The Sabbath....on a Sunday?

I do not know if this is the right forum in which to post this…if it is not, please accept my apologies, I am new here.

Sunday is the first day of the week, of that, I am sure we can all agree. So, that would mean the seventh, is Saturday. surely this means that the Sabbath should be on a Saturday…or am I missing an obvious point?
I know that the Christians were persecuted by the Romans, and this may have been the reason for changing it, after all the Romans venerated Sunday to worship…you guessed it, the Sun.

This is all well and good…but:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (NAS, Exodus 20:8-11)

Now I am confused…is the Bible … dare I utter this on a Catholic forum? … wrong?

I read some writings by The Rev, M Muller (his ‘Explanation of Catholic Doctrine’)…and in it he states, ‘‘The doctrines of the Catholic Church are entirely independent of the Holy Scripture’’…now I am getting more and more confused.

Then I read Decretal de Tranlatic Episcop: "The Pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ. The Pope has the authority and has often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ’’.

This is really confusing me now…I am only a dumb guy who is fascinated by your religion and faith…surely Christ’s authority is absolute…how can the Pope alter it?

Welcome to the forums.

The main issue you have is that you do not understand the Catholic teaching on the sabbath, a teaching that we have held since Jesus founded the Church. Looking at your post it appears you are reading some sources that also do not understand.

Here are three short articles that will give you solid Catholic teaching on the subject. After you give them a look come on back and we will see what we can clear up.


2168 The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD."92

2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."93

2170 Scripture also reveals in the Lord’s day a memorial of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt: "You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day."94

2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant.95 The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel.

2172 God’s action is the model for human action. If God “rested and was refreshed” on the seventh day, man too ought to “rest” and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed."96 The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.97

2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.98 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."99 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.100 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.101 "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."102


This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.103
The day of the Resurrection: the new creation

2174 Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week."104 Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath,105 it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:

We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.106
Sunday - fulfillment of the sabbath

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:107

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all."109 Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

Thank you TheDoctor…you are right, I do not understand the Catholic teachings, and the more I try, the more confused I feel.
I look forward to reading the articles…hopefully my head will stop spinning :slight_smile:

Saturday is the Sabath, however Sunday is the Lord’s Day.
We go to Mass to worship on Sundays in order to honor the day of His his Resurrection. Here is a great video by Jimmy Akin talking about this.

Thank you for that…I understand a little more now…this is such a friendly, helpful site :slight_smile:

What many of us were lead astray by is the thought that everything we need to know is in the bible and that the bible alone must drive all of our beliefs. Yet, God chose not to reveal His Son via the written word but rather, as the Word made flesh. Jesus did not send forth a bible, or scriptures or writing of any sort. He sent Apostles, who taught orally. A tiny portion of that teaching was later recorded in written form.

From the scriptures, we see that Jesus defeated death and rose on Sunday. The Apostles received the Holy Spirit on Sunday (the Lord’s day) and the Apostles met for the Eucharist on Sunday (the Lord’s day). We know that Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic law, which had required a Saturday observance. Fulfillment indicates that something followed. Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath, and is Master of the Sabbath - which was made for man, and not man being made for the Sabbath.


I don’t think Sunday is the Sabbath. I believe that Sunday is the Lords Day (different thing and reason), and that the Sabbath is “today” when you hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. So then there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Again he sets a certain day “today”. (Hebrews 3 - 4)

So the Sabbath is entered at the end of labors but it is predetermined “today” by “hearing his voice” by “not hardening your hearts” in disobedience.

When a person chooses to do that, they are keeping the Sabbath.

I would love to know why you think this statement to be genuine. The very fact that it states “and has often exercised it” leads me to believe that it is not Catholic, but an anti-Catholic commentary.

I don’t think Sunday is the Sabbath. I believe that Sunday is the Lords Day (different thing and reason), and that the Sabbath is “today” when you hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. So then there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Again he sets a certain day “today”. (Hebrews 3 - 4)

So the Sabbath is entered at the end of labors but it is predetermined “today” by “hearing his voice” by “not hardening your hearts” in disobedience.

When a person chooses to do that, they are keeping the Sabbath.

None of this is right. The pope cannot repeal revealed truth nor change a divine command.

The same Reverend Miller (CSSR - Redemptorist) writes:

***Q. Can anyone change the doctrine of Jesus Christ, or the articles of faith, the commandments, or the sacraments?

A. To think so and to attempt to do so would be as foolish as it would be for one to attempt to reform the visible world
and the laws which God has established to preserve and maintain it.***

Reverend Miller’s writings are quite good. I can’t wait to read them more in depth. Maybe later today I’ll explain about God resting on the seventh day and Israel failing to enter into that rest.


Worship on the Sabbath was a part of the Old Covenant, which is not what we celebrate. We are part of the New Covenant, which has worship on the Lord’s Day, Sunday.

If you only read Exodus 20:8-11, you might get the impression that everyone is suppose to observe the Sabbath, since its institution was based on God’s one day of rest after his six days of creation work. However, according to Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the Sabbath was instituted as a weekly commemoration of the Jewish Exodus, the day God liberated the Jews from their slavery in Egypt, the defining moment in Jewish history. So, the Sabbath Commandment is not universal in nature but particularly Jewish. Christians are not bound to keep the Jewish Sabbath, anymore than they are bound to keep the new moon and other Jewish festivals and Jewish dietary laws. See Colossians 2:16.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, when God liberated mankind from their slavery to sin and death, is the defining moment in Christian history. It makes perfect sense, if Christians are going to have a weekly commemoration, based on God’s one day of rest after his six days of creation work, that they celebrate the universally-significant Sunday resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead instead of the particularly-significant Saturday exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

The ancient creeds of the Christian people summarise the faith which they held in common. With slight variations most every Christian denomination today is happy to assent to the Nicene Creed which includes this

I believe in one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic Church.

That is, the Church does not define herself as biblical primarily but rather as Apostolic. This means that she holds to the faith which she received from the Apostles, called the deposit of faith. This includes but is not confined to Sacred Scripture. Among the beliefs which the Church received was the practice of coming together to celebrate the Lords resurrection on the day of the week when we know that this occurred. Therefore having Sunday as the Lords day is an Apostolic belief and on those grounds alone the Church is justified in this practice.

As far as scripture goes Blessed John Henry Newman the great English convert to Catholicism makes the point in Apologia pro Vita Sua and elsewhere that given the wide variety of literary genres within them and the similar variety of specific purposes for which they were written they are not at all suitable to deduce doctrines from with any degree of certainty. What they are exceptionally useful for, however, is to prove the doctrines which we have received from the Apostles. And so it is in this case. Scripture tells us that Christians met on the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection. History tells us that since early times Sunday has been held to be a special day by the Church. We can then safely conclude that the practice of observing the Lords day owes everything to the Apostles and nothing to a desire to adapt Christianity to paganism.

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