Polish lawmakers voted last week to reclaim Sunday as a day of rest by slowly phasing out Sunday shopping by 2020.
The bill, which was backed by trade unions, passed with a vote of 254 to 156.
The bill is expected to pass the Polish Senate and will be signed into law by the country’s president.
Poland is among the last European countries to hold on to its Christian heritage. Abortion and homosexual marriage are still forbidden in the country of 38 million, which is predominately Catholic.
In the Old Testament, the Bible teaches that Sunday is a day of rest since God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. Sunday, the first day of the week, became the Catholic “seventh day” and a day of rest after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on Sunday.
According to the new law, from March 1 to December 31, 2018, stores will be open on the first and final Sundays of the month. In 2019, stores will only be open on the last Sunday of the month. Then in 2020, most retail establishments will be closed in the country on all but eight Sundays.
Small businesses staffed by their owners will not be forced to close. Gas stations and railways will remain open on Sundays.
Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, the spokesman for the Polish Bishops Conference, said while the law is a “step towards the recovery of Sundays free from work,” the bill overall remains “unsatisfactory.”
“The bishops underscore the need to restore Sunday to society as a day of rest and time of building family ties as well as strengthening social relationships,” he told LifeSiteNews.com. “They point out also that Sunday rest cannot be a luxury for a chosen few but is an integral part of equal treatment for all employees. Therefore, there is an urgent need to make all Sundays free from work, just as is already the case in many European Union countries.”
Economists are against the bill, saying it’s a disgrace. They argue some people could lose their jobs with the Sunday shutdown.
In 2012, Pope Benedict said that in defending Sunday as a day of rest, one “defends human freedom.”
He noted how time for the family is “threatened by a sort of ‘dictatorship’ of work commitments.”
“Sunday is the day of the Lord and of men and women, a day in which everyone must be able to be free, free for the family and free for God. In defending Sunday we defend human freedom!” he said.