By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ZAGREB, Croatia, July 16, 2008 ( – The parliament of the predominantly Catholic country of Croatia is urging its citizens to reclaim Sunday as a day for celebrating the Eucharist, for family, and for rest.

The Croatian parliament passed a law yesterday requiring most businesses to close on Sundays. The law does, however, allow Sunday shopping during the summer tourist season and Christmas holidays.

The new law also allows stores in hospitals as well as those in gas, bus and train stations to open on Sundays year-round. Bakeries, newsstands and flower shops are also exempt from the ban.

Most post-communist countries, including Croatia, have experienced problems transitioning from the oppression of Marxist ideology, which proclaimed there is no God and therefore no need for any day for religious observance or rest, to a free market economy with a fascination with and craving for all things Western.

Croatia, however, is now in a more stable political and economic situation where its people can reaffirm their centuries-old traditions of family and faith and experience a Renaissance of their culture. The banning of Sunday shopping is a significant step in that direction.

The benefits of not making Sunday just an extension of Saturday have been well documented.

For instance, a report entitled “The Church vs. the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?” that was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2006, indicated that approval of Sunday shopping triggered an increase in drug and alcohol use among otherwise faithful churchgoers. (

Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, observed in 2005 that “the world has suffered with the loss of the religious observance of Sunday as a day of rest,” and reflected that the day which used to be reserved for religious and family togetherness, has turned into “an extension of Saturday,” filled with errands invariably including shopping.

Bishop Olmsted said, “Keep the Lord’s day holy…refrain from all shopping and enjoy Sunday as a day of rest, a day of leisure, a day for family, a day for celebrating the Eucharist.” (Phoenix Bishop says “No Sunday Shopping” – A Wedge Issue in the Culture Wars:

In the UK, recent research by the NOP Consumer Poll revealed that 71% of people said that they would not be bothered very much or at all if all shops except local convenience stores were shut on Sundays.

When respondents were asked whether they thought at least one day of the week – Sunday – should be different from the rest of the week, two thirds of respondents said yes. More women than men thought so, (70% vs. 61%).

More than three quarters (81%) of respondents believed that protecting Sunday as a family day was a good idea. This was especially the case with the 65+ age group, with 88% thinking it was a good idea, compared to 74% of the 16-24 year age group. More than two fifths of respondents (42%), said it was very important for family stability and community life to have a shared, common day off each week. Only 3% said it was very unimportant.

Dr. Michael Schluter, Director of Keep Sunday Special, a UK lobby group dedicated to promoting a ban on Sunday shopping in Britain, said, “People are crying out for a break and a release from the pressure of working each day of the week, they want family time back, they want their Sunday back and are simply not interested in any more shopping.”

“We’ve had thirteen years of Sunday trading and yet still two thirds of people say Sunday should be a different day to the rest of the week, and almost a third (31%) of people say that they never shop in large shops or supermarkets at all on Sundays. Sunday has been stolen from people and they want to get it back – above all they want a break.”

“Think too about the potential environmental benefits through saving energy and fewer journeys if large shops were shut,” Dr Schluter said. (

Read an editorial related to Sunday shopping by staff writer Hilary White: LifeChain Sunday – A Contradiction to Today’s Culture


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