What are the rules regarding Sunday rest?

From the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.
Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

(emphasis added)

Yet I have read people state elsewhere that the requirement is “to abstain from all unnecessary servile work” or somesuch.

  1. What exactly is servile work? I have some idea, but I’m not exactly sure.

  2. Which of the above rules must we obey, or must we obey both of them simultaneously?

If the former only, it would seem that we can engage in any type of work, whether necessary or not, so long as we are careful that it does not “hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.”

If the latter only, it would seem that we must be very careful that any servile work we might engage in can be honestly described as “necessary”, but also that we may engage in however much non-servile work we like.


In Romans Paul says that strong believers don’t need to keep holy the sabbath. I wonder why the church decided to go against Paul.

The Church doesn’t keep the Sabbath (Saturday) holy. It keeps the Lord’s Day (Sunday).

Nice try! :wink:

Sam, the Neon Orange Knight

Is there any scriptural support for it?


Off topic. This post regards how to fulfill the prescription in Canon Law. If you wish to discuss which day ought to be the the day of rest, or whether there should be any day at all, or if there is scriptural support for any of the above may I suggest you start another thread?


Can you provide this reference? In all of the Scripture that I’ve read I’ve yet to see Paul abolish one of the ten commandments. Christ fulfilled the Sabbath. The resurrection is the hope for all people so we do observe the Lord’s day which is Sunday. Your statement that “strong believers don’t need to keep holy the sabbath” actually contradicts itself since strong believers would indeed keep holy the Lord’s day. As Christians we observe the first day of the week but that fulfills the sabbath of creation since in Christ all things are a new creation… teachccd

While this takes a right turn I do not consider asking for a reference as being off topic when it does refer to the same topic. Point well taken… I’m off of this thread… teachccd

P.S. Do you have anything for the OP or are you just moderating?

Sunday is not the sabbath…and Paul was talking about Christians not being under the Jewish Law…

Sunday is the Day of the Lord.

Does any scripture support sunday being the day of the lord?

Yes the thing about avoiding servile work is still valid…

from the Catechism in a different part: 2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and** rest from servile labor**”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82

Here is one definition: catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=36428

do not look at it as ‘rules’…but as a way of life…living the joy of the resurrection!

And i would say that this really puts our focus in the right place:

2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,"121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122

2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

also read this whole thing from the Catechism;


and read this from;

Pope Benedict XVI:

Iuxta dominicam viventes – living in accordance with the Lord’s Day

  1. From the beginning Christians were clearly conscious of this radical newness which the Eucharist brings to human life. The faithful immediately perceived the profound influence of the eucharistic celebration on their manner of life. Saint Ignatius of Antioch expressed this truth when he called Christians “those who have attained a new hope,” and described them as “those living in accordance with the Lord’s Day” (iuxta dominicam viventes). (204) This phrase of the great Antiochene martyr highlights the connection between the reality of the Eucharist and everyday Christian life. The Christians’ customary practice of gathering on the first day after the Sabbath to celebrate the resurrection of Christ – according to the account of Saint Justin Martyr(205) – is also what defines the form of a life renewed by an encounter with Christ. Saint Ignatius’ phrase – “living in accordance with the Lord’s Day” – also emphasizes that this holy day becomes paradigmatic for every other day of the week. Indeed, it is defined by something more than the simple suspension of one’s ordinary activities, a sort of parenthesis in one’s usual daily rhythm. Christians have always experienced this day as the first day of the week, since it commemorates the radical newness brought by Christ. Sunday is thus the day when Christians rediscover the eucharistic form which their lives are meant to have. “Living in accordance with the Lord’s Day” means living in the awareness of the liberation brought by Christ and making our lives a constant self-offering to God, so that his victory may be fully revealed to all humanity through a profoundly renewed existence.

Living the Sunday obligation

  1. Conscious of this new vital principle which the Eucharist imparts to the Christian, the Synod Fathers reaffirmed the importance of the Sunday obligation for all the faithful, viewing it as a wellspring of authentic freedom enabling them to live each day in accordance with what they celebrated on “the Lord’s Day.” The life of faith is endangered when we lose the desire to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and its commemoration of the paschal victory. Participating in the Sunday liturgical assembly with all our brothers and sisters, with whom we form one body in Jesus Christ, is demanded by our Christian conscience and at the same time it forms that conscience. To lose a sense of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a day to be sanctified, is symptomatic of the loss of an authentic sense of Christian freedom, the freedom of the children of God. (206) Here some observations made by my venerable predecessor John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (207) continue to have great value. Speaking of the various dimensions of the Christian celebration of Sunday, he said that it is Dies Domini with regard to the work of creation, Dies Christi as the day of the new creation and the Risen Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit, Dies Ecclesiae as the day on which the Christian community gathers for the celebration, and Dies hominis as the day of joy, rest and fraternal charity.

Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. It gives rise to the Christian meaning of life and a new way of experiencing time, relationships, work, life and death. On the Lord’s Day, then, it is fitting that Church groups should organize, around Sunday Mass, the activities of the Christian community: social gatherings, programmes for the faith formation of children, young people and adults, pilgrimages, charitable works, and different moments of prayer. For the sake of these important values – while recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled – we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day “empty of God.” (208)

The meaning of rest and of work

  1. Finally, it is particularly urgent nowadays to remember that the day of the Lord is also a day of rest from work. It is greatly to be hoped that this fact will also be recognized by civil society, so that individuals can be permitted to refrain from work without being penalized. Christians, not without reference to the meaning of the Sabbath in the Jewish tradition, have seen in the Lord’s Day a day of rest from their daily exertions. This is highly significant, for it relativizes work and directs it to the person: work is for man and not man for work. It is easy to see how this actually protects men and women, emancipating them from a possible form of enslavement. As I have had occasion to say, “work is of fundamental importance to the fulfilment of the human being and to the development of society. Thus, it must always be organized and carried out with full respect for human dignity and must always serve the common good. At the same time, it is indispensable that people not allow themselves to be enslaved by work or to idolize it, claiming to find in it the ultimate and definitive meaning of life.” (209) It is on the day consecrated to God that men and women come to understand the meaning of their lives and also of their work. (210)


Thanks, Bookcat.

Has anyone else got any input?

(By the way, it would be very much appreciated if people resisted their insatiable urges to refute falsehood – I’ve been there myself :o – and refrained from feeding the troll. ;))

Nope. Guilty as charged!


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