My question is, I think, pretty straightforward. One of the precepts of the Church is that we attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, and rest from servile labor. From what I’ve read, family obligations are exempted from this, but what about the case of parents requiring children to do chores that could be done on another day? Would you consider this something the children should obey, or an abuse by the parents?
Your question may be straightforward but I am not sure that any answer I can give can be.
Depending on the circumstances of the rest of your Sunday, I cannot bring myself to write that little stupor mundi, or your multiple bundles of joy, should not have to do chores.
In the case of real chores, such as those which are connected to the care of animals on a farm, something simply must be done, and they must be done by someone, and children are involved. When it comes to the harvest and the weather is right, the work must be done.
At the urban or suburban home, I suppose you could have stupor mundi mow the lawn on a weekday, but after a large meal there is washing up to do. I don’t consider washing the dishes servile work. I don’t think Sunday is the day to send stupor mundi out to scrape and paint the garage, however.
Works of mercy are certainly not out of order on a Sunday. Yet some of those works can be servile in one sense of the word, in that through them you serve God and neighbor. And some of those works can be real work.
Cooking, cleaning up, straighten things up for the coming of guests, even some yard work is not, in my book at least, servile. Shifting the six foot high pile of pavers for the driveway probably would be. Taking out the garbage or recycling on Sunday night is not, as I see it, a violation of the sabbath precept for rest.
Arrange your week so that you can keep Sunday free for other things, always including your obligations to God and time for friends and family and not forgetting works of mercy.