Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Feel Free to Put More Vanity on Your Plate

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Feel Free to Put More Vanity on Your Plate

Article excerpt

I remember when they were called vanity license plates, low numbered or clearly worded car tags. Vanity, often termed pride, was one of the seven deadly sins (the others: envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust).

For long years the cardinal archbishops of Chicago sported Illinois license plate "1." Cardinal John Cody surrendered the license plate, but not the chauffeur-driven limousine. Chicago had to wait for Joseph Bernardin before the limo disappeared from the ecclesiastical entourage.

The term vanity license plates, now suppressed by many states, has been replaced by more user-friendly phrases, such as personalized license plates. Today, they are an additional source of revenue for state governments, though certainly not as lucrative as the gaming and gambling schemes that now proliferate in the body politic.

I've noticed a number of license plates nowadays that capture religious and spiritual messages. I spotted "PRAY 1ST," a Wisconsin license plate tooling down Interstate 94 toward Illinois. Another Wisconsin license plate, "3IN1GOD," seen in Kenosha County, has a decidedly doctrinal bent to its message. Might Saint Patrick, if he were here today, hold up this license plate rather than the shamrock to illustrate the mystery of the Trinity? …

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