Sunday, March 16, 2014

Catholics, Protestants and Rule-Keeping

Last month I said on this blog that a lot of British people seldom wear shoes in their homes, but have no rule about it. I wonder if part of the reluctance to adopt a hard and fast rule is because we are a Protestant rather than a Catholic culture.



Without wishing to simplify things, the Catholic Church tends to be a little more keen on rules than most Protestant churches. The Catholic Church has definite requirements for it's members. They are required to attend mass every Sunday, to attend confession at least once a year and to keep the necessary fasts and feast days. Of course not all Catholics keep these obligations, but the individual Catholic knows whether or not he or she is doing these things.

In contrast in the evangelical denomination I attend, there is no definite list of what is required of members. I find it rather difficult to know exactly what I am expected to do. I find this tends to collude with my natural laziness and fails to give me much discipline and has therefore contributed to my general lack of devotion. I find I am rather drawn to Catholicism with it's rather more formal disciplines.

I think there is something to be said for rules. They instill a discipline as we keep them.

A family without a shoes-off rule may generally take their shoes off and this helps to keep the house clean. They let guests and visitors come in with their shoes on and this might in itself not make much difference to how clean the floors are. However, their willingness not to require shoes-off of visitors will likely lead the family to be less strict about their own shoe-removal. They will find themselves sometimes keeping their shoes on and being less bothered if their children fail to remove their shoes.

The presence of a rule creates a boundary that ensures consistency.

22 comments:

Bob said...

Interesting post. As a practicing Catholic I do enjoy the "rules" that are laid out for us. It serves as a marker for where you stand.
As you know we are a shoes off house. We have decided to sell our home and interviewed to agents to handle the sale. The first agent immediately shed her shoes as soon as she entered without being asked. After looking over the house she commented on the pristine condition of our floors and said that anyone viewing the home would have to do so shoeless. We never said a word about our no shoes rule nor did she ask. The only indication that she may of had was the fact that I was in sock and my wife in stockings.
The second agent had to be asked to remove her shoes which she did somewhat reluctantly. After looking over the house she indicated that requiring shoes off was a put off to many buyers and advised against it as a general rule.
All things being equal we would have engaged the first agent but she wanted to price the house some $50k over the recent appraisal of the house by an independent appraiser. The second agents suggested price was in line with the appraised value.
The agent to whom we have given the listing has been back three times since her first visit to take pictures and complete paper work. The first of these visits was on a rainy day and she did remove her shoes, but on the next two visits we had to ask

Matthew Celestis said...

Hi Bob, I've not gone public with this, but I am very interested in Catholicism and am contemplating conversion. I attended mass at the nearest parish recently and I liked the solemnity and reverence of the service. I also like saying the Rosary prayer.

Thanks for sharing about your home viewing experience.

So the second agent had to be asked to remove her shoes after she had been asked on a previous occasion? Not impressive, but I suppose she visits a lot of houses.

Do you know where you are going, or will you be viewing properties yourselves?

Bob said...

Hi Matthew, I agree with you about the Catholic rituals. I find structure to be a positive. I find going to Mass to be a very spiritually up-lifting experience.
As far as selling our home the agent we engaged, despite the shoe issue struck us as more savvy about the market and more energetic.
When we sell our home we will be moving to Florida...better weather and no state income taxes!
Bob

Matthew Celestis said...

I am so surprised nobody has posted a comment asking Bob whether his two agents were wearing socks or nylons or what colour their stockings were.

Bob said...

LOL Matthew...our dialogue about religion no doubt scared them off!

Paul said...

Bob,

It was nice of your realtors to take their shoes off at your house; the first one was more aware of your shoe preferences.

Were both agents dressed professionally? I noticed that ladies who are all dressed up are unlikely to want to take their shoes off, and for a good reason.

Bob said...

Paul, in response to your question, both agents were professionally attired. I am of the belief that people treat you as they perceive you. If one of the agents had arrived in less than professional attire we would not have entrusted them to represent us in the sale of our home regardless of their shoe removal behavior or lack thereof.

Paul said...

Bob - I agree with you. Were they in their suits and heels, or something less formal? Were they younger or older? I noticed that sometimes younger people, especially women, are more likely to remove their shoes.

Bob said...

Neither were wearing suits. One was wearing a skirt and the other a pair of tailored slacks. I would guess both women were in their late 40's to mid 50's

Paul said...

Sounds pretty professional. I assume they walked around your house in their stockings?

Bob said...

you assume correctly Paul, they were shoeless the entire time they were here

Paul said...

Did they still look professional in their stockinged feet?

I think realtors are the only occupation where you sometimes have to work in your stocking feet.

Bob said...

Paul,their lack of shoes while they were in our home had no impact on their professionalism as it related to their appearance or business manner.

Paul said...

Bob, what I meant is that it was courteous of them to remove their shoes - and to me, courtesy is definitely part of being professional.

Bob said...

Paul, sorry that I misunderstood your question. I assumed that you were asking if they still looked professional without having shoes on. Yes it was courteous of one agent to remove her shoes without being asked and of the other to do so when asked although she had to be reminded on two of her subsequent three visits.

Paul said...

Bob, thank you for the clarification! From my experience, some people do not like taking their shoes off at other people's houses so they have to be reminded - and this includes realtors. Or it might have been that this particular realtor forgot your house rules.

Actually I was wrong when I told you that realtors are the only people who have to occasionally work in their stockinged feet. One my female friend was a training coordinator for her company, and every month she would have to put the training schedule and agenda on the big whiteboard - to do so, she had to climb a chair. Every time she did, she took off her shoes and stood on the chair in her stockinged feet.

Bob said...

As I have mentioned our house is for sale. It is common practice in the US for the homeowners not to be present when the house is being shown. We received a call today asking if it could be shown. Before we left we naturally tidied up the house and vacuumed the carpeting. When we returned home it was obvious that whomever looked at the house had removed their shoes as the footprints on the carpeting were not made by shoes. I guess having pristine floors is a good indication that shoes should be removed without having to formally request it.

Elain Smith said...

Well Paul and Bob I am not sure your religious comments scared anyone off, as i had stated in some of my past post in our Lutheran church women were required to enter the chapel in stockinged feet. and at my last job as a move coordinator I was required to work in my stocking feet i wore thick tights as a rule as i knew they were more durable and warm as at times you would have to pad down into some unfinished basements,and the tights never ran,anyway i thought I would put my 2 cents in. thanks

Jason_Ayers_28 said...

"Did you remove your shoes before coming in here?"

Oh, I wouldn't dream of not removing them.

Hey Matt, I realised recently, it's been ages since I spoke to you. I have been wondering what you have been getting up to.

So, you are thinking about going across the Tiber again, Matt? Why is everyone turning their back on the Reformation?:)

Anyway, I think I should start keeping up with your shoe removing ways again. I am sorry I allowed us to lose touch.

Jason

Matthew Celestis said...

Hi Jason.

I'm still living in Stevenage and doing the same job.

I suppose my difficulty with the Reformation is the massive departure from the teaching of the Church Fathers. It's difficult to find anything close to Protestant theology prior to the sixteenth century.

I haven't converted, but I am at least thinking about it.

Jason_Ayers_28 said...

That's fantastic Matt. I am actually starting a new job as an R.E teacher at a Middle School in Windsor. It's only temporary at the moment but hopefully they will offer me a permanent position. There are some good kids there. I am going to be lodging at the friend of the teacher I am taking over from. Windsor is a lovely place.

I really don't know what I believe on a lot of issues these days. I don't know about Calvinism/Arminianism anymore. I lean towards preterism but am not 100% sure. I am broadly evangelical and that's about all I can say.

As for Roman Catholicism, I am really not all that anti-Catholic like I used to be. At the moment I think the priority is fighting secularism and the undermining of freedom of speech for Christians in the UK. What I would say though is that we should convert based upon evidence and reason for the Catholic position, not because the structure appeals to us. I know you know that of course:).

Hope to chat to you some time.

Jason

Matthew Celestis said...

I thought you were going to post a link to an article by James White!