“The bishops underscore the need to restore Sunday to society.”
Poland, once a communist-controlled nation, has very quickly exceeded Western Europe in morality. It has some of the most strict abortion laws on the continent, and has further solidified its Christian nation cred by voting to proclaim Sunday a day of rest and phase out shopping on Sunday by 2020.
The bill was proposed by trade unions that want shop workers to spend more time with their families with support from the ruling party that adheres to Catholic values. Critics say it would negatively affect Poland’s economy, eliminating tens of thousands of jobs as well as supermarket chains, which are mostly western.
Votes were dominated by the ruling party 254 for, with 156 against it with 23 abstentions to limit Sunday shopping to the first and last Sunday of the month from March 1 until the end of 2018; during 2019 only on the last Sunday each month; and a total ban starting in 2020. There will be exceptions that allow shopping before major holidays like Christmas and Easter. The Polish senate is expected to pass the bill which will be signed into law by President Duda.
Poland has continued to maintain a strong connection to its Catholic heritage in recent years, rejecting the progressive quest for abortion on demand and thwarting assaults on traditional marriage.
Poland›s Catholic bishops have praised the move as a bold step forward, though with reservations. Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops Conference, said the bill is welcomed while still “unsatisfactory.”
“The bishops underscore the need to restore Sunday to society as a day of rest and time of building family ties as well as strengthening social relationships,” he said. “They point out also that Sunday rest cannot be a luxury for a chosen few but is an integral part of equal treatment for all employees. Therefore, there is an urgent need to make all Sundays free from work, just as is already the case in many European Union countries.”
Economists disagree and have denounced the bill as a “disgrace.”
“The government’s attempt to coerce part of the population not to sell or shop on Sundays is a disgrace and has nothing to do with Catholicism,” Wrocław-based economist and entrepreneur Piotr Zapałowicz told LifeSiteNews. “Some people will lose their jobs or part of their income, especially those employed on hourly wages.”
Michal Dybula, a Warsaw-based economic strategist at Bank BGZ BNP Paribas, said “any restriction of economic activity, such as retail trade, results in weaker economic growth.”