The Catholic bishop’s conference of the European Union (COMECE) has again called for Sunday rest laws as part of their support for the European Pillar of Social Rights. The COMECE Social Affairs Commission and the Secretariat have supported the proposed initiative of the European Pillar of Social Rights and has submitted its own input to the EU consultation.
“Transformative changes in the labour market as well as growing economic and social divergence in the EU call for concerted actions at the European level,” COMECE said. Several factors influence EU labour regulations and work-life balance they said. “Balance” refers to rest – in particular Sunday rest.
1. Divergence and digitalization challenge the single market project.
2. Social convergence and rising prosperity are the key promises of the single market project.
3. The financial crisis, on the contrary, has turned into an economic mutation that has brought convergence in terms of (youth) employment, income and poverty levels to a halt.
Social divergence – as in the huge influx of Muslims into Europe and digitalization causes fragmentation of social and economic structures within a society, which work against social convergence. The bishops are promoting the Pillar of Social Rights as a way to offset the social chaos that the mass migrations have created.
When Pope Francis accepted the Charlemagne Prize back in May, he encouraged the EU to come up with “new, more inclusive and equitable models” – in particular the social market economy, a papal construct of the economy built on Roman Catholic social teaching.
COMECE bishops provided a statement called “A European Community of Solidarity and Responsibility.” Among other things, the bishops said the proposal for the Pillar of Social Rights involves many aspects of Catholic social teaching, but they pressed for other key elements to be included. Among them was the recommendation to “Protect Sunday as a weekly day of rest: As in times of digitalization of the economy, the boundaries between private and work-life become increasingly blurred, COMECE proposes to incorporate decent working hours and the right to a common weekly day of rest. This day should be in principal the Sunday, which is recognized by tradition and custom in most of the Member States or regions.”
A common weekly day of rest can only be Sunday in their thinking. It is designed to bring convergence and solidarity around Sunday observance, which, for now, is limited to Sunday rest. Note that they also say that it is tradition and custom that is the foundation for Sunday rest. They ignore the fact that the law of God accomplishes the very same thing by its command to keep the seventh day Sabbath. Also note that the bishops ignore the conflicts and social fragmentation that arise as a result of the mass migrations of immigrants from the Middle East. They are trying to suggest that Sunday rest will achieve what the mass migration and digitalization have destroyed.
“In a globalised economy, COMECE therefore hopes that the European Pillar of Social Rights will renew social convergence in Europe and contribute to the creation of a culture that ‘drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity.’”
The effort to push for Sunday rest laws to bring society together in solidarity is not new. It has been a central principle of the Catholic Bishops for a very long time. Notice how the following prophetic statement emphasizes the social convergence and solidarity of Sunday observance.
“As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration.”
Note that religious and secular authorities will combine in solidarity to force Sunday observance. The COMECE Bishops are now working to achieve this around a policy of Sunday rest, among other things. They will claim eventually that there is a small minority that refuses to unite in convergence and solidarity with the rest of society and support Sunday laws. They will claim that they need to be eliminated so that the Catholic social construct of convergence and solidarity of the whole world can be achieved.
“It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument many centuries ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of the people.” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
Social convergence and solidarity is vital to the Sunday rest question, while Sunday rest is the foundation of Sunday worship laws. Stay tuned, there is more to come.