Warm reception: Pope Benedict XVI greets crowds during the 2012 World Meeting of Families in Milan, Italy (June 1, 2012).Source: Pool - Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the need for all people to rest on Sunday while speaking to a crowd of 15,000 during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on June 6. The pontiff said that increasing work demands cut into time that should be used to strengthen the family unit and focus on God—part of what he called the “gospel of the family.”
“The demands of work can’t bully people out of needed time off,” Catholic News Service reported Benedict as saying.
He later added, “By defending Sunday, one defends human freedom.”
In a 2010 letter to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family posted by Zenit, he explained that today’s workplace promoted competition and maximizing profit, and were factors that “contribute to the break-up of the family and the community and to the spreading of an individualistic lifestyle.”
The pope said in the letter that “it is necessary to promote reflection and efforts at reconciling the demands and the periods of work with those of the family and to recover the true meaning of the feast, especially on Sunday...”
Reinforcing his position that Sunday is the only day that is acceptable to refrain from work and be “free,” the pope declared, “Sunday is the day of the Lord and of man, a day which everyone must be able to be free—free for the family and free for God.”