Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Speeding -- Is it a sin?

Today I was asked a question by someone regarding speeding. The person basically wanted to know if it is a sin to drive faster than the speed limit since technically you're breaking the law. I have to admit I was a little stumped as to how to answer the question. I also must admit I was a little worried about the answer given my tendency to put a brick on the accelerator. LOL!!

Since I was no help in answering the question, I turned to a person that I knew would be most helpful, my wonderful husband.

So here's what he has to say:

Question: Is speeding a sin?

Short answer: Being unsafe while driving is a sin, whether you’re going too slow (endangering others), going the speed limit when it’s inherently unsafe (heavy rain, snow) or dangerously exceeding the speed limit.

But, if going with the flow of traffic is less dangerous than sticking to the speed limit (even in the slow lanes), the case can be made morally for going with the flow of traffic.

It is generally said that laws against speeding are what’s called leges mere poenales--purely penal laws which do not have to be obeyed under pain of sin.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

All laws which inflict penalties for violation of the law are called penal, whether they themselves directly define the manner and amount of penalty, or make it the duty of the judge to inflict according to his judgment a just punishment. Laws purely penal are those which do not make an action absolutely obligatory, but simply impose penalty in case one is convicted of transgression. Thus they leave it, in a certain sense, to the choice of the subject whether he will abstain from the penal action, or whether, if the violation is proved against him, he will submit to the penalty. The objection cannot be raised that purely penal laws are not actual laws because they create no bounden duty, for they oblige the violator of the law to bear the punishment if the authorities apprehend and convict him.

This is in line with what I heard a priest say once: speeding is only a sin if you are endangering yourself or others. So basically, if you're comfortable going 75 in a 65, and you’re not endangering anyone, it's not a sin. But, he adds, if you get pulled over, you must comply and pay whatever fines are enforced.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, as I have been quite rigid in the past with this, while not feeling totally comfortable with such rigidity


Please keep it clean!!

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