Daily Archives: December 4, 2008

Etiquette and Ethics

We can look at manners and etiquette in three ways:

  1. It is the grease that oils the cogwheels of the social machine,
  2. It is something that belongs to the realm of aesthetics,
  3. but we can also look at them as they belong to the realm of ethics—as having to do with how we treat one another in everyday life.

–P.M. Forni, professor of Italian Literature at Johns Hopkins and one of the co-founders of the Civility Project

I heard this fascinating interview on the radio yesterday on etiquette, the true aims of Emily Post, and the odd place of etiquette in American culture. I bring it up not only because it’s quite interesting but because it occurred to me that there are some very close parallels between etiquette and liturgy.

Just as etiquette helps structure our social relationships, liturgy helps us structure our religious ones.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think…