Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Holy Days of Obligation

A recent story has come out, reporting that Irish courts have ruled that employers don't have to recognise Catholic religious holidays as days people should be able to get out of work. Like Sundays, Holy Days of obligation (Solemnities, really) are days which one should avoid servile labor if possible.

The court's ruling came in a case involving workers in a co-op in Lisavaird, in Cork, who had been told that they would be required to work on the feasts of the Epiphany, the Assumption, All Saints, and the Immaculate Conception. The workers' union argued that for faithful Catholics these days were "sacrosanct," and no financial award could compensate for their loss.

However, the court ruled that the co-op was not required to observe the holy days of obligation as recognized by the Catholic Church. Irish labor law lists 9 public holidays, and employers are not obligated to make provisions for any other days, the court said.

And so it goes. I wonder what would happen if a Jewish person had challenged this, although I am thinking in American terms. In fact, I wonder how this would work out in America. I bet if an employer challenged a Jewish high holy day, there would be a lawsuit in minutes from the likes of the anti-defamation league, or someone like that. But, if a Catholic tried it, not even the ACLU would try to defend religious liberties like that. Maybe I'm wrong.


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