind the wheel.

"Any confessor could count on one hand the number of penitents who have confessed to having driven imprudently, in an inebriated state or while aware that they were tired or with an automobile in disrepair (brakes, tires, etc.)," he said in the article.

"There is a serious obligation to respect one's life and the lives of others," Fr Salvini said. "It would not be a bad idea when examining one's conscience to look at this point as well."

The Jesuit said, "All educators, including the church, have a serious responsibility in forming consciences on this point."

Influential Jesuit says bad driving is sin, should be confessed (Catholic News Service 15/12/05)

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La Civilta' Cattolica

16 Dec 2005