Monday, February 9, 2009

Why the Pope Wears Red Shoes

I've always been curious as to why the pope wears those ridiculous-looking bright red shoes. Awhile back during a Bible study, the pope and the Catholic church came up, and that got me to thinking about it again. After class I inquired of the teacher, a man exceedingly knowledgeable about world religions. He shrugged, said he had no idea, but if I found out to let him know. He finds ideas for sermons in the most unlikely places and thought there might be something there.

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."
I believe the last one is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there it is. So in case you ever wondered...

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.


Civilla said...

Wow! I was raised a Roman Catholic, but I didn't know all that. It makes me feel better, though, to know that the Pope gets them for free. Now I can sleep at night.

Marytoo said...

Civilla, I am so pleased you can sleep at night now. I'm always happy to be of service.

jlbo1981 said...

Wow and I always thought they lived a life of poverty. Guess I was wrong. I have never owned any article of clothing that cost $640. Well God Bless him.