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Catholic Church Continues to Advocate Sunday “Sabbath”

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Pope Francis has voiced support for the re-emergence of Sunday as an official day of rest. In the book Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words, he advocated the need for working people to “take the time to relax.”

The New York Times quoted Pope Francis: “‘Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.’ In such cases, he concludes, ‘work ends up dehumanizing people.’”

This comment continues a precedent set by Francis’ predecessors.

Pope Benedict XVI often spoke of the importance of resting on Sunday, such as during his 2012 visit to the archdiocese of Milan, Italy. A transcript of the event posted on the Vatican’s website states: “…despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord’s Day! It is like an oasis in which to pause, so as to taste the joy of encounter and to quench our thirst for God.”

Pope John Paul II also focused on Sunday worship by issuing an Apostolic Letter in 1998, which stated, “I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday.”

Secular sources have also recognized the need for a day of rest during the week, a point with which top Vatican officials appear to agree.

Archbishop of Panama City Ulloa Mendieta was quoted by Catholic News Agency in 2010: “Not just for Christians, but for all men and women (this day) has great importance and significance, and this recognition should not only be formal but also real, allowing the Sunday rest for all workers.”


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