Is Courtesy Required for Catholics?

By | September 3, 2019

Okay, I have a book in my lap.
We’re gonna use it … I have a book in my lap
and I’m not afraid to use it! Hi, my name’s Fr. Mike Schmitz
and this is Ascension Presents. So, a little while ago, I was able to visit New York City
for the first time — a couple years ago, I think. And I remember I rode in the subway —
I’d never been in the subway before — but one of the things I noticed
was how people behaved on the subway. There were all these signs that were like
“Hey, on the subway, do this, do this, do this. Hey, don’t, like,
put your makeup on in the subway, don’t put your feet up on the thing… There were all these rules
that people seem to be not only accepting, like, yeah,
these are the rules of the subway, but also
they seemed to be following. And I thought, “This is remarkable.”
And it actually made… the subway experience
more enjoyable. Here, from Minnesota,
what do I know about subways, right? I’m thinking “I’ve seen movies from the 80s
where the subway is the worst place to be.” This was actually like taking
a nice little train that was under the ground, and it was a little adventure
for Father Mike. Why was it an adventure?
Why was it pleasant? Because of courtesy. You might be like, “Oh? It was ‘cause of courtesy?
Nice. What a great topic.” But do you know that…
did you know that courtesy is a virtue? Courtesy is not
one of the four cardinal virtues. It’s not one of the three theological virtues,
but it actually is a virtue. Now, it comes from the word —
courtesy, courteous — comes from the court. So back in the day, if you were in the presence of royalty,
in the presence of the King, there was a certain way that you would act
AND there was a certain way the king would act. Here we are we’re in this unique situation
where King is talking to, you know, servant, where Prince is talking to pauper,
like, this kind of situation where, “How do we address each other?” Well, here are some rules of the court.
(Courtesy, right – court-esy?) Here are some rules of the court
that help us communicate in a way that acknowledges the person speaking,
acknowledges the person being spoken to, and acknowledges the dignity
that’s owed towards both. This is what it is to have courtesy because courtesy,
ultimately, is rooted in human dignity. You know, St. Paul, he wrote this… he wrote this to the early churches. He said, “Anticipate one another in showing respect.” In so many ways, that invocation, that command to anticipate one another in showing respect is St. Paul saying
‘Have courtesy towards each other.’ Because just like on the subway, hey
we’re in a crammed — we’re in a closed space. So here’s the deal:
On the subway, behave in this way. Not because we’re stuffy here on the subway,
not because this is all about the rules, but because here we are in this tight,
confined space and without knowing how to behave in this area, we’re going to interrupt each other
and we’re not going to help each other. We’re gonna get in each other’s way in a way
that doesn’t assist the build up of the people around us. In fact that’s why I like this definition of courtesy — it’s by a man named Father Romano Guardini,
and he writes about this, he says, “Courtesy is what? Courtesy is a little consideration for the mood of our neighbor. It’s sympathy for his weariness,
it’s smoothing over a painful situation…” and so forth. It goes on to say… he says
“Courtesy is a constant attempt to make life easier and to obviate the many
and often strange threats that endanger it. That’s courtesy. To lack courtesy
is to only be concerned with myself. To lack courtesy
is to forget there’s people around me. To lack courtesy is to be the person on the road
who doesn’t let anyone in. Why? Because, Elsa, I got somewhere to go
and you’re just there. But courtesy
looks up from oneself and says “Okay, how can I lessen the weariness,
how can I lessen the sadness? How can I make life easier
for the people around me? Etiquette gets a bad rap. We do an etiquette dinner at least once a year
here at the University, and in it we want to help students know ‘Here’s how you have good etiquette at a social hour,
here’s how you have good etiquette at a dinner table. Here’s how you have good etiquette
at a job interview.’ And at first people are like “Oh etiquette, that seems
so stuffy, it seems so formal, it seems so foreign. And yet when you learn the etiquette, when you learn
“Okay, here’s how I act in this kind of situation…” it’s not merely oriented …
it’s not at all oriented towards stuffiness. It’s oriented towards freedom
and it’s oriented towards caring. What I mean by that is this:
if I already have the etiquette, I know how to use knife and fork. I have freedom
to enjoy this moment. Not only do I have freedom to enjoy this moment, I have now the ability
to care for the people around me. Because here we are in this social situation where I don’t
know who’s the boss, I don’t know who’s getting fired, I don’t know who the king is,
I don’t know who the servant is, that kind of thing. But if I have etiquette, I now treat people in a certain way
and it gives me the freedom — not only to interact in this moment, but also gives me
the ability to care for the people around me. To have real concern,
even if it might seem extraneous. Because courtesy will slow you down. Courtesy will cause you
to have to take detours. Courtesy will get in your way because what you’re doing
is you’re letting someone else in. Courtesy might lead you to do something
that may have no material value, but could have incredible human value. Here’s my painful example. When I was getting ordained,
I sent out invitations to my ordination. I was like “Well, I don’t care. Anyone.
You know the date, June 6th, come if you want. Awesome. But I’m not ‘super formal’ guy…
I’m kind of like, whatever.” My mom was like,
“You gotta send out invitations.” So I send out invitations. And then she says
“You gotta send an invitation to your uncle (her brother). I said, “Well he lives in California,
I mean he can’t make it to this ordination. And I don’t want to impose on him.” She was like,
“Just send it to him and your aunt. And let them know that, you know…” I was like “Well no, they can’t come.
They’re in California, it’s a Friday afternoon. They won’t want to make this whole trip and
so I’m not gonna send an invitation.” ‘Cause I was thinking like
“Well no, I mean, it’s impractical.” I did not know… until after… [clicks] he died that my… wow …my not sending an invitation to him was interpreted by him as
‘I don’t want you here.’ That’s not what I meant. What I meant was, like, ‘No, it’s just impractical, I mean,
he can’t make it. Why would I send an invitation?’ But courtesy treats people like people rather than like practicalities. Because of that, courtesy might lead you to do something
that’s not practical, like sending an invitation
to someone you know can’t come. Courtesy will take time.
In fact, that’s what Fr. Guardini says as well. Courtesy takes time. Causes you to take the detour, causes you to let someone else in, causes you to do something
that’s impractical. But he goes on to say, “Life takes detours.” That’s what life does. Life takes detours. “Life squanders — or rather — life consumes time. Life wants to linger, life wants to delay.”
Life… wants to…
wait around for the extra things. And if I don’t have courtesy then I don’t have those beautiful elements of life,
that delay, that linger that wait for the extra things. See courtesy not only — like etiquette —
not only gives me an interior freedom to be able to be in a situation,
but also cares for others. And I can’t care for others
unless I have time for others. I cannot care for others
unless I have time for others. So how will courtesy be in your life today? How will you fit a little bit of courtesy
into your life today? St. Paul:
“Anticipate one another in showing respect.” Be courteous. Be kind. Take time for others. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name’s Fr. Mike. God bless.

100 thoughts on “Is Courtesy Required for Catholics?

  1. this soulful life Post author

    This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing that story. I am always blessed by your talks.

  2. Aaron Clark Post author

    I would definitely be interested in more information on fascinating topics such as this. For example, who has the authority to define which rules constitute "common courtesy"? How far does that authority extend? Who has the authority to enforce and interpret those rules?

    What if i freely and intentionally violate one or more common courtesy rules? Is it a mortal sin? A venial sin? Neither? Depends?

    What if you are expected to give up your seat for someone else to use if you have a certain gender or skin color? Is it morally acceptable to violate a "common courtesy" such as that? Is it morally obligatory to object to it? (What about Rosa Parks, for example?) Can such rules really be called common courtesy in the first place?

  3. chipblood Post author

    Fr. Mike you brought tears to my eyes. I love your videos. Thank you so much for all of them. May God bless you!

  4. Caty Alanís Post author

    Wow😭💕 amazing message, I'm pretty sure God understands why you decided to not invite your uncle.. I think it was courtesy in another form. Thank you Fr. Mike, God bless you and greetings from México!!

  5. Irene Semos Post author

    Timely message. I never would have thought about courtesy this way. Truly enlightening

  6. androidmarketqq Post author

    Your awesome Fr. Mike!! Please keep making these videos. They have been so usefull in my spritual journey!

  7. Andrew Noden Post author

    Father Mike, thanks for sharing. I find the world sometimes just ignores what’s important. Respect, being kind, being courteous. There are lessons for everyone here. Regret is the challenge sometimes, I regret not going to my dads funeral, I was here in Canada and he was in the Uk. Thank you for your words as I watched tonight.

  8. Francesca Hwang Post author

    I needed to hear this. I find myself being so occupied with what I do or have, that I'm becoming less courteous and less focused on who I'm becoming. Thank you, Fr. Mike for your lesson and vulnerability!

  9. ian hauber Post author

    #AskFrMike I think that maybe I try to be good mostly because I'm not good at being bad. (Like at some point I tried to be bad, and it didn't work out, so I stopped. But if it did work, I might well have continued happily – not truly happily obviously.) This seems to make my virtues less virtuous – which is kind of alarming. I know that somewhere I'm wrong because, in the end, it is a good thing that I'm doing good not bad, but it feels like the merit of my good is completely false. AND IT IS FALSE – because I have no merits really other than being loved by Jesus (I think). I'm seventeen and blessed to be Catholic. Can you please help me, Fr. Mike?

  10. Kerwin Fernandes Post author

    Thank you for making this video! God Bless u Fr. Mike in your difficult times!

  11. Leonard Stefanyshyn Post author

    Thankyou so much for sharing. God is doing beautiful things through you. Blessings 🙏🏻❤️

  12. Raw Sunshine Post author

    Beautiful video, one of your best. Made me cry and moved my heart. Well timed…..divinely timed. Continue to be a blessing. God loves you

  13. Joseph Drake Post author

    Abraham said to Lot, "If you go to the right, I'll go to the left, and if you go to the left, I'll go to the right." Abraham was the elder, the uncle and the more powerful, yet he should complete courtesy to his nephew Lot.

  14. Susana Juarez Post author

    Thanks for the time you take to share all messages. Have changed my way of thinking. God bless regards from Guatemala

  15. Bernadin Ekka Post author

    Thank you Fr Mike. Yes practical is difficult in different situations. But it's possible. Thanks once again for motivation. That's why we are catholic Christian

  16. Phyllis Garet Post author

    Fr Mike,
    Your emotional state, as you were relating the “ invite “ story to your California Uncle & Aunt, was palpable.
    I totally FEEL YOUR HONESTY. You are part of my morning routines.
    I am a retired 74 year old woman … Mother of three, Grandmother of four.
    My view of my vocation is to spread the Joy my faith brings to me daily.
    You are assisting me daily.

  17. Kyle Fillenwarth Post author

    I heard somewhere recently that real men DON’T cry… but from time to time they may be found leaking awesomeness!

    Thank you for being so awesome, Fr. Mike!

  18. Michael Warden Post author

    Beautifully said, Fr. Mike, and so needed in the world just now. Blessings.

  19. Noreen Roux Post author

    My mother's 85th birthday came and I had to work. So I did not make it. A couple of weeks later. My 43 year old brother passed away in his sleep and I never got to see him or hug him one last time. That is my biggest regret.

  20. Colleen T Post author

    I dont know what subway you took in NYC, but I never had a courteous experience. Brooklyn and Manhattan subways are full of rude people, violent people and people who if they had courtesy wouldnt need signs telling them how to behave. Federal law requires seating for those with disabilities and discourteous, non disabled people will sit in them, put there strollers in wheelchair parking on the subway etc……. Im glad you had a nice experience, but its a rarity.

  21. Andrea Leon Post author

    Father Mike, I am a young Catholic convert. I am very disturbed with the popes decision to change the catechism this past week. I’m even more disgruntled that you and other church members I listen to are not mentioning anything about this! Please make a video Father!
    I sense great deceit by a man who is so admired by people of the new age movement…

  22. James Ford Post author

    Father. I am a Muslim. I Love and believe Jesus Christ with my whole heart. I want to be his follower. Will Catholic society accept me?

  23. Try for the Sky Post author

    Hi Father, I just wanted you to know that your sharing of that difficult memory did good for me today. If I ever have a major event (like a wedding) I'll be sure to invite everyone we want there, even if we know they can't come. God bless you and your uncle.

  24. The Novice Post author

    Hey father mike. I was wondering if you can make a video on God’s love? It would be really nice if you can title it “Are we (or am I) worthy of Gods love?” Given that a lot of people think they aren’t worthy of his love, and remain in denial of it, it would be so nice to us if you could really show us just how precious and worthy we are of receiving God’s unconditional Love. Just a video suggestion! 🤗

  25. Anna Dacapio Post author

    Thank you so much Fr. Mike! This is very timely for me. God bless you!

  26. Brian Perkins Post author

    you have so much positive energy. i am not a catholic, i am a member of vineyard church. but i subscribed because of your positive energy.

  27. suryantonorsi Post author

    can you do a video on homosexual couples adopting and IVF, please?

  28. Ramon Long Post author

    Thank you Father for such an obviously heartfelt emotion!
    You are a wonderful man of God 🙏

  29. Matthew Jahn Post author

    Fr. Mike, can you please do a video about receiving communion in a state of mortal sin.

    This is something I believe that many of us do but do not understand the gravity of.

  30. Isabel Leon Post author

    Thank you Father for sharing, it brings to light what I once knew and has gotten vage in my life. As with messages and knowledge Sister Angelica, Father Mich and you have shared and continue to share, I'm getting back on track, by reminding me of what is important. Thank you💖

  31. Gerry Jackwagon Post author

    Yesss I’ve been waiting in this video. Thanks

  32. Melissa Mistretta Post author

    Thank you for opening up that way Father Mike…I instantly felt your emotion and have had similar experiences in my life. It so easy in this technical world to lose common courtesy and proper etiquette. We need reminders like your videos. 🙏❤🕊

  33. Angus McFife Post author

    Fr. Mike, your Uncle now knows the truth behind your intentions. God has shown him things that had been hidden from him, including that you only had good intentions for him. And your Uncle is certainly praying on your behalf until you meet again.

  34. Grandi P Post author

    I am on a journey of examining the Catholic Church. I often listen to your short talks and learn from them. When I saw this topic, it did not seem "Catholic" to me nor even spiritual….but I was wrong. Thank you.

  35. J Hedgje Post author

    You so funny! I love you father mike! 😍😊 God bless you! Keep up the great work!

  36. Josek Post author

    Father is there such a thing of common courtesy in social media …. it would common courtesy to publicly put a picture of someone on the newspaper. Now people shoot away and post others pictures without asking the person …

  37. Nthabeleng Mapohoshe Post author

    Hey Fr Mike🙋. I just want to know what to say to people who attack the Church and critisise and judge all catholics because of all the scandals concerning priests.
    I'm a very emotional person and get so angry: with those people, those priests and with God.
    Your help will be much appreciated 💞

  38. Ossi imomm Post author

    This video changed my life, in just 8:32 mins, thanks a lot,

  39. Ramona Guffey Post author

    Bless you father mike. What pride they felt when you became a priest. Your uncle knows your intentions. It is a lesson of hindsight

  40. Lazarus Post author

    Wonder if courtesy was on the minds of the Jews packed into trains on their way to the gas chambers during WW2…Hmmm

  41. Lazarus Post author

    Sounds like you are more passionate about a purely secular concept than you are about doctrine & rules your church makes for you to follow…bravo cause it's your first step to breaking free of the myths you hold dear & truly live a completely open & honest authentic life. You can do it Mike!!!

  42. Lazarus Post author

    The fact you look like an actor out of central casting draws so many more viewers to these channels than had they chosen your typical 70 something balding long faced priest who drones on about topics he probably could care less about…It also helps that you look like Mike Rowe.

  43. Maria I Post author

    Thank you for this lesson Father Mike. God Bless your warm, loving heart 🙂

  44. pegers7 Post author

    Fr Mike, thank you for answering your call. You are a great blessing to many!

    Do you have a website where ppl can ask questions about the Faith?

  45. LittleMissSunshine Post author

    Father Mike, thank you so much for opening yourself up and showing us your emotions. Your Uncle loved you very much and I understand why you're so emotional when talking about the misunderstanding your not sending him an invitation had caused.
    Thank you so much for making these videos for us. They have helped me through really, really bad times and have made me never lose faith.
    I shall remember you in my prayers.

  46. Sharon Fletcher Post author

    I am going to share this with my Youth Confirmation Class. This is excellent. I love the etiquette; as a golfer there is a certain etiquette that makes the game better for everyone. As a cyclist, there is a certain etiquette that makes the Peleton safe for everyone. Most of the time that i get angry or frustrated–especially while driving is when someone is NOT being courteous such as driving super slow in the left lane on the freeway when the right 2 lanes are open. The world would be a much more pleasant place to live if we all practiced being courteous at least once a day. Thanks Father Mike.

  47. Chara Ayars Post author

    are you embarrassed to cry on camera? the couple times you have welled up you almost seem so!

  48. Uranium Rock Post author

    New York's full of rich people; that's why the subways are like that their. Back before New York became a theme park for trust funders the subways were awful. Here in Philly people shoot heroin on the train.

  49. Patrick S Post author

    "Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me" – Hannibal Lecter. And I agree with that. Sometimes we have to do unpleasant things, common courtesy helps -a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

  50. Nerds Post author

    Ok thats obvious, but sometimes, etiquette and courtesy are dumb. Who does it bother if i use the wrong fork?

  51. Aida Ruilova Post author

    Thank you for this powerful and moving testimonial, Father Mike! Your experience is not in vain!🙏🏼❤️

  52. Holy Moses Post author

    Wow, thank you for sharing this Fr. Mike. I needed to hear about courtesy in a REAL way, and you just taught it truly and honestly. Thank you.

  53. Dalton Brown Post author

    Thanks father, I cant tell you how much you've done to lead me into full communion with the Church.

  54. Ramprasad Ramanathan Post author

    Fr Mike, by God's blessing I'm able to listen and watch your videos all the way from Srilanka, be assured you are touching and changing the behaviour of many all around the world. I love your unique style of delivering the message, Thanks for sharing this experience with us on courtesy, we will be praying for you.

  55. Gillian Pedersen Post author

    Your uncle is proud of you and is watchinhg over you everyday and he loves you forever

  56. Tristan Turner Post author

    Really enjoy your videos Fr Mike. You've got a genuine talent for breaking things down into the simplest terms. I have found your videos a great source of inspiration and guidance whilst reconnecting with my faith. Keep up the good work and bring the sheep home.

  57. Sarah Woodruff Post author

    Thanks for getting me all chocked up on that painful memory, Fr Mike! Seriously, though… I'm guilty of not extending an invitation because I know it's unpractical. Never again! Thank you for your words and your ministry. God bless you.

  58. Hard Fiber Post author

    Father I play your playlist while I drive, having meal, hitting gym, on shower and even while I toilet.

    I have started to receive God into my heart since a year ago. I have so far listened to playlist Joel Osteen, Ravi Zacharias, Bible audiobook etc.

    Gotta keep feeding this mind with God's words 😊😊😊

    Better than listening to music 😚..


  59. marym499 Post author

    God bless you, Fr. Mike. You help me everytime I watch you, Thank you!!

  60. June Chamberlin Post author

    “I can’t care for others unless I have time for others. “ That hit me hard. I’m so busy being busy…thank you so much for this much needed reminder to slow down and care for others.

  61. Blue Rew Post author

    Fr. Mike, Thankyou endlessly for these videos and for your time and honesty!

  62. llibasci Post author

    Father Mike I love you & all your videos…. you have helped me be a better Catholic & deepen my faith & relationship with God in so many ways…I am very grateful… thank you so much, you are amazing…and it broke my heart to see how your heart is so broken for your uncle…I think he knows how much you love & care for him…I listen to you every day

  63. Colleen Hoffman Post author

    God Bless you Fr Mike! I needed to hear this! 😥 I am being convicted. God wanted me to see this video. Thank you for your work!❤

  64. christin miller Post author

    Do small things with great love! So many ways to be kind-bring a shopping cart in from the parking lot each time you walk in a store, pick up litter, always smile at children so they know the world is a beautiful place…

  65. Jude Post author

    Thank You Father Mike. WE LOVE YOU!

  66. Jude Post author

    Hey Listen if you’re ever feeling down, listen to this please,
    Wherever I Go by Dan Bremnes
    THANK YOU Father Mike!

  67. NikkiPog4444 Post author

    God bless you Fr. Mike as you are such a blessing to me. You are able to show us your humanity (pretty good especially for a male member of our human race – and a priest as well). Do not ever doubt that you are loved deeply by those of us to whom you minister. 🙏💖

  68. Theresa M Post author

    This is the truth! So beautiful! Thank you Fr. Mike💜🙏🏼🤗

  69. Palmina D'Alessandro Post author

    In person, in REAL LIFE….. I'm a lot more quieter …unless …HONESTLY…what do you know about being in COURT?? it's….a complete circus. That's what it's like. Exactly.

  70. Palmina D'Alessandro Post author

    @6:01 I'm sorry about your uncle. I lost my father….. I'm sorry

  71. Mary Moser Post author

    Thank you for this lovely video, Fr. Mike! It makes me smile because it reminds me of my childhood when I was homeschooled. In addition to being taught good manners by my parents, my grandmother (God rest her soul) would give my friends and me Etiquette Lessons — how to set the table, how to greet new people, how to write invitation or thank-you cards… so many little things that I now treasure and use to this day as a way of showing kindness and thoughtfulness to others, making them feel important and welcome. Her key phrase (borrowed from Emily Post) was "Etiquette is kindness."

  72. Cari Post author

    I am an introvert but I tell people I am an ambivert because I am courteous. I love it. I miss myself. :3

  73. Beth Adams Post author

    Someone from the choir bumped into me and a priest as we were chatting in the hallway, and looked at the spilled coffee, and kept walking to the Nave, to sing. Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm.

  74. spiritual warfare is upon us Post author

    After watching a good few of your videos you sound more and more like mel Gibson

  75. Monika Świniarska Post author

    I'm so sorry for you for that experience in your life, Fr. Mike. It was painful to watch it yet so touching.
    I enjoy your movies very much and I learn a lot from them, and strengthen my Catholic identity. Thank you so much! 😊
    Greetings from Poland 😊


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