MODERN SLAVERY

Czesław Ryszka

The Act about restricting trade on Sunday returned from the Senate to the Seym, with various amendments. Out of all free Sundays – which was demanded in the civic bill draft – we have only 2 Sundays in a month, beginning from 1 March, but hoping that from the year 2020 they all will be day-offs. The bill draft – very important for Poles, for families and for the country – raised lots of emotions in the Senate. None of senators of the opposition supported it. It is a pity, as the bill has a much more significant purpose: it concerns human freedom, which is taken away from people by: workaholism, commerce and consumption. I will write to the point that the act wants to abolish slavery of international corporations which imposed a duty of work every Sunday.

I understand that for us, consumers, doing shopping every day is very convenient, and gives the sense of freedom. However, we must not forget that we deprive somebody else of this freedom. Hearing the argument that anyway lots of people must work on Sunday, there is the answer: if we cannot help everybody does it mean not helping anyone?

We had been aspiring for many years, as a country, to be in the European Union. Today, through this solution, we are adjusting Polish law to the EU one. If Germany, France, Spain, Austria and other EU countries apply trade restrictions on Sunday, also we should introduce this solution, respecting freedom of ours and others. Why would it be different in our country? I will remind that we had a similar discussion in 2007 when we were introducing 12 holidays and Sundays as day-offs. We were threatened that everything would fail, that there would be mass redundancies. It turned out that employment rate increased by 7 per cent and also nothing bad happened to Polish economy. If today about 100 thousand workers are missing in the trade sector, then what redundancies are we talking about? People working on Sundays need a holy day and do not acknowledge its loss as a sufficient compensation in the form of a day-off on a different week day or an extra salary.

Moreover, we cannot omit the most important fact in our European culture, and precisely speaking – the Christian one that Sunday is a particular day, a holy day – the first day of the week celebrated to commemorate the Resurrection Day of Christ, which was reflected not only in the ecclesiastical law, but also in the secular Labour Code, the most important document regulating principles of cooperation between the employer and the employee. Hence celebrating Sunday is one of the basic family rights and workers’ rights.

For centuries Sunday has also been a day of strengthening family relations through spending free time together. No day in the week guaranteed that nor does it now. So, what happened that Sunday is not celebrated anymore?

In my opinion since the times of the Enlightenment, and precisely speaking, since the industrial era, since socialist and communist trends, in Europe there has been a fight with Christian values. This anti-Christian, and even anti-human trend was called by pope Benedict XVI ‘dictatorship of relativism’. As a result, in order to blur the holy character of Sunday, this day is fulfilled with sport events, concerts, various kinds of entertainment and also very often with the idea of a free weekend. I do not diminish the role of entertainment or rest but at this background there is a fight for Sunday and its feast, family and religious character.

Hence this attack on Sunday is not only ‘distracting’ believers from ‘the duty’ of participation in the Holy Mass, but is also a coldly planned program of de-christianization, imposing pseudo-values.

May Sundays become day-offs again, and guarantee emotional peace, as well as build a religious and national community.

Translation: Aneta Amrozik

„Niedziela” 2/2018 (14 I 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
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