To safeguard man’s dignity as a creature of God endowed with a soul in the image and likeness of God, the Church has always demanded a diligent observance of the third Commandment: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” God certainly has the right and power to command man to devote one day a week to his duty of worshiping the eternal Majesty. Free from mundane cares, he should lift up his mind to the things of heaven, and look into the depths of his conscience, to see how he stands with God in respect of those necessary and inviolable relationships which must exist between the creature and his Creator. In addition, man has a right to rest a while from work, and indeed a need to do so if he is to renew his bodily strength and to refresh his spirit by suitable recreation. He has also to think of his family, the unity of which depends so much on frequent contact and the peaceful living together of all its members. Thus, religion and moral and physical well-being are one in demanding this periodic rest, and for many centuries now the Church has set aside Sunday as a special day of rest for the faithful, on which they participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial and application of Christ’s redemptive work for souls. Heavy in heart, we cannot but deplore the growing tendency in certain quarters to disregard this sacred law, if not to reject it outright. This attitude must inevitably impair the bodily and spiritual health of the workers, whose welfare we have so much at heart. In the name of God, therefore, and for the sake of the material and spiritual interests of men, we call upon all, public authorities, employers and workers, to observe the precepts of God and his Church and to remember their grave responsibilities before God and society.
Blessed John XXIII (+1963) was beatified on September 3, 2000.
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