The pope, criticizing the 'culture of "the here and now"', has spoken against secular Sundays:
Pope John Paul on Friday said Sunday should be a day for God, not for secular diversions like entertainment and sports.
"When Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes subordinate to a secular concept of 'weekend' dominated by such things as entertainment and sport, people stay locked within a horizon so narrow that they can no longer see the heavens," the pontiff said in a speech to Australian bishops.
There is much to agree with in what the pope says. The day that should be "the Lord's day", the first day of the week on which 1st Century Christians came together to break bread, has become just another day, cluttered by the flotsam and jetsom of the weekend.
A problem arises, however, when we begin to assign Sunday the status of a "Christian Sabbath", essentially becoming Judaizing teachers on the topic. This is a position generally honored in the breach, but nevertheless it sounds good Biblical support aside.
No, we don't need to clutter time that should be devoted to God and joining with my fellow Christians with every distraction the world has to offer. But I've mowed my yard on Sunday without even a tinge of guilty conscience.
The pope also expressed concern over missing Sunday mass:
The 83-year-old pope also encouraged Christians, especially young people, to remain faithful to Sunday Mass, saying the secular culture was undermining family life.
I might take his stand more seriously if he didn't lead a church that allows Saturday mass to stand for Sunday mass, not to mention that if you go to a wedding or funeral on Friday you get a pass, too. I wonder if that's caused some to lose the "fundamental meaning" of Sunday?