No Shopping on Sundays?


#1

Does the church have an official teaching about shopping on Sundays?

My mother has always insisted that we can’t shop on Sundays…except we can go to antique stores, little country stores, and any other little store (the kind SHE likes to visit, lol) I don’t think a “no shopping rule” would be dependent on the size of the store you’re shopping at…

I don’t understand! I mean, I don’t think we should go grocery shopping, (or any shopping that doesn’t fall under the realm of fun!) But my father and I collect toys and we LOVE to shop at, say, Target or Walmart. Even when we don’t buy anything, I always consider fun shopping to be a special way to spend time with my parents…

I’ve never seen any official rules to address this point. What are we supposed to do?

If we can’t shop on Sunday, does that apply to everything? If we’re out on a country drive, we can’t stop at all the cute little country stores? (Which are EVERYWHERE here in VT) :confused:

Tif


#2

just my tuppence worth, if you shop on sunday you are creating demand for that service, then the retailers will meet that demand by changing contracts or putting into contracts that sundays are part of your working week, there by people who can only get low paid jobs like cashiers etc are being taking away from their families and church on the day of rest, lets face it retailing is not an essential service like the police or other emergency services so by our selfishness we are making people work while we are at play, that is why i refrain from sunday shopping,


#3

Tif, if you’re in Vermont there IS no TARGET. (Unless you go over to Glens Falls in NY). Are there even any Targets in NH closer than, say, Manchester?

Walmarts are another story, they made it here about 15 years ago. And in the last couple of years I’ve noticed that they have gotten a litle “pricier” too.


#4

Hey! Another Vermonter!

Yeah, I do mean the Target in Queensbury. It’s only about 45 minutes away, and there’s a Toys R Us there too!

I wish they would come to VT. They have a lot of “Target Exclusive” versions of the toys I collect. :smiley:

Tif

#5

Cainem’s post reflects the constant teaching of the Church on this issue. :thumbsup: For instance, see Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Dies Domini (On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy).

When, through the centuries, she has made laws concerning Sunday rest, the Church has had in mind above all the work of servants and workers, certainly not because this work was any less worthy when compared to the spiritual requirements of Sunday observance, but rather because it needed greater regulation to lighten its burden and thus enable everyone to keep the Lord’s Day holy. In this matter, my predecessor Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum Novarum spoke of Sunday rest as a worker’s right which the State must guarantee.

If it’s really essential for our family to take part in commercial activity on Sundays, we try to patronize businesses that would be open anyway, even in a truly Christian society. For instance, if we needed medication, we’d drive the extra distance across town to buy it at a 24-hour drugstore. If we had to eat out, we’d go to a restaurant in a part of town that caters to the needs of travellers.

From a more positive angle, we try to form a habit of spending time on Friday and Saturday getting the house ready for Sunday. It’s sort of like a “little Lent” that precedes the “little Easter.” :slight_smile: The modern concept of the “weekend,” as a unified whole, is very different from the Christian understanding of these days. The encyclical has many thought-provoking things to say about this.

When it comes to “recreational shopping” – America’s favorite pastime :wink: – we try to avoid it altogether on Sundays. Pilgrimages to the mall are definitely out of the question for us. OTOH, we’ve been known to shop at craft stalls at festivals, and sometimes open-air farmer’s markets, if they’re not open any other day. We have some doubts as to whether or not this is a good idea, but our reasoning has been that these events promote a sense of community celebration that’s sadly lacking in modern society, and, in that sense, they’re at least somewhat in keeping with the spirit of the Lord’s Day. (From a historical perspective, some medieval Catholic towns held markets on Sunday, but Church officials frowned on the practice. Here’s a very interesting article: Feast and Daily Life in the Middle Ages)

Personally, I’d be uncomfortable with the idea of going to antique shops on Sunday. Could you perhaps do an occasional country drive on Saturday, instead? :slight_smile:


#6

I bet I know what you collect TraderTif…perchance MLP!?!
I was just reading through the topics on here and thought I recognized your name! I’m on the TP under another screen name…

Anyways…I don’t think shopping for fun is a sin on a Sunday–especially if you are doing it with family as a family activity. I can understand the argument about store staying open on Sundays because people go there–but I highly doubt that any would close on Sunday if even every Catholic american didn’t go on Sundays at all-----


#7

Who Me?? innocent look

Collect ponies?? giggle

stuffs ponies into closet

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I must be making a name for myself if people can recognize me that easily, lol

Tif =8-)


#8

[quote=Dubervilles]I can understand the argument about store staying open on Sundays because people go there–but I highly doubt that any would close on Sunday if even every Catholic american didn’t go on Sundays at all-----
[/quote]

What about every Christian American? The vast majority of the United States is nominally Christian. By shopping on Sundays, we’re almost certain to be contributing to a fellow believer’s having to work on the Lord’s Day. Even if we only went to stores that we knew for certain were staffed by, say, Hindus, it would still contribute to the problem, since Christian storeowners would feel the competitive pressure to remain open on Sunday.

Again, it’s not just my personal opinion that Catholics should avoid Sunday shopping; it’s the constant teaching of the Church.

Phoenix Bishop says “No Sunday Shopping”

Should You Buy a Car on Sunday? (Bishop of Providence, RI)

Interestingly enough, even the “liberal” America magazine has published an article acknowledging the wisdom of the Church on this issue. The Delight of Sunday

If you haven’t yet read Dies Domini, I hope you’ll do so. John Paul II explains the roots and significance of this teaching so beautifully. :slight_smile:


#9

Christ said that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

The sabbath was made so that people would not be forced to work every day.

For us to allow ourselves to be “pushed around” by rules on what we can or cannot do no the sabbath, means we have chosen to enslave ourselves to rules about what we can or can’t do on Sunday rather than the usual work itself. If we have to actively abstain from something we would like to do, then it becomes a discipline in itself. That may serve some people but not necessarily all, that such “rest” is actually restorative.

More than once, Christ’s friend broke the letter of the law in the opinions of the Pharisees, but Christ came through with His understanding of the spirit of the law. In one case, they picked grain which was forbidden, but there was a higher law – they were hungry. In another case, Jesus healed on Sunday, but there was a higher law – doing good on Sunday instead of doing evil.

Alan


#10

O.k. So when am I supposed to shop? I’ve actually always agreed that most things should close on Sundays. I’ve always thought most things should close by 8 pm on any day.

But, in reality, if a person works Mon. through Fri., 9 to 5, when do they do their shopping? Not after work, they should be at home with the family for dinner, homework, family time, etc… Not on Sat., they should be on outings and sporting events their children are involved in. So when do they shop?

A stay at home Mom can shop whenever she finds time and energy (a rare comodity, I know). But those who work long hard hours have very little time to do their shopping.

Especially if the shopping is providing for the family, I think that a lot of people don’t have too much choice.


#11

Here in Puerto Rico on Sundays most stores are not allowed to open until after 11 a.m so that it gives people the chance to go to church. Most local businesses are closed. The majority of the stores that do open on Sunday’s are the big US companies.


#12

[quote=pira114]A stay at home Mom can shop whenever she finds time and energy (a rare comodity, I know). But those who work long hard hours have very little time to do their shopping.
[/quote]

As a stay-at-home mother of little ones, I actually find it most practical to do the shopping on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, when DH can watch the children. It does cut into our “family time” and outings somewhat… but then, that’s what Sundays are for. :wink:

Regarding Dimmers’ comment… when were vacationing in a Catholic country in the Caribbean, we were really impressed by the way the local people observed Sundays. All the families went to church at 7:00 am, dressed in their nicest outfits – then they went home to change, packed up their picnic hampers, and spent the rest of the day at the beach. :cool: :cool: :cool: :smiley:


#13

[quote=AlanFromWichita]If we have to actively abstain from something we would like to do, then it becomes a discipline in itself.
[/quote]

Alan, did you read the encyclical I posted? The Church’s teaching isn’t based in legalism. It’s based in love for our neighbor, who has the right to spend Sunday with his family and the Lord.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]More than once, Christ’s friend broke the letter of the law in the opinions of the Pharisees, but Christ came through with His understanding of the spirit of the law. In one case, they picked grain which was forbidden, but there was a higher law – they were hungry. In another case, Jesus healed on Sunday, but there was a higher law – doing good on Sunday instead of doing evil.
[/quote]

Of course… and that’s why the Church doesn’t forbid ambulance drivers, hotel keepers, taxi drivers, etc. from working on Sunday. There will always be situations – travel, illness, etc. – where people find themselves in unavoidable need of essential goods and services. But this isn’t what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about regular shopping (whether “practical” or “recreational”), that, with a little advance planning, could have been done on another day.

This topic hits close to home for us. Although we avoid going to the mall or grocery store on Sunday, we often stop by “open houses” when we’re out driving. Until now, we’d found some way of rationalizing it to ourselves… but, after reading about the Catholic realtor who spends Sunday with his family, rather than showing houses (see my first link, above), I realize this isn’t a great thing for us to be doing. :o I guess we’ll just have to pray extra hard for St. Joseph to find us the right house!


#14

We recently decided to forgo shopping on Sundays. It has been a challenge, especially that Sunday a few weeks ago that we ran out of milk, and last Sunday I ran out of yeast. But it’s worth the effort and is making a difference in our lives.


#15

[quote=maryceleste]What about every Christian American? The vast majority of the United States is nominally Christian. By shopping on Sundays, we’re almost certain to be contributing to a fellow believer’s having to work on the Lord’s Day. Even if we only went to stores that we knew for certain were staffed by, say, Hindus, it would still contribute to the problem, since Christian storeowners would feel the competitive pressure to remain open on Sunday.

Again, it’s not just my personal opinion that Catholics should avoid Sunday shopping; it’s the constant teaching of the Church.

Phoenix Bishop says “No Sunday Shopping”

Should You Buy a Car on Sunday? (Bishop of Providence, RI)

Interestingly enough, even the “liberal” America magazine has published an article acknowledging the wisdom of the Church on this issue. The Delight of Sunday

If you haven’t yet read Dies Domini, I hope you’ll do so. John Paul II explains the roots and significance of this teaching so beautifully. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

It is NOT constant definitive teaching of the Church that you cannot shop on Sundays. That being said, the avoidance of any unnecessary shopping is a great spiritual practice and it does show solidarity with those who have to work on Sundays.

I think the days of blue laws are over. Our economy, for better or worse (likely worse) demands that commerce be as active as possible. If there was a sudden, huge drop in Sunday shopping, it would likely have quite negative economic consequences. I remind people of this around Christmas time when they complain that Christmas is too materialistic. The Christmas shopping season is the only season where most retailers actually generate a profit. If, en masse, we all became less materialistic and didn’t buy much of anything, there would be millions of lost jobs and closed stores. Just something to think about. I think the ideal would be to avoid all shopping as well as all menial work on Sunday. Its likely a venial sin or at least a sign of attachment if one does not do this. But I wouldn’t fear going to hell for it.


#16

[quote=maryceleste]As a stay-at-home mother of little ones, I actually find it most practical to do the shopping on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, when DH can watch the children. It does cut into our “family time” and outings somewhat… but then, that’s what Sundays are for. :wink:

[/quote]

I do my shopping and go to church on Saturday so I can spend the whole day at home on Sunday with my family. I wish I didn’t have to work M-F.


#17

Shopping is what my husband and I usually do as an activity together on Sundays–even if that is just wandering around the mall…we get tired of watching TV or movies and playing video game or on the computer–when it’s cold outside it’s either sit in the house and stare at each other all day and do the same boring things or go shopping (I choose shopping).


#18

Shopping is what my husband and I usually do as an activity together on Sundays–even if that is just wandering around the mall…we get tired of watching TV or movies and playing video game or on the computer–when it’s cold outside it’s either sit in the house and stare at each other all day and do the same boring things or go shopping (I choose shopping).


#19

[quote=DreadVandal]It is NOT constant definitive teaching of the Church that you cannot shop on Sundays. That being said, the avoidance of any unnecessary shopping is a great spiritual practice and it does show solidarity with those who have to work on Sundays.
[/quote]

I think the truth is somewhere in between the alternatives you’ve mentioned. Of course, Sunday shopping isn’t definitively, categorically forbidden in all circumstances (and nobody here said it was). On the other hand, there’s strong evidence that avoiding unnecessary shopping isn’t just an optional “spiritual practice.” If it were, why would so many popes and bishops have spoken so strongly on the subject? And why would it be mentioned in so many “examinations of conscience”… such as this one, which can be found on many orthodox Catholic web sites?

catholic-pages.com/penance/examine.asp

[quote=DreadVandal]Our economy, for better or worse (likely worse) demands that commerce be as active as possible. If there was a sudden, huge drop in Sunday shopping, it would likely have quite negative economic consequences.
[/quote]

Quite possibly. And if all Catholics suddenly started going to Mass on Sunday, there would likely be terrible traffic and parking problems. :slight_smile:

[quote=DreadVandal]Its likely a venial sin or at least a sign of attachment if one does not do this. But I wouldn’t fear going to hell for it.
[/quote]

Again, maybe true. But even if it’s “just” a venial sin, it still isn’t something we should knowingly and willingly be doing on a regular basis.

From the CCC:
"(1863) Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin."

[quote=Dubervilles]Shopping is what my husband and I usually do as an activity together on Sundays–even if that is just wandering around the mall…we get tired of watching TV or movies and playing video game or on the computer–when it’s cold outside it’s either sit in the house and stare at each other all day and do the same boring things or go shopping (I choose shopping).
[/quote]

Well, I can see how you might feel that way. My husband and I would get bored with non-stop TV and video games, too. :frowning: Why not plan on trying something a little different next Sunday? Reading Scripture or other great books… learning to sing or play beautiful music… cooking a special dinner… bundling up and going for a walk in God’s beautiful creation… there are so many options. :slight_smile:

Even better, you and your beloved could share your material and spiritual gifts with friends, family, or strangers who are in need. As John Paul II wrote,

If Sunday is a day of joy, Christians should declare by their actual behavior that we cannot be happy “on our own.” They look around to find people who may need their help. It may be that in their neighborhood or among those they know there are sick people, elderly people, children or immigrants who precisely on Sundays feel more keenly their isolation, needs and suffering.

It is true that commitment to these people cannot be restricted to occasional Sunday gestures. But presuming a wider sense of commitment, why not make the Lord’s Day a more intense time of sharing, encouraging all the inventiveness of which Christian charity is capable?

Inviting to a meal people who are alone, visiting the sick, providing food for needy families, spending a few hours in voluntary work and acts of solidarity: These would certainly be ways of bringing into people’s lives the love of Christ received at the Eucharistic table. Lived in this way, not only the Sunday Eucharist but the whole of Sunday becomes a great school of charity, justice and peace.

Dies Domini, #52, 72-73

BTW, I hope your feelings of “boredom” on Sundays just come from a lack of ideas about things to do, and not from a deeper sense of spiritual deadness… also known as “Spiritual acedia, torpor and depression.” The above article has a long-winded title, but a simple message: Many American Catholics are so preoccupied with material comforts, they’re missing out on feeling the joy that comes from seeking God.

And that joy is what Sunday rest is all about! :slight_smile:


#20

Catholics are supposed to abstain from *unnecessary, servile * work on Sunday’s and holy days. To cover the two points of exception addressed in Scripture: feeding oneself is necessary, that it why restaurants are permitted to operate on Sunday and we are allowed to cook and clean up our Sunday cooking mess - picking grain for the meal was acceptable. Medical attention is also necessary, so hospitals and emergency personnel are also permitted to be open, we can bathe - healing was acceptable. I was told once by a spiritual director that if a food or household item is absolutely needed (diapers, simple medication), pay the higher price and buy it at a convenience store. Whether or not large grocery stores and drug stores are licit in operating on Sunday is probably a matter of what stores are available in your area - licit for some, not others. Just having them open tempts people into shopping for the entire week rather than just for Sunday. Shopping for anything not immediately necessary on Sunday would not be in keeping with the Sunday rest. I know a town today in which virtually nothing is open on Sundays except the restaurants, convenience stores, and video rental store (entertainment is allowed on Sunday). A rental store would be licit (service enterprise), a store selling videos would likely not be (product retailer). A good rule of thumb is if one is serving the immediate needs of the day, or another person.

This topic also opens a can of worms as to what exactly is servile on Sunday.


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