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German Cardinal warns Sundays losing their meaning

Sunday as a day of rest is a guard against "enslavement by the world of work", said Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German bishops' conference.

Confirming the Church's position on Sunday work, Lehman said: "The celebration of Sunday is a necessity of human dignity, a protest against the commercialization of the person, and against enslavement by the world of work."

The archbishop of Mainz was speaking at the opening of the exhibition The Seventh Day: History of Sunday, an event he described as an "extraordinary occasion to reflect again on Sunday and the dangers that threaten it."

"All creatures, especially the human being, must have the possibility to be free and to rest from the pressures of society and our world," he said. "For human existence, to alternate work and release from it is as important as its social foundation."

In sketching the history of the existence of Sunday, Cardinal Lehmann said that the Second Vatican Council recognised in the day "the foundation and nucleus of the whole liturgical year."

The cardinal pointed out the danger of Sunday losing its meaning.

"Sunday and feast days could be eliminated or turned into simple weekends, time to go out and to enjoy sports events," he said. "Sunday is not at our free disposal. Among the conditions for real freedom is the proper celebration of Sunday."


Dies Domini (On Keeping the Lord's Day) - Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, 1998
Sabbath Rest: What Religious Groups say about the Sabbath
Karl Cardinal Lehmann (

29 Oct 2002