Poland’s leading Catholic bishop has spoken out in favour of an almost complete ban on shops opening on Sunday, amid growing public controversy over the proposal.
“Free Sundays are what all Catholics, non-Catholics and non-believers need,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki told Polish Radio ahead of a meeting of the Bishops Conference on Friday, which is expected to support the ban.
The idea was put forward last year by the powerful Solidarity trade union, backed by a million-strong petition, and has been batted back and forth in a parliamentary subcommittee ever since.
The clerics are careful to base their argument on quality of life rather than religious grounds. “Families don’t just need financial support, they need time for themselves,” said the Archbishop of Katowice, Wiktor Skworc.
He appealed to the government to “show some compassion for women in the form of those who have to work in supermarkets on Sundays”, and accused it of showing “contempt” for Solidarity and the bishops by delaying consideration of the ban. He also warned local MPs and senators that he expected them to vote “in line with the views of their voters,” the Wirtualna Polska website reports.