(Well, yesterday actually, since this is the small hours of Saturday morning)
I note that it was on August 8, 1984 that New South Wales permitted shopping on Friday night and Saturday afternoon (History section, The Daily Telegraph). This was lamentable in itself because it represented another concession to economic rationalism and consumerism and an encroachment on family time for the workers whom it affected, and also because it signified that Sunday trading was imminent.
With the fortieth anniversary of Humanæ Vitæ, we hear talk that as much as 80% of Catholic couples in America, for instance, might be on contraception; certainly there is widespread dissent from this teaching. But one wonders how many Catholics dissent from the requirement to abstain from servile work (or from availing oneself of others’ servile work) on Sunday. My a priori expectation would be that a good 90% would feel no compunction at doing so, and maybe fewer than 10% might scruple at it if it were to infringe on Sunday worship.
When was the last time one heard Priests or Bishops denouncing Sunday labour for its grave sinfulness? (If you have an example please mention it in the combox.) We hear condemnations of ‘racism’, ‘unsustainable development’, or whatever is the flavour of the month, but as regards sinful Sunday labour, the best we might expect would be expressions of unease at the 24/7 consumerist economy.
Yesterday was also the Feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the great Curate of Ars. I will never forget the image of Sunday labour that he offers:
“When I see people driving carts on Sunday, I think I see them carrying their souls to Hell.”
See http://saints.sqpn.com/stj18009.htm for more of his thoughts on the matter.