Plan Aims to Make the Highways Kinder and Gentler

Pontifical Council Looks to Foster Apostolate of the Road

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2003 ( The tragedy of traffic accidents and the realities of road rage have led the Holy See to develop a pastoral initiative to foster positive values for those on the highways.

In this connection, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers organized a European Meeting of National Directors for Highway Pastoral Care, which took place here Feb. 3-4.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the pontifical council noted that roads are not just ways of transit but places where people meet. It called for appropriate and creative forms of the apostolate in that area.

The meeting noted the human factor is responsible for 90% of road accidents. In the 20th century, 35 million people died and 1.5 billion were injured in road accidents.

“Given this tragedy, the joint commitment to road education” from early childhood, and to care of the families of the victims, “is urgent on the part of civil society and of churches and ecclesial communities, as well as of leaders of believers of different religions,” the statement continues.

“The apostolate of the highway is directed above all at forming a more attentive awareness of the need to lay the foundations for peace and human coexistence, including on the roads of the world, in a society that will be increasingly less aggressive, arrogant and violent,” the statement adds.

This apostolate must also support highway “professionals” — drivers, tourists, security guards, gas station personnel — and sensitize the media to the reality and problems of traffic, the statement says.

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