Adelaide Archdiocese joins fight against Good Friday trading

Adelaide's Msgr David Cappo has joined retail trade unionists in attacking moves by businesses to relax Good Friday trading laws, saying that Church attendances on the day are double normal figures.

According to Adelaide Now, Msgr Cappo's comments came following reports that business pressure is mounting to relax trading laws in time for the Rugby World Sevens tournament to be held in Adelaide next Easter.

Msgr Cappo, who is the Archdiocese's Vicar General, warned that opening on Good Friday for shop and hotel trading would destroy a tradition deeply embedded in the South Australian psyche.

State Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association Don Farrell also bluntly rejected the idea.

While the games will be played on Saturday and Sunday, organisers from SA Rugby want Good Friday trading laws relaxed so visitors can enjoy a long-weekend party. Business SA, the SA Tourism Alliance and major retailers also want deregulation.

The Vicar General warned that making Good Friday a normal trading day would directly impact on family life.

"Easter and particularly Good Friday has incredible significance in the psyche of many, many Christians," Msgr Cappo said.

"This is a rich tradition in Adelaide, it is part of our culture and you don't mess with tradition and culture of a city lightly.

"It is a holiday, a rest day and a highly religious day for an enormous number of South Australians which we need to treat with great respect.

"People would have to go to work and it would change the nature of family life.

"I would urge very strong caution about such a fundamental change to Easter - Good Friday is such a powerful day, it is about the death of Christ."

Msgr Cappo noted church attendances more than doubled on Good Friday, attracting people to Mass who would not normally attend regular services.

"I also know many people who are not Christians value the Easter break and Good Friday as a family-focused day and a rest time," he said. "I know they also respect the Christian tradition. "Changing it would destroy an important time for many Christians but also a time that is deeply embedded in the psyche as a private family time.

"I understand the argument for entertainment but at what social cost to the community?

"Once you change, there would be no going back."

At this stage, the Church has no plan to directly lobby the Government or put in a submission to the inquiry into trading hours being held by former judge Alan Moss, Adelaide Now concludes.

Shopping fear for Good Friday (Adelaide Now, 10/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Adelaide Archdiocese
Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association
Business SA

Perth Archbishop says preserve religious character of Good Friday (CathNews, 7/4/04)
Melbourne Archbishop opposes Victorian trading reforms (CathNews, 7/11/03)

11 Dec 2006