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Church launches campaign

CHURCH leaders have launched a campaign demanding shops be closed on Sundays.

Congregations in every church in Slovakia will be read a sermon on the importance and sanctity of Sundays. Priests, led by Bishop Július Filo, will then demand dialogue with the government over the closing of stores on the Christian sabbath.

"Sunday, the seventh day, which is holy, is something common to the Jewish religion as well as every Christian denomination. The modern trend to use every day for shopping, is the antitheses of this 3,000 year tradition," said spokesman for the Slovak Conference of Bishops, Marián Gavenda.

Clergymen argue that shops need not lose trade, and can stay open longer hours during the week.

However, retailers say the demand is a mistake if the Church believes shopping has had any effect on numbers of churchgoers.

"This is a big mistake if someone thinks that banning shopping on Sunday will lead to a rise in the number of people attending church," said Gábor Záslos, head of a retail outlet in one of Bratislava's biggest shopping malls.

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