My acquaintances have just returned from Cuba. Impressions of a beautiful adventure and those views were dimmed by the unattractive reality. Although they stayed in a four-and five-star hotels, it turned out that in bathrooms there was no toilet paper. What is more, it was not available even in the reception desk. During energetic intervention, they saw spread out hands of managers and heard: ‘This is Cuba’. In fact they should not have been surprised. They could have asked earlier visitors of this country for information or they could have looked for it on internet. These events come to my mind in the context of a renewed European debate on free Sundays, but not only. It is years since the European Union has been promoting the so-called European values all over the world. It makes its economic and political relations with other countries dependant on it. However, the problem is that these European values are not explicitly defined. Well, let’s take the text in the Charter of Basic Rights as an example that ‘everybody has a right to live’ (art. 2.1.), but we allow for abortion and euthanasia.

Although we do not officially negate Christian roots of Europe, we are not boasting about it and we eliminate all texts referring to Christianity from EU documents. Establishing free Sundays in the European Union correlates with this trend to a large extent. A lot of initiatives have been registered so far, which are aiming at establishing Sunday as a day-off in all EU countries. However, the European Commission systematically shakes off this problem from its shoulders. It states that it does not lie in its competences. In its opinion, free Sundays touch on social-religious problems, and it is the responsibility of particular member countries.

In the biggest EU country, in Germany, Sunday is a statutorily protected day. At the level of German lands, one can gain a permission to work in trade for nine Sunday and feasts at maximum in a year. Recently Hungary has been going to this direction, establishing Good Friday as a day-off.

In Poland, despite pre-electoral loud announcements the matter got stuck in a dead point. Only the Polish Episcopate and ‘Solidarity’ are demanding to establish all fifty Sundays to be days-off, especially in trade. They refer, among the others, to the words of John Paul I: ‘Free Sunday is a dream of many Poles (…). Poles – regardless of religion or opinions – should have a right to free Sunday’. Whereas the government excludes complete prohibition of trade on Sunday and is only thinking over a possibility of prohibiting trade on two Sundays in a month. And one could also ask about other feasts, for example, Good Friday. On contrary to these suggestions, various arguments and pseudo-arguments are submitted. After all they can be ignored, by saying one phrase: ‘This is Poland, this is Europe’.


„Niedziela” 12/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl