German Supreme Court curbs Sunday shopping


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Church victory: The German Supreme Court has curbed Sunday shopping during the advent season in the capital Berlin, reports Wolfgang Polzer, special to ASSIST News Service.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe today ruled the Berlin regulations allowing shops to open on up to ten Sundays annually, including all four Sundays leading up to Christmas, unconstitutional. The German federal constitution protects Sundays as days of rest and "spiritual elevation".

The judicial decision, which is expected to reflect on regulations in other federal states, will take effect in 2010. The Protestant and Catholic Churches in Berlin had challenged the liberal shopping regulations in the capital and appealed to the Constitutional Court.

The Protestant Bishop of Berlin, Markus Droege, characterized the weekly day of rest as a "cultural and social achievement". Katrin Goering-Eckardt, President of the Protestant Church's General Synod, also welcomed the court decision. She described the day of rest as a "Christian gift to society as a whole". Goering-Eckardt, member of the Green Party, is also vice-president of the German Bundestag.

Alois Glueck, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics, welcomed the fact that the Constitutional Court has called a halt to a "total commercialization of life as a whole". Great cultures have days of rest, stated the veteran politician of the Bavarian Christian Social Union.