360 Q. Are servile works on Sunday ever lawful? A. Servile works are lawful on Sunday when the honor of God, the good of our neighbor, or necessity requires them.
“Honor of God”; for example, erecting an altar that could not be erected at another time, so that the people may hear Mass on that day.
“Good of our neighbor”—such as reconstructing a broken bridge that must be used every day; or clearing away obstacles after a railroad accident, that trains may not be delayed. “Necessity”—firemen endeavoring to extinguish a fire, sailors working on a ship at sea, etc.
361 Q. What is the Fourth Commandment? A. The Fourth Commandment is: Honor thy father and thy mother.
362 Q. What are we commanded by the Fourth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Fourth Commandment to honor, love, and obey our parents in all that is not sin.
“In all that is not sin,” because if our parents or superiors, being wicked, bid us do things that we know to be certainly sinful, then we must not obey them under any circumstances. God will not excuse us for doing wrong because we were commanded. But if, on the contrary, we are forced in spite of our resistance to do the sinful act, then not we but they have to answer for the sin. If, however, you simply doubt about the sinfulness of the act, then you must obey; because you must always suppose that your superiors know better than you the things that concern their duty. Even if they should be mistaken in the exercise of their authority, God will reward your obedience. Besides obeying them, you must also help and support your parents if they need your assistance. You must not scoff at or despise them for their want of learning or refinement, because they perhaps have made many sacrifices to give you the advantages of which they in their youth were deprived. Do we not sometimes find persons of pretended culture ignorantly slighting their plain-mannered parents, or showing that they are ashamed of them or unwilling to recognize them before others, ungratefully forgetting that whatever wealth or learning they themselves have came through the love and kindness of these same parents? Again, is it not sinful for the children, especially of such parents, to waste their time in school, knowing that they are being supported in idleness by the hard toil and many sacrifices of a poor father? Never, then, be guilty of an unkind or ungrateful act. No matter who they are or what their condition, never forget those who have helped you and been your temporal or spiritual benefactors. If you cannot return the kindness to the one who helped you, at least be as ready as he was to do good to another. It is told of a great man that, wishing always to do good, he made it a rule never to stand looking at the effects of a disturbance, disaster, or accident unless he could do some good by being there.