Sundays Are Losing Their Meaning, Warns Cardinal

Day of Rest Touted as Crucial for Human Dignity

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BERLIN, OCT. 27, 2002 ( Sunday as a day of rest is a guard against «enslavement by the world of work,» a cardinal says.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German bishops’ conference, confirmed the Church’s position on Sunday work. «The celebration of Sunday is a necessity of human dignity, a protest against the commercialization of the person, and against enslavement by the world of work,» he said.

The archbishop of Mainz was speaking at the opening of the exhibition «The Seventh Day: History of Sunday,» an event he described as an «extraordinary occasion to reflect again on Sunday and the dangers that threaten it,» the SIR agency reported.

«All creatures, especially the human being, must have the possibility to be free and to rest from the pressures of society and our world,» the cardinal explained. «For human existence, to alternate work and release from it is as important as its social foundation.»

In sketching the history of the existence of Sunday, Cardinal Lehmann said that the Second Vatican Council recognized in the day «the foundation and nucleus of the whole liturgical year.»

The cardinal pointed out the danger of Sunday losing its meaning.

«Sunday and feast days could be eliminated or turned into simple weekends, time to go out and to enjoy sports events,» he said. «Sunday is not at our free disposal. Among the conditions for real freedom is the proper celebration of Sunday.»

He added: «It is not accidental that the Jewish sabbath is a most special gift of God to humanity, as Sunday is.»

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