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Should Catholics shop on Sunday? February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Grace, sanctity, secularism, self-serving, Society, Tradition, Virtue.

I’m becoming a Grunerite!  Well that’s what some will say………”how on earth can you post videos of John Vennari and Fr. Gruner?”  Because it’s a good and reasonable discussion on a matter that is often overlooked, that is keeping the Sabbath.  I’ve also adopted Pertinacious Papist’s rulz, especially 7-9.  Just because I post something from somebody or something, that is not to be taken as a blanket endorsement of everything they do, say, write, produce, etc. It just means this particular item is good and beneficial, in my limited judgment.

To the point, should Catholics engage in shopping or other trade on Sundays?  The question is examined in some depth below, although I wish it went into a little more detail.  Fr. Gruner notes that it is acceptable to run and buy a couple necessities if one forgot them, and it is generally OK to frequent a restaurant on Sunday, too, although some might have qualms over causing others to work on the Sabbath.  I am much younger than either Vennari or Fr. Gruner, but I, too, recall when Texas still had blue laws and virtually every business was closed on Sunday.  I think they were repealed about 1980.  I think it’s a sad thing that they were repealed.  Yes, it is marginally more convenient to be able to shop on both days on the weekend, but folks were able to do without for decades, and the legalization of mass trade on Sundays has only heightened people’s worship of their real god, commercialism, while detracting from the worship of their Creator.

I was left wondering a bit about the necessities, however……..is that limited only to food?  This weekend, I’m going to be doing some major surgery on my truck.  What if I don’t complete the work by Saturday as planned, and find I need a part on Sunday?  Without my truck, I can’t make it to work on Monday.  Is that a sufficient necessity to visit the auto parts store? Should I even be doing that kind of work on Sunday?  That is sort of servile labor, but I don’t really mind doing it, and even like it to a certain degree. I would think it’s probably OK to do a necessary and unplanned repair (as I intend to finish on Saturday), but what if I’m just doing some home improvement, and likewise find I need something to complete the task, but it’s not nearly so urgent and could be delayed?  In that case it think it would be better to defer?  I can think of a number of variations on this theme.

I think the main point is that we should strive to honor the Sabbath as much as possible.  It’s not just Saturday Mark II, it is a day of rest ordained by God for our own good, wherein we are to render proper honor and worship to Him, as well as spend time with our families as much as that is possible.  God made the Sabbath for man, so we don’t need to reduce the restrictions on work to ludicrous levels as the pharisees did, but we should strive within prudence to limit our activities outside work, home, and needed rest.  I don’t know about you, but I could stand a little more rest!

I’m open to hearing your opinions on the matter.


1. Branch - February 13, 2015

No, we shouldn’t shop on Sundays unless strictly necessary. And I don’t see how going to a restaurant on Sunday can be justified, either. We are making someone else work and at the very least implicitly going against the prohibition against work on Sundays.

2. MicahC - February 13, 2015

The topic of gardening as a recreation came up in discussion with a FSSP priest who stated that even servile labor one finds enjoyable is still servile labor nonetheless and should be avoided.

3. TG - February 13, 2015

I’m guilty of shopping on Sunday especially if I have a coupon that expires. I’ve had conflicting opinions in Confession – one priest said it was ok because I enjoyed it and another priest (former pastor) said unless it was necessary. I used to live 20 miles in the country from the grocery store so I considered it necessary to buy a food item since I was already in town and I would do it after Mass. I read the Cathechism and what I got out of it is that you shouldn’t shop. I do make it a point of not doing housework except laundry. The machine is washing the clothes and the dryer is drying them. I know some people think you shouldn’t do even that. Very interesting post. I hope a lot of people comment. I’m interested in other perspectives.

TG - February 13, 2015

Also, I remember Father Corapi (should I dare mention that name) once said that it is okay to buy something you really need like medicine or food but just don’t spend the whole day at the mall. (Been guilty of that in the past but not anymore.)

4. Karie Mitchell - February 13, 2015

When I was a girl I lived in Germany and they had “blue laws” too. I used to think it inconvenient at first, but then I understood it and actually relished the rest it provided my family. Father was military and it was nice that we could just go for a walk or ride through parks and forests and get to meet people.

I think the best way is to plan to be with family on Sunday and do things that are not work. We usually go to Mass on Sunday morning and then we have lunch at home and if the weather is nice, go to a park and play. I find it very relaxing and a way to connect after such a busy week!

5. MFG - February 13, 2015

Did you know that Bergen County, NJ, which is a suburb next to NYC still has blue laws to this day? On Sundays all malls and retail store are closed. It’s really cool to visit and see an empty mall parking lot.

I read once that the town of Paramus which is home to most malls once recently considered closing all office buildings to prevent even office workers from going in Sunday.

I think the reason for blue laws are mainly congestion relief off the highways.

6. David - February 13, 2015

For some reason, I noticed that haircut places and libraries cannot open on Sunday until after noon, and many libraries (with the exception of colleges) close at 6:00 pm, as do the haircut places.

I recall the Air Force Bases the commissary would close on Sunday, but the Base Exchange would be open on Sunday from say, 1300 hours to 1800 hours. I don’t know if that still holds for military bases, since that was nearly 25 years ago.

7. cenlacatholic - February 13, 2015

If it is menial work on Sunday that I cannot avoid, I ask Fr. for a dispensation.

8. Pseudodionysius - February 13, 2015

In addition to the Sunday work issue (which can get complicated) I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the answer as to whether coffee breaks the Eucharistic fast or not (particularly when you have to drive long distances). I’ve seen conflicting answers as regards the Eucharistic and Lenten fast (on Fr Z’s blog there seemed to be no clear cut answer) never mind the issue of which fast to observe (I fast from midnight but am up frightfully early on Sunday am’s to drive others to Mass and the coffee seems to be almost a medicinal necessity on Sundays).

Anyway, didn’t mean to threadjack…

9. Baseballmom - February 13, 2015

I think we can get waaaaay too wound up in “should I do this? Should I not do that?” The point of Sunday is to make it a day set aside to honor God, to assist at Mass, to have as much family time as possible – to never let sports (the god most folks worship every weekend) interfere with Mass attendance, to keep our priorities in order etc. etc. My better half still appreciates family “Sunday dinner” (even though 5 of the 8 are gone) – and that of course requires work on my part…. But we try to keep that tradition. Loving and serving God and offering all that we do for Him every day of the week is a good way to go…. 😉

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