“The bishops underscore the need to restore Sunday to society"
November 28, 2017
Poland has very quickly exceeded Western Europe in morality. On top of some of the most strict abortion laws on the continent, the formerly communist-controlled nation has further solidified its Christian nation cred by voting to proclaim Sunday a day of rest and phase out shopping on Sunday by 2020.
According to LifeSiteNews, the bill was presented by the trade unions and had the support of the ruling “Law and Justice” (PiS) party government.
"254 delegates voted for the bill, 156 were against it, and 23 abstained," reports LifeSite. "Relatively more left-wing parties as 'Civil Platform' (PO), 'Modern' and the 'Union of European Democrats' opposed the bill."
The Polish senate is expected to pass the bill which will be signed into law by President Duda.
Poland has continued to maintain a strong connection to its Catholic heritage in recent years, rejecting the progressive quest for abortion on demand and thwarting assaults on traditional marriage. Most recently, the European Union has put heavy pressure on Poland to take Middle-Eastern migrants amidst the refugee crisis.
"The cessation of Sunday trade will not affect all businesses and will be carried out gradually," reports LifeSite. "From 1 March to 31 December 2018, stores will still be open on the first and final Sundays of each month. In 2019, shops will be trading on the last Sunday of the month. Finally, in 2020, most shops will be closed on all but eight Sundays.
"Some shops, such as those staffed by their owners, will not be forced to close, and small stores in gas stations and railway stations will also be permitted to open on Sundays."
Poland's Catholic bishops have praised the move as a bold step forward, though with reservations. Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops Conference, said the bill is welcomed while still “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 said. “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 disagree and have denounced the bill as a "disgrace."
“The government’s attempt to coerce part of the population not to sell or shop on Sundays is a disgrace and has nothing to do with Catholicism,” Wrocław-based economist and entrepreneur Piotr Zapałowicz told LifeSiteNews. “Some people will lose their jobs or part of their income, especially those employed on hourly wages."
Michal Dybula, a Warsaw-based economic strategist at Bank BGZ BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg that “any restriction of economic activity, such as retail trade, results in weaker economic growth."
During his visit earlier this year, President Trump defended Poland's policies during the migrant crisis and their bold defense of Western values.