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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why do Catholics go to church on Sunday when the Sabbath is on Saturday?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Why do Catholics go to church on Sunday when the Sabbath is on Saturday--don't  the Ten Commandments say to "Keep Holy the Sabbath"?

Short answer:  Because Christians are not actually bound to observe the Sabbath--we have fulfilled the Sabbath through Christ, and now we celebrate the Lord's Day, Sunday, the day of His Resurrection

Of course, Catholics are still bound to obey the Ten Commandments, not dismiss them as "already fulfilled" in Christ:  Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2072

There is a branch of Christianity, the Seventh Day Adventists, who feel so strongly about this particular issue that they left mainstream Christianity and formed their own denomination over this matter (primarily).  They profess:  "The fourth commandment**  of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath."

They feel that Catholics are violating Scripture by worshipping on Sundays. Adventists claim that the mark of the Beast (mentioned in Rev 13:16-17) is to worship on Sundays. Since Catholics worship on Sunday, this makes them minions of Antichrist. In addition, they believe the Catholic Church to be the Whore of Babylon referred to in Revelation 18:4:  Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues." 

So this is not a minor issue to millions of Christians, many of whom, sadly, are ex-Catholics. 
(Time Magazine states that Catholics are the largest religious group in the US, and that ex-Catholics are almost the second largest religious group!) These folks were poorly catechized in our faith and were then easily led astray after being shown a few Bible verses which appeared to contradict the Church's practices.

So how is a Catholic to respond?  Are we truly violating the commandment to Keep Holy the Sabbath day, which is Saturday?

"Of course, the moral principles contained in the Old Testament law are still binding on us, including the moral principle behind the sabbath commandment. This was that we should set aside sufficient time for worship and rest. We no longer have to do this on Saturday, since the law of Moses is gone, but we still have to do it.

To ensure that people will set aside sufficient time for worship and rest, the Church has decreed that all Catholics must refrain from menial labor on Sunday and worship God by attending Sunday Mass. Exceptions to this law are made in cases of necessity, just as with the Old Testament sabbath law (see Matt. 12:11-12, 1 Macc. 2:38-41.) For example, for those who are obliged to work on Sunday, the Church permits attendance of an anticipatory Mass on Saturday instead.

By requiring Sunday worship the Church is simply following the lead of the apostles.
There was clearly a day which the early Church considered specially consecrated to the Lord. John tells us that he wrote the book of Revelation because of a vision he saw "on the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10).

Elsewhere we learn which day that was. In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul tells his readers, "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come." Paul exhorts his readers to get their church's contribution together ahead of time so it won't have to be put together when he arrives (see 2 Cor. 9:3-5).

He tells them when to contribute to the gift: every first day of the week--every Sunday. Why? Because that is the day the early Church met for worship. Even though the Old Testament sabbath had passed away, the early Church commemorated Christ's resurrection on Sunday, the first day of the week, because that was the day Christ arose (Mark 16:9, see also Mark 16:2 and Luke 24:1)."  source
(**Note:  many Christian denominations have a different numeric system for the Ten Commandments.  We list the 4th Commandment as "Honor your father and mother".  Their Scriptures state the 4th Commandment is to "Keep Holy the Sabbath day".)

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15


  1. Having Mass everyday of the week more than meets the Sabbath requirement, even though we are obligated to worship in Sunday. How many times have you heard the Catholic Church or people bad mouth to a fault the teachings of the church? Hardly ever, because we are secure in our beliefs and don;t have to make ourselves something we are not. Remember when we were kids we always tried to put down the other kids to make ourselves look good? P.S. if you need stones, I'll be happy to send you some.

  2. Referring to comment " We no longer have to do this in a Saturday (The Sabbath)since the law of Moses is gone and we still have to do it"

    Can someone clarify
    1. Can any man on earth change Laws of God?
    2. If Roman Catholics have to keep The Sabbath on Sunday, is there any amendment by God or Jesus? Where can I find it in OT or NT?
    3. Are Gods Commandments made for us to accept what we like? alter and change as to what we like?

    1. Thanks for your response, Anonymous. To answer your questions:
      1) No. No man on earth can change the laws of God.

      However, did you notice that we were speaking of the law of MOSES? Moses, a MAN--not God, was given authority.

      Similarly, in the NT other MEN, AKA Apostles, were also given authority, in CHRIST, to bind and loose.
      “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
      '--Matthew 18:18

      2)You may find the amendment by Jesus here:
      “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”--Luke 10:16

      3) No, God's commandments are not made for us to alter and change at our whim.

      Incidentally, do those who insist that the day of worship is Saturday follow all the >600 OT injunctions?

      For example, does your roof have a fence around it?
      "When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof."--Deut 22:8

      And is it proscribed by your pastors to wear 2 different kinds of fabric?
      "'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. "'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."--Lev 19:19

      I am guessing that the answer to the above 2 questions is NO, which is quite curious, given the vociferous insistence on not changing another aspect of the OT covenant regarding the Sabbath.

    2. "Sunday is our "Mark of Authority"...the church is above the Bible, and this transference of the Sabbath observance is proof of the fact.
      Catholic Record, September 1, 1923

      no thanks, you can keep your mark

    3. The Catholic Church has never made that claim, Anonymous.

      What you are quoting is an anonymous claim that defies the Church's teaching that she is the servant of Scripture.

      I believe that quote to be fabricated.

      It does not represent the Church's teaching.

  3. The OT laws you are referring to are the "shadow of things which were to come." Also known as the Ceremonial Laws which again were a "shadow of things to come" Its sad that you misunderstand the whole reason for these "ceremonial Laws" God gave the ceremonial laws to be symbolic for what Jesus would do. It was the OLD COVENANT which was nailed to the cross when Jesus gave His blood when He implemented the NEW COVENANT.THe old covenant was introduced in Genesis 9:9, In Jeremiah 31:31 God announced that He would implement a NEW convenant, that Covenant was fulfilled in Corinthians 11:25 and also Hebrews 9:15, incedently the laws and sabbath days which are referred to Colossians 2:16 as the very next verse tells Colossians 2:17 tells you those were a shadow of things to come. The Sabbath commandment was implemented at creation, NOT when GOD wrote the 10 Commandments, Notice, God said REMEMBER. The Sabbath was something already in effect BEFORE the 10 Commandments, as such there is NO scripture which can affirm the change of Saturday (the 7th day sabbath) to Sunday. The reason for the change from Saturday to Sunday as noted in the Catholic Record: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday-The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, Canada, Sept 1, 1923. Anonymous, May you inquire of this further thru diligent prayer and study. May the blind not lead the blind.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. And there is nothing in your comments essentially that diverges from Catholic teaching, with a few clarifications. Firstly, it is a non-sequitur to say that as "the Sabbath command was implemented at creation" therefore no Scripture can can affirm the change of Saturday to Sunday. That does not logically follow. Simply because something was instituted before Scripture does not necessarily mean that God's Word cannot address it. What verse in Scripture says that? (None, of course! That is a man-made tradition that you have believed. You heard a pastor say it, but never read that in the words of Sacred Scripture.)

    2. As I considered your comments above, Anonymous, the thought occurred to me: are you saying that there is a law that supercedes that of the commands of Scripture? It certainly appears as if this is your point when you say that the command to rest on the 7th day existed before the Scriptures.

      If that is your point, then you are proposing another man-made tradition, Anonymous. One that you've not read in a single page of the Bible, but rather have accepted based on the words of man.

  4. I'm pretty sure he's not saying that the law to rest on the 8th day existed before the scriptures.. he's saying in genesis god says it made the earth in six days and on the seventh day rested... hence it was in his plan all along to have the sabbath day a day of rest.

  5. Fair enough. Not sure how this contradicts Catholic teaching. We are to rest on the Lord's Day as well.

  6. Multiple times it is listed in the old testament that worship day is on the sabbath, yet I find no where that any mere man may at his whim change what G-d has said.
    Doesn't it also state that there should be no stairs leading to G-d's altar?
    I believe The Father also states that there should be no statues, no idols (note I have not found where it says it's okay to have them in the church or your house for that matter just because no one is bowing to or worshiping them, to display them would seem to me to mean that you are worshiping.) no graven images period, I'm not exactly certain what all graven covers, but I struggle to discern the full meaning. The Old Testament states that Immanuel will be of the virgin birth, it mentions nothing of the name of Jesus. In the book of Malachi it states also that a prophet will be sent to you, his name was not mentioned in the new testament. I am concerned also because Elijah was mentioned in 1st and 2nd Kings and yet the book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament and this is where Our Father says that he will send the prophet. Are the books not in order? Another thought here, if Elijah was a prophet then why does my Bible not have book on the prophet himself? It seems he was great unto the Father.
    Another question that I have run across in my search is why is it the first five books of the Bible are not about prophets there are no manly names. And why is it that if the Bible is G-d's word that the publishers of said word state that you cannot reproduce G-d's word without their express written permission? Seems to me you would only need G-d's and I think (I'm not certain here" but I think that he expects you to pass his word along???

    1. As far as your comment here: "The Father also states that there should be no statues, "

      I think you are mistaken.

      It's not statues that God forbids, (for God actually COMMANDS the making of statues in Exodus 25: 18-20: Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the cover; make one cherub at one end, and the other at the other end, of one piece with the cover, at each end.")

      So thus we can see that it is not the "making of statues" but rather the worship of them that is condemned.

      And, of course, Catholics do not worship statues.

  7. Regarding your comment here: "yet I find no where that any mere man may at his whim change what G-d has said."

    I have to agree with you that no man may, at his whim, change what God has said.

    However, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, man (that is, the apostles and their successors) may "bind and loose" on earth, and it will be bound and loosed in heaven. That is quite Biblical.

  8. Thank you Apologist. You are kind in your words. It is clear that you truly explain with love in your heart, although others seek to condemn. It seems to me that so many get caught up in petty(compared to the big picture which is God is LOVE) details instead of staying focused on their own purity of prayer.

  9. Didn't Justinius change the Sabbath to Sunday ?

    1. No. The Sabbath is Saturday. It has always been Saturday.

      Incidentally, do you have a reference that states that Justinius changed the Sabbath to Sunday?

  10. Well, this has been a subject of great controversy for some time now. I believe that God's Word is clear and only Scripture can interpret Scripture. Anytime you think there is a contradiction or discrepancy, then simply search the word diligently in prayer and humility asking God for His Holy Spirit and wisdom and all truth will be revealed to you.

    Never approach the Bible with preconceived ideas or you will only find scripture to support what you already think. Always come with an open mind ready to be corrected for we are only human. The problem today is that most of us are not willing to search the Bible for ourselves, we simply ask the 'opinion' of another human being who also is imperfect.

    The Catholic Church say that they worship on Sunday instead of Saturday because the Church Council at Laodecia 338 AD transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday; a change for which there is no scriptural authority and they freely say this. Roman Catholics proudly claim authority for this change and say that it is their 'mark' of authority.

    The fourth commandment as it appears in the Bible tell us WHO to worship. Any one can claim they are God and can use the first three commandments to claim worship to themselves. But NO ONE can claim they created the heavens and the earth and that is what the Sabbath is all about. It is God Almighty's 'mark' of authority because only he has the power and authority to create. I am the creature and whatever day he sets apart as Holy is good enough for me. If God said it, I believe it and that settles it. This is my testimony.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Shay.

      They prompt a few questions:

      Firstly, where in the Bible does it say that "Scripture interprets Scripture"?

      I believe that you can search from Genesis to Revelation, and you will never find that concept in the Bible.

      That is a man-made tradition.

      It is something you heard someone say, who heard someone else say...but no one ever read "Scripture interprets Scripture" in a singe page of the Bible!

    2. Secondly, I would like to ask you where you find this paradigm in Scripture: "Never approach the Bible with preconceived ideas or you will only find scripture to support what you already think."

      Again, I think you can search the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single verse that supports that paradigm.

      That is a man-made tradition that you've believed.

      You heard your pastor (or someone else?) preach it, who heard another man preach it...but no one ever read that in a single page of the Bible!

    3. Finally, you have maintained that the Catholic Church freely acknowledges that she has no Scriptural authority to change the day of worship to Sunday.

      Shay stated: "a change for which there is no scriptural authority and they freely say this".

      Could you please offer a Church document that acknowledges that she has no Scriptural authority to change the day of worship but did so anyway?

      Please note: a document from the Magisterium is what is required. What Catholics say, outside the teaching office of the Church (the Magisterium), has no authority whatsoever.


  11. The Spirit of God will lead us into all truth. The Spirit of error will deceive. Which one is in you?

    1. This is a good question, Alistair. How does one know if he is being guided or deceived?

      The Catholic answer is this: when your beliefs are consonant with the faith, given once for all, to the Apostles, and handed down to their successors, the Bishops, you are being guided into all truth.

      When you have divorced yourself from this faith, you have been deceived.

  12. Hear is the bottom line jesus said when he was on the cross to remember my sabbath day and keep it holy!
    Not change my day and worship on the day the romans agreed to not kill christains which was sunday the day of their sun god. thats why the catholics changed the true sabbath not to honor christ.

    1. That is incorrect. Jesus said 7 "words" when he was on the cross, and none of them mention the sabbath in any respect. Those 7 are:
      -Behold your mother.
      -Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
      -I thirst.
      -Into your hands I commend my spirit.
      -This day you will be with me in paradise.
      -My God, why have you forsaken me?
      -It is finished.

  13. If Jesus is the Lord of Sabbath which is the day of the Lord?

    1. Sunday is the day of the Lord.

      Jesus is Lord of all days, of course, but as Jesus rose on a Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection, NOT the Sabbath.

  14. It is true that Jesus rose on a Sunday. It is one of the pivotal moments in the history of the world.

    But nowhere does the Bible hint that we should keep Sunday holy. Many other wonderful events occurred on certain days of the week, but we have no command to keep them holy either.

    There is, of course, a memorial of the resurrection commanded in the Bible, but it is not to determine a new day of worship. Paul wrote: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Baptism is the memorial of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. However, the Sabbath is a memorial of creation.

    1. The Sabbath is indeed a memorial of creation. Amen! And all of creation points towards one event: the Resurrection of Christ, Cyrell.
      Thus, Sunday worship fulfills what the Sabbath points to.

    2. As far as other "wonderful" events, there is nothing which even compares to the Resurrection.
      Comparing other "wonderful" events in the Bible to the Resurrection, is like comparing other "wonderful" books to the Bible. They don't even come close, right?

    3. @Te Amateur Aplogist: Your arguments do not make much sense to me. You vouch for worship on Sunday by highlighting the importance of the resurrection of Chris and by minifying other events in comparison to that one. Fair enough, however in your argument it would seem to me that you give more importance to the resurrection of Christ than to creation itself ("pointing out that creation points towards one event... the resurrection of Christ"), whereas it would seem to me that comparing the creation of the universe by God in six days does not even come close to the resurrection of Christ?

    4. Thanks for your comments. There is no dichotomy between pointing to creation and pointing to the Resurrection. Sunday worship encompasses both!

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. The Sabbath is so precious to God that He will have His people observe it throughout all time in the beautiful new earth to come. If it is so precious to Him, should it not be precious to us? If we are going to keep it through all eternity, why not keep it now as our pledge of obedience to Him?

    1. No, Anonymous. We no more need to observe the Sabbath than we need to abstain from pork. The fulfillment of the Sabbath is the Resurrection.

  17. When Jesus Christ died, He nailed the Old Law to the cross (Colossians 2:14). The book of Hebrews explains that Christ made the Law of Moses obsolete and replaced it with the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13). Paul explained to Christians in Galatia that the Old Law was cast out and replaced by Christ’s New Law (Galatians 4:21-31). As a result, the regulations about clean and unclean foods were jettisoned, along with rules for animal sacrifice, ritual washings, annual feast days, Sabbath observance, and a host of other ceremonial trappings.

  18. Many religions have services on Sundays. It is pretty much the norm so why so many fingers pointing at "Catholics"? Also don't the Bible say when we do make it to the Kingdom of God that there is no separation of religions but we all will be one. We are not to judge and are to love everyone. Some of these conversations seemed to be going against that!

    1. I'm not sure where the Bible says that whenwe make it to the Kingdom of God that there is no separation of religions?

      Also, it does appear that while you are saying that we are not to judge...that you are, well, judging!

  19. I am Catholic and we do have services on both Saturdays and Sundays. Every day of the week for that matter so if you go everyday you are surely going to keep holy the Sabbath day aren't you? It is not important being Catholic it is important being Christian. Many faiths are Christians. Does not Catholic mean Universal? The important thing is to follow the Bible but there are two things that concern me. First there are more than one Bible. How do we know which is the right one and second we all preceive and interpuret things differently.

    1. What is important, Anonymous, is following Truth. And it is through the Catholic Church that we have the fullness of Truth. All other religions have partial versions of what is True.

  20. Thanks for the article. I'm a Catholic who wants to "be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in" me, and your article helps me to better explain when talking to my Protestant, and even non-religious, friends.

    1. Thanks, Steve. The Catholic Church need more folks like you!

  21. Colossians 2:16
    Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

    I see many use this piece of scripture but above and below when read in context it's speaking of the commandments of men. An example would be judging someone for using an umbrella on the Sabbath because it's constructing a roof and that's work or spitting on a rock is OK but spitting on the dirt creates mud which is work.

    Also many use mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

    People are using this in reverse. The Pharisees were telling Jesus what to do on the Sabbath so He told them the Sabbath was made for you, not you for the Sabbath. By making the day to Sunday is "man for the sabbath". The things they told Him were not in the law of Moses but traditions. They weren't working by gathering food or storing them up to take home but they were simply picking off the heads of grain and eating.

    Mathews 5:7-19
     “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    People use fulfill as being done away or even abolished and reading it like I didn't come to abolish the law but to abolish.
    Heaven and earth didn't pass away and All is not yet accomplished. An example,  I fulfilled the driving laws today and I will again. If it weren't for Jesus, Grace and Mercy of Father we would all be done away.

    Luke 16:16-17
    “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

    The warning of Peter, There aren't many that can discern Pauls letters properly, they are difficult and this is speaking of distorting Pauls letters because they didn't know or they distorted the old testament/Torah and this has been going on for years.
    2 peter 3:16
    as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Justin.
      However, I have to say that I disagree with your interpretation of these Bible verses.

      I believe that they say something completely different than what you have asserted the say.

      Now, as a Protestant you must, I presume, permit me the right go have my own interpretation of Scripture that differs from yours?