According to the Catholic Herald, the law was initially proposed by trade unions but eventually received the support of the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party who want workers to spend more time with their families.
The lower house of Poland’s parliament passed the bill by 254 to 156 which will restrict shopping to the first and last Sunday of the month until 2018. By 2019, shopping will only be permitted on the last Sunday of the month. In 2020, it will be banned completely.
The only exception will be some bakeries and online shops. Shopping on Sundays will also be permitted on the Sunday before major holidays such as Christmas.
The bill will now pass to the Senate, and then to President Andzrej Duda for approval.
The Polish bishops’ conference issued a statement saying they believe the bill did not go far enough and want everyone to be free from work on all Sundays.
The bill is a major step in the right direction for this largely Christian nation. Eighty-seven percent of the population of Poland is Catholic with about 507,000 Polish Orthodox Christians and 150,000 Protestants, which means the new law is in keeping with the beliefs of an overwhelming majority of the country.
As we read in Exodus 20: 8-10: “Remember the sabbath day – keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall no do any work . . .”
The Catechism teaches that just as God rested on the seventh day, so should we. “If God ‘rested and was refreshed’ on the seventh day, man too ought to ‘rest’ and should let others, especially the poor, ‘be refreshed.’ The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money” (No. 2172).
Father William Saunders, pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria, reminds us that the anti-Christian French Enlightenment author known as Voltaire, once said “If you want to kill Christianity, you must abolish Sunday.”
“Sadly, many have abolished Sunday on their own by how they live their lives, and in so doing, have abolished the presence of God in their lives,” Father Saunders laments.
Too many families are living fragmented lives with everyone running off in different directions.
“Some families seem more like a bunch of people living under the same roof than a real family living in a home. We need to enjoy our loved ones’ company and take time to share our lives with them,” he writes.
“We would all be much better off if we were mindful of Sunday as a day for worshiping God as a Church, praying to Him and sharing ourselves and our love with our families.”
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