So I have been doing some research. Among other things, I discovered a world of information about the pope's entire wardrobe, including the cassock (a fancy lace-trimmed dress), the chasuble (a poncho), the cope (a cape/cloak), the mitre (a KKK-looking headdress), the rochet (a tunic), the mozetta (a short cape), and the camauro (a Santa-looking hat). But to stick to my topic, the ruby-red slippers, this is what I discovered:
- They are a statement of his desire to demonstrate continuity with the symbols and history of the Catholic church.
- They are a reminder of the years he served as a cardinal.
- They are an optional papal tradition.
- They symbolize the blood of martyrdom.
- They identify him with the Holy Spirit.
- Red represents power.
- They represent his ultimate sovereignty, without being subjected to any temporal authority.
- "Because he wants to go to Kansas."
P.S. They are rumored to be made by Prada, from the finest Moroccan leather, at a cost of $640 a pair. But I am happy to report that the pope gets his free.