Friday, 4 November 2011

Sin - on four wheels!

A couple of Sundays ago I was reminded of the old saying when life deals you a bitter blow - "What has fairness got to do with it?"

The Road to Perdition

I was returning from a distant Mass and enjoying the spiritual afterglow as well as the beautiful North Pembrokeshire countryside and my mind, admittedly, was on a higher plane level. The roads were clear and free of traffic as only the  roads of Baptist country can be at 5 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon.

Suddenly, as I rounded a bend, there was a police speed trap. I did not falter one iota; I kept on at my steady pace, confident in the belief that I was a law abiding citizen; ahead of me stretched a half mile of visibly open road - dim problem as they say in those parts.

And then, ten days later I received a speeding summons. For driving at 35 miles per hour in a 30 mile limit area! Is there no justice, Lord?

The episode reminded me of how the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to address priests attending one of his retreats.

He would begin by saying:

"Who amongst you is with sin?"  There would be an uncomfortable silence and a 'no show' of hands.

"Alright" the Archbishop would say, "who amongst you broke the speed limit on the way here?" Red faces all  round.

It is a fact that we so often take everyday offences for granted and forget to tag them with the 'sin' label.

Breaking the reasonable law of the land is a sin; driving beyond the capacity of road conditions is a sin.
Not maintaining the service level of your car is a sin, maybe a small one of the venial variety but, if you injured someone in a car that you had deliberately or negligently not kept at the correct levels of safety, it would be a much more serious sin, possibly of the mortal variety.

Now comes the part that Protestant readers of this blog (if they exist, which I doubt) will throw their hands in the air and say: "I told you so".

Did I confess my 'transgression?' No. Why?

Well I thought about it long and hard and reasoned that my speeding was a result of human error and ignorance.
All had looked good on the road; I was in a 30 mile zone on the outward road from a small village and, within the next hundred yards it switched to being a 60 mph zone (I had thought all along that I was in a 60 mph zone).

I had not wilfully broken the law.

That has no currency in man's court, but, in God's, it does.


  1. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God...but speed cameras are an altogether different thing.

  2. "Breaking the reasonable law of the land is a sin; driving beyond the capacity of road conditions is a sin."

    Both parts of this statement are true. The question is whether they apply to the situation at hand?

    Do y'all have speed traps in England? Here in the states we have a long running tradition, especially out here in the hinterlands, of small towns setting ridiculously low speed limits in areas that they wouldn't be expected, usually just as one rounds a blind corner or comes over a sharp rise. There sits a member of the local constabulary, ticket book in hand, ready to explain that you either fork over the money or your licence will be retained until you return sometime down the road to face the local judge, who of course has already planned your conviction.

    Who should go to confession in this scenario?

  3. CG - it's much the same one need go to confession if a sin is committed without full awareness of the deed. Agreed.