It was A.D. 321, and the Emperor Constantine decreed that the venerable “Day of the Sun” ought to be dedicated to rest. As we read in his imperial edict: “The magistrates and inhabitants of the cities shall rest on the venerable Day of the Sun, and all the stores will remain closed.” But it was Emperor Theodosius I in 383 who converted the “dies Solis” into the “dies Dominica,” or “day of the Lord.” The Lord’s Day is the day of Christianity par excellence, in which the key words are tradition and family.
And now, amazingly, in a strange coincidence just a few days before Christmas 2017, family unity, traditions, and rest have returned to the center of public attention, if not so much to the attention of the media, since the Polish Sejm (the lower house of parliament) voted in late November to return Sunday to being the Lord’s Day for everyone and thus also for shop-owners. By 2020, all purchases on Sunday will be made illegal.
At the heart of the purpose of this law is the express desire to allow the people of Poland to have more time to spend with their families and less time shopping on Sundays. With 254 votes in favor, 156 against, and 23 abstentions, the legislation introduced a year ago by “Solidarnosc” – an originally Catholic and anti-communist movement that with the fall of communism became one of the leading trade unions of the nation – is now in the hands of the Senate, and it will be presented to President Andzrej Duda for his definitive approval. Under the law, beginning in March 2018, stores will be allowed to remain open only on the first and last Sunday of the month. Then, beginning in 2019, only the last Sunday of the month is allowed, and finally, in 2020, the ban will be almost total. In fact, Sunday shopping will be permitted only on seven Sundays of the year, including the two Sundays before Christmas and the Sunday before Easter. Foreign chains with wide distribution will have to conform to the new arrangement, but not small shops like bakeries.
On the heels of the “rosary on the borders” (of October 2017), this is now the second time that Poland is taking a striking position to affirm, and reaffirm, to the world its Christian roots and identity. It is a gesture that is much more than symbolic if one remembers the history of a nation like Poland, whose memory cannot whitewash its “red past”: the torments of the communist regime that tried to change Poland’s identity precisely by beginning with an attack on the concept of the Lord’s Day.
The “new man” of communism was in fact supposed to be the protagonist of a society without classes, and the sign of his “novelty” was the tendency to be always busy, never idle. Idleness, understood as mere inactivity, not sloth in the communist and socialist moral code, was the disease from which to free the soul. Idleness was the vice that damaged the diligent construction of the communist utopia and was not only harmful to oneself, but also considered a distraction for everyone else. And so the idea of the Lord’s Day, which was in its essence heretical to the communist, was soon eradicated by the same members of the Communist Party who concerned themselves with giving a “good” example by working on the the seventh day of the week and compelling everyone else to do the same.
Endless work conquered everyone and everything. The communists sought to annihilate Christianity by way of attacking Sunday, which, in postmodern society, led to checkmate. Communism chained the workers to itself, and everyone’s horizon shrank, deprived as they were of seeing the “sky” of Sunday. Sundays without rest or reverence have been attempted in Europe’s past as well as in its present, now ever less Christian, depriving it of its soul. But Poland, which evidently is still holding onto its soul, has decided to free itself from every trace of its red past and to facilitate the sanctification of Sunday for everyone.
We know that the evolution of social-economic conditions has led to the profound modification of collective behavior and consequently of the appearance of Sunday. As St. John Paul II wrote:
The custom of the ‘weekend’ has become more widespread, a weekly period of respite, spent perhaps far from home and often involving participation in cultural, political or sporting activities which are usually held on free days. This social and cultural phenomenon is by no means without its positive aspects if, while respecting true values, it can contribute to people’s development and to the advancement of the life of society as a whole. All of this responds not only to the need for rest, but also to the need for celebration which is inherent in our humanity. Unfortunately, when Sunday loses its fundamental meaning it is man who becomes incapable of celebration.
Poland wants to restore this understanding to its people, giving less opportunity for grazing in alienating shopping centers just for the perverse sake of doing it, but without falling into the dull banality of not realizing that “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”
And if – as someone were to object, “This solidarity between church and state is becoming disturbing, the PiS [Law and Justice party] has changed everything in less than two years: the legislation, the press, and the society. Every aspect of our liberty is at risk” – the government has no intention of eating from the hand of the latest sociologist. Also, in the meantime, the prime minister-designate of Poland, Mateusz Morwiecki, who took office on December 11, in his first speech spoke of “dreaming of a Europe which returns to being Christian.” With the nomination of Morwiecki, Poland seems to have certified his ambitions. The 49-year-old Catholic, father of four Catholic children, has declared that he is profoundly saddened by the fact that “the churches are empty and are being transfomed into museums and you never hear true songs in them any more.”
In conclusion, Poland has begun its counter-revolution, and it does not seem to fear the threats of the politically correct. The first step appears to be modifying Sunday – not in order to introduce changes of an economic nature, but to restore harmony to reality. For Poles, in fact, the day of rest represents “opposition to the exclusivism of the ideal of work” – a break that is actually part of the deeper work of watering the Christian roots that give life and moving ever away from the specter of communism.
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino.
Lorenza Formicola was born in the year that Poland took the words “communism” and “socialism” out of its constitution. She has always been a writer, but not with the purpose of persuading, because that would lead her to cowardice and dishonesty. Journalism has taught her that it is not possible to stir up emotion with mere emotion, ideas with mere ideas, hope with mere hope. Rather, for all of these to exist it is necessary to provide actual meaning, weight, and tangibility, otherwise they evaporate. She is firmly convinced that “tolerance means indifference” (Domenico Giuliotti).
I would like to move my family to Poland or Hungary.
God bless Poland!
This is not unique to Poland. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how many days are still true holidays in Germany. Thus on Good Friday, Sundays and Palm Monday most of the shops would be shut, though some tourist attractions and cafes would still be open. Even the major newspapers would run a three day edition to cover a long weekend. And Germany still manages to maintain one of the most productive economies in the world.
Does Germany do it out of reverence for the holy days or because of tradition? Do they observe these days due to religious conviction or because the days have been observed as holidays for time immemorial and the citizens feel entitled to the days? We observe several days in the US on basis of tradition: the Fourth of July (which is now a day to get blasted and light off loud fireworks); Memorial Day (how many people go out and tidy up the graves of loved ones and reflect on the hallowed dead?).
In the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, we visit the graves of the deceased on Bright Monday, Bright Tuesday and Green Tuesday.*** There are also five (yes, 5 – no typo) All Souls Days during the year.
*** Bright Monday & Tuesday are after Pascha.
****Green Monday is after Pentecost Sunday.
The observance of Holidays in Germany is mostly due to tradition, as both the Lutheran and Catholic churches are visibly dying on their feet. But it is still a welcome contrast to my home town in England where Sunday is another shop til you drop day
Don’t forget Austria. I recall that the feast of the Assumption is a public holiday there as well.
Poland leads the way. Period.
Not only with respect to keeping the Sabbath but also with respect to fighting the Islamic invasion of Europe, respect for life, preservation of its Catholic heritage and the proper relationship between Church and state.
Perhaps it will send us another Jan Sobieski.
I think this will backfire. I agree with keeping the Sabbath, but it has to be accepted not imposed. The State has no right to impose such things.
Sure it does. Why wouldn’t it? The only reason you suppose that it doesn’t have the right is because you are accustomed to secular governments and the so-called separation of church and state has essentially made taboo any concession to religion whatsoever.
I grew up in America during the fifties. Sunday was the day all businesses were closed..grocery stores, banks and public buildings, schools, taverns and lounges and most businesses. There was a Christian consensus among protestants, Catholics and most secular citizens. There was little of the bogus controversy now known as “Separation of Church and State.”
I agree with you. Separation of Church and State is not a Catholic principle; it is Lockean revolutionary thinking, and was condemned by popes until Vatican 2. The government has not only the right, but the obligation to make Christ the King over society just as He is King over men. Libertas Praestantissimum (of Pope Leo XIII) is a good reference to this, as is Chris Ferrara’s book LIBERTY, THE GOD THAT FAILED.
Perrier You should read St Pope JPII`s writings on freedom of religion. The Communists in Poland at the time used exactly the same reasoning as you are now to justify their atheistic government. Christ himself never imposed anything on anyone. Take the story of the rich man with Christ. He offered him the truth and walked on.
Holding a law keeping God’s laws – to keep Holy the Sabbath – as equivalent to those establishing communism is philosophical error, although perfectly understandable in the modern climate.
Those in charge of governing are to maintain society in accordance with the laws of God, to reflect the kingdom of heaven on earth. This is why the monarchy is the traditional form of governance, rather than democracy, which is essentially mob rule and only slightly removed from the communism you disparage.
The rule of a just king, with a properly-formed conscience, aware of his duties and responsibilities, echoes the arrangement of heaven with God the Father as the Supreme “Benevolent Dictator”. Thus, it is not only the right of a just government, no matter the form, but the responsibility of that government, to dictate that the laws of society are those of God.
I disagree. In the Bible, God actually did not ordain monarchies but spiritual leaders instead. It was the people that sought a king, even though God warned against it. Read Samuel and Judges….. Also in
Ecc/Sirah 15:13-20; God says “The Lord hates all that is foul, and no one who fears him will love it either. He himself made human beings in the beginning, and then left them free to make their own decisions. If you choose, you will keep the commandments and so be faithful to
his will. He has set fire and water before you; put out your hand to whichever you prefer. A human being has life and death before him; whichever he prefers will be given him. For vast is the wisdom
of the Lord; he is almighty and all-seeing. His eyes are on those who fear him, he notes every human action. He never commanded anyone to be godless, he has given no one permission to sin.”……… Ultimately, God gave us the free will to accept and live the truth or not. It cannot be imposed. St Pope JP II knew this because he experienced the exact same ideology at the hands of the communists. It backfires and always will because it goes against God given free will.
Joe, I think you suffer from a serious myopia. Perhaps not a fault of your choice. But when you say i.a.: …:The State has no right to impose such things…” you are either blind or uninformed. Norway is now pushing the politically correct ideas to another level of perfection. Not only you are not allowed to criticise LGBT, global warming,. euthanasia etc, but your own children can be taken away from you and re-educated by State, if the government social services officers feel that you are not educating the -your own! – children along the lines which they define as correct. Google it out. God bless.
PS: This is taken from Wikipedia:…”In regard to LGBT rights, Norway was the first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. In 1993, Norway became the second country to legalise civil union partnerships for same-sex couples, and on 1 January 2009 Norway became the sixth country to grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. As a promoter of human rights, Norway has held the annual Oslo Freedom Forum conference, a gathering described by The Economist as “on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum.”
Just saw your comment Pavel. I think you have misunderstood my comment. When I said “The State has no right to impose such things”, what I mean is that when they do it, it is not founded on truth and justice, but falsehood and injustice. I didn`t me that the State cannot actually do it. Obviously, states all around the world impose such things on the people.
Ok sorry I indeed have misunderstood you. I agree with you, Joe, of course. Have a nice day!
This is why I love them.
This is really fantastic stuff. Amazing, really. God bless the Poles!!
It is not surprising what a small country like Poland can accomplish when they follow the Lord’s ways.
We in the West, have been immersed in materialism, debauchery and godlessness, and the price we will pay will be huge.
“…and the price we [ARE] paying [IS] huge.”
1. … St. John lived 105 years, but he still remembered the Word of Jesus: “34 … THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU; SO THAT YOU TOO WOULD LOVE EACH OTHER. (J13: 31-37) …
A WORD BECOME FLESH AN LIVED AMONGS US, .. I turned on the radio and hear at the end homily in the Mass of the Holly Cross in Warsaw (25/12/17 7:35 pm)
2. “Vitold Laskowski 2 July 1965 Mary to the soul: The world is headed for ruin, but Poland, like in the time of Sobieski (in 1683 defended Wien from Turkish invasion), because of his devotion to my heart, will be today like the 20,000 who saved Europe and the world from the most tremendous tyranny of communism. A new “John” will rise who, with heroic steps, will break the chains beyond the boundaries imposed by the Communist tyranny. Remember this, I bless Poland. I bless you, bless me as well!” Your poor Don Dolindo Ruotolo
3. LET YOUR SPIRIT DESCEND AND RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH, THIS EARTH … WHAT CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST, I AM SURE THAT NEITHER DEATH NOR LIFE, NEITHER ANGELS NOR PRINCIPALITIES, NEITHER PRESENT NOR FUTURE, NOR STRENGTH NOR WHAT IS HIGH, NEITHER WHAT DEEP NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE WILL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHO IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD (Rom 8: 31b-39)… I hear on radio JPII during the Holy Mass in Siedlce, June 9, 1999 (25/12/17 8:17 pm
in germany all shops are closed on sundays. no shopping malls, no supermarket. since ages. before Christmas there are 4 “verkaufsoffene samstage” so saturdays, but not sindays. so poland is following not leading! fr thomas
This is nice to see, but isn’t it probably too little too late? Poland has a birth rate of 1.32. That’s lower than Canada’s or Germany’s. It also happens to be well below the demographic “point of no return.”
Catholicism may be making a revival, but unless people are willing to posit that Poles are all celibate, the culture of contraception and abortion HAVE to be alive and well in that country to account for such a dismally low fertility rate.
You could be right. But hopefully in this upcoming war against Islamic invaders, numbers won’t matter too much. We were outnumbered at Lepanto, too. But Our Lady came to win us the victory, because of the Rosary Crusade. I believe it will be the same this time : it will be Her Victory.
Unfortunately, it’s not just sociologists (which seems to be just a euphemism for cultural Marxists most of the time) espousing such views.
Only two days ago, the European Commission triggered Article 7 against Poland which could lead, among other things, to their voting rights within the EU being suspended. One is hard-pressed to believe that this unprecedented motion has been started in order to protect the values of the EU* as is officially claimed, and not to punish the Polish for promotion of Christianity in the public sphere, their determination to clean up the leftovers of the Communist regime, and refusal to go along with the migrant quota system (i.e., forced importation of Islam). John 15:20 really doesn’t take long to come about.
God bless Poland indeed!
* – These are, by the way, defined as “respect for human dignity,
freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human
rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities” together with “pluralism,
non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between
women and men”. What a gibberish.
When news of this unprecedented restorative act (for a government in post-Christian Europe) reached the atheist, materialist apparatchiks of the EU, there must have been consternation and weeping and grinding of teeth all round. It’s probably beyond them to understand how any country in the gloriously enlightened West could pass a law that didn’t at least implicitly reject the Social Kingship of Christ while simultaneously being motivated by the worship of money. My only cavil with this legislation though is that it shouldn’t take 2-3 years to take full effect. Governments don’t pass laws against behavior inimical to the good of society to then only implement this change gradually. How much more is direct and swift intervention required when the behavior is a direct offence against God.
Interestingly, Père Jean Lamy, who was called a second Curé d’Ars by his bishop, said that Our Lord Himself told him that one of the three main causes of World War One was Sunday labor. (The other two causes were the breakdown of marriage and blasphemy).
Père Jean Lamy; a great read.
Whe I read this quote from mr. Morwiecki, which is btw. known to me from another news article:
“the churches are empty and are being transfomed into museums and you never hear true songs in them any more.”
Then I must think about another terminology; “This solidarity between church and state is becoming disturbing…” – which is mentioned earlier in this writing, which reminds me then on an other very important fact about very important matter which we know as (a very bad) fruit of IIVC and one very negative (side-?)effect of “Dignitatis humanae”. Namely, giving up the traditional doctrine of the Church about the relationship between the state and the faith! Which means that clear that “Dignitatis Humanae” undoubtedly supports the concept of the secular state, which is diametrical opposed to traditional teaching about the Catholic state.
Please read this very insightful article about this crucial matter, which was one of the main causes for loosing an enormous number of the faithful people, handing them over into the jaws of a secular (pagan) societies.
“Dignitatis humanae” in practice – alteration of Lateran treaties and secularization of Italy!
Thank you Ivane! It was an eye opener for me, to read the facts. So now we can clearly see that the VII was hijacked by the leftists/Marxist worms who stealthily promoted their agenda, to eat out the Church from the inside. Thank you again, it is a very insightful article. God bless and Happy New Year 2018
Thank you Pavlek! There are many dots, and each day there are more which became known for more and more people. For a faithful one there should the connecting of even just a few of those big dots, be enough to see where the real , the biggest problems lies. In that whole movement of the false spirit of the IIVC, which made people of the Church less Catholic than ever, and in the same time more indifferent secularists, under the promotion of false humanism, which is without God on the first place and always in the forefront of every creature, – just a modern paganism. That’s way the enemies have worked so hard to let our Lady, the Mother of God behind, during the IIVC. During the whole IIVC there were barely a few pages of paper dedicated to Mary… But that’s no wonder at all. Because the enemies of Church are even more the enemies of Mary, because they know that our Lady, hte Mother of our Lord the God, Mary is the destroyer of all heresies! As venerable sister Maria of Jesus of Agreda, from the 17th century had a vision:
“It was revealed to me that through the intercession of the Mother of God, all heresies will disappear. This victory over heresies has been reserved by Christ for His Blessed Mother… Before the Second Coming of Christ, Mary must, more than ever, shine in mercy, might and grace in order to bring unbelievers into the Catholic Faith.”
I suggest also a very good read (both parts) called “Our Lady left behind: The Marian Question in Vatican II”, here: Our Lady left behind: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/09/our-lady-left-behind-marian-question-in.html
God bless you and all yours and a blessed happy new year to you all.
Dear Ivan, Your posting was and remains an eye opener for me. In fact, you have connected a few singular dots (which, per se, didn’t have any meaning) into a pattern which does have a meaning. Few months ago I started to read the English translation of Congar’s Diary from VII but was a/disappointing b/bit disgusted c/felt sorry for the guy. So I put the book away. There was a particular priest whom Congar mentions many times in his sad opus, and that was Father Balic, almost always in a rather deprecatory way…Now it all makes sense. Thank you a lot for this, I wish you and your family a lot of God’s blessing in 2018. If you are on FB we can continue, just send me a private message. God bless
Each revelation of any truth, we can call,- the work of the Holy Spirit. Glory to the Lord our God that and everything else.
I do not have account on facebook, nor do I want to have it there.
Since that kind of so-called ‘social media’ digital chat rooms, and particulary FB are ruled and controlled by the enemies of the Church, I don’t want to have anything with them. But I am easily to find on Google +, under Ivan is my name, where I’ve been sharing some good Catholic material for some time now. You can send me PP there, if you have a gmail account.
As for Congar, if you had asked me, I could tell you the same thing. But. the best way is to read about things from the sources with your own eyes.
Congar (as ‘minimalist’ at the IIVC, who belonged to a group of all ultra-modernists as well as Rahner and Schillebeeckx and others), primitively insulted fr Karlo Balić. Congar who he himself was such called him “charlatan” and “propagandist”. But fr Karlo Balić was one of the very best experts on scholastic theology. And one of the last ones, in Catholic Church in general. He also knew that scholasticism had and has many enemies, and that enemies of scholasticism throughout history were at the same time the enemies of the Church. He was appointed by Pope Pius XII as a member of the commission for studying the matters of the Assumption. The result of the Balić’s work is Testimonia de Assumptione B.V Mariae ex omnibus saeculis, which has contributed to the papal proclamation of the dogma of Mary’s Assumption (1950.). He also influenced Pius XII to pronounce St. Anthony of Padua, the Doctor of the Church (1946.). During II. Vatican Council, where Fr. Karlo participated as a peritus, he was the most prominent among the “maximists”, who sought that the Council declare the fifth dogma of Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix of all graces. But their proposal was by ultra-modernist forces marked as a disturbance to their (false) ‘ecumenism’. Because the protestant heretics always reject any veneration of the Mother of God.
Thanks Ivane, it all makes sense. I have read Congar’s Notes from VII and put it aside, He might have been a great linguist of Latin and Greek etc. but I have doubts about his wisdom…I will see if I can connect with you on Google+ I have an old account there but do not use it often at all. Anyway, we may communicate soon again more but now it is for me too late and I would like to have some sleep… God bless!
As much as I love Poland and think they are due a lot of Credit, and as much as my own country Germany is maligned, let it be known that in Germany all shops are closed on Sundays, except for Advent and for gas stations… and that in Germany the major Christian festivals are celebrated for two days (all shops closed and people off from work)… in that category Poland does not have the lead…
I am both of German and Polish ancestry so I am gladdened to hear of Germany’s status of honoring the Sabbath and of Poland’s push for it. I lived in Greece for ten years and in Greece stores except for convenience stores are all closed on Sundays and to the best of my knowledge still are. Although I did not witness the churches being full in Greece, an interesting fact is that when presented with a question from Pew Research, such as to be truly Greek must one be Christian, or to be truly Polish, must one be Christian, etc., the Greeks actually responded with the highest rate in the affirmative. Of all the Europeans surveyed, the Greeks responded in the affirmative at the highest rate followed by the Poles. I still can remember riding buses in Greece and seeing a young passenger or two making the sign of the cross when we would pass by a church. I also remember the public school classrooms having icons on the wall, shop owners displaying them and religion, (Greek Orthodoxy) being taught a few times a week at school.
Although there is much work to be done yet, since Poland’s birth rate is very low, still when a people and their government take such positive steps as officially proclaiming Christ as their King, and forming a nationwide rosary crusade, can we not expect the Lord to do anything but to start blessing them?
Bad move. Even the Jews of old did not prohibit the goyim to work.