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Follow-up question regarding work on Holy Day of Obligation
Question from Anonymous on 05-10-2007:
Dear Father,

Thank you for responding to my earlier question. I am following up on my earlier question regarding whether or not it is permissible to work on a holy day, to seek a bit of clarification. You indicated that "Canon Law 1247 obliges all of us to abstain from labors and business concerns which impede the worship of God or the joy proper to the Lord's Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body." I am familiar with this passage, which I believe is also referenced in the Catechism. I am trying to understand better what this actually means. Does it mean those labors which impede us from worshiping God and getting relaxation, implying that work should not "crowd out" the Mass and spending some meaningful time with God. Or does it imply that all labors by definition impede us, and so we may do nothing whatsoever on a Holy Day except attend Mass, relax, etc.?

Perhaps the Church has left no explicit interpretation of this passage of Canon Law. I have received conflicting advice on this holy day work topic from clergy in the past, including from a conservative priest who has studied Canon Law in Rome, who indicated it was not obligatory to refrain from work on a holy day of obligation (whereas Mass is, of course, obligatory). It seems like an area where interpretation has not been made sufficiently explicit.

Thank you, Father, for whatever additional light you can shed on this.

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 05-12-2007:
Dear Anon, Work that is necessary can well be done on holydays of obligation. No problem here. What about work on Sunday which can easily be avoided? It is done regularly today. I think some sin is involved since it practically ignores the very nature and purp0se of the Lord's Day. I can't see how the Church can explain this rule better. She judges this way - here is the general rule which the individual must apply for herself/ himself. Fr. Bob Levis


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