Ask a Franciscan

Is Shopping on Sunday Immoral?

Q: Is it all right to shop on Sunday if you really need something? Not long ago, my daughter asked me on a Sunday to check at a nearby store to get some special dishes for a party she was having. I did so and bought the dishes. Did I commit a sin by shopping on Sunday? I usually don’t shop on Sunday.

A: The command to honor the Lord’s Day generally means not working or shopping then. The prohibition, however, is not absolute. For example, some doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other medical staff, public safety or military personnel must work on Sunday. Emergencies happen on the Lord’s Day also.

Even so, there is good reason to postpone whatever commercial activities are possible. The shopping you describe does not appear to me as sinful. Unless the party in question was on that Sunday, however, it might have been better to make your purchase another day.


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