We have in Exodus 20:8-11, the Third Commandment in which the Lord instructs Israel to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The Commandment is elaborated to explain that just as God had rested after six days of Creation of the world, Israel would also need to rest on the 7th Day. Jesus gave a new definition to rest on the Sabbath by doing the work of compassion. As such, Christians would be obliged to do the work of charity and love towards the neighbor on a Sunday. But in practice, the observance of the Sabbath as a Holy Day is limited to attending the Mass, in so far as many Catholics are concerned.

What does the Catholic Church teach about the observance of Sunday as a Holy Day?

1 Answer 1


In general, the best way to find out what the catechism teaches is to read it.

Here's a link to the catechism article on the Third Commandment.

I would add to this as an addendum a simple truth; in practice is not the same thing as in truth. We are all sinners and we all fail, and fail often.

You shouldn't really be doing any gainful work on a Sunday unless necessary. CCC 2185 specifies that family needs and important social service can legitimately excuse someone from the Sunday obligation, but this should not be allowed to lead to habits "prejudicial to religion, family life and help".

CCC 2186 informs the faithful to be mindful of those who cannot take rest from work due to "poverty and misery".

In brief, as stated by CCC 2194, the day should be geared towards the cultivation of the faithful's "familial, cultural, social and religious lives". Worship should be offered to the Lord, time spent with family and friends, and rest taken. Works of mercy are appropriate and good on the Lord's day.

One shouldn't use the free time for things like household chores, errands or gainful employment. Hobby projects and the like are generally acceptable; writing, pottery, art, coding, whatever floats your boat as long as it doesn't subvert the proper purposes of the Lord's day.

  • As a brief note, rereading this the first line came across way snippier than I intended; I mean that more as a statement of fact than having a go, hah. Sep 11, 2023 at 13:06
  • No offence taken. I have since edited the question so as to give a wider scope for the answer. Thanks . Sep 11, 2023 at 23:18

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