I have not written anything about Pope Francis but I had to comment on something that I find kind of funny... the topic of his red shoes. I don't think any true Catholic questions the traditional vestments of our Faith, but the media sure like to point them out! Being that this blog pays homage to anything red, I would like to share some interesting little tidbits of fact with you about those red shoes from The Moynihan Letters (3/16/13). And to put you in the mood, you can listen to Elvis Costello singing "(The angels want to wear my) Red Shoes"...
One difference between the two, however, has already become evident. Pope Francis is not wearing the "red shoes" that past Popes have typically worn.
This tradition goes back more than 200 years. Here are Pius VII's slippers from 1808, 205 years ago:
So, it is a tradition. It isn't a very important tradition. It has no doctrinal significance, of course. But it is a tradition.
And Francis, so far, is not following this tradition.
Since his election, Francis has worn an ordinary pair of black shoes, apparently rejecting the red leather shoes worn by Benedict XVI.
Benedict's red shoes were hand-made for him by a cobbler in the Borgo, the old area of medieval streets just next to the Vatican on the right side of St. Peter's Square.
A pair of the red shoes had been made for his successor and were on display in the days before the conclave.
But, Pope Francis has not worn those red shoes. He has worn his old black shoes.
Reports says that, before he left Buenos Aires for Rome, Cardinal Bergoglio, was wearing a pair of shoes so shabby that friends insisted on buying him a new pair.
"He's always very humbly dressed and the shoes he was wearing were not in very good shape," a South American priest told Vatican Radio.
Here is how he looked this morning as he entered the Paul VI Hall to geet some 5,000 journalists who had come to Rome to cover the Conclave and his election.
And he also wore these same black shoes on Thursday and Friday.
The New York Times commented: "[Francis] wore simple black shoes and an ordinary wristwatch with a thick black band to his first Mass as pontiff.... In an ancient institution where style often translates into substance, Francis, in his first 24 hours as Pope, has dramatically shifted the tone of the papacy. Whereas Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus, was a theologian who favored red loafers, ermine-lined cloaks and erudite homilies, reviving papal fashions from centuries past, Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, appeared Thursday to be sending a message of radical humility."
Radical humility, radical simplicty, and a willingness to set aside traditional ways -- these are three of the characteristics of this pontificate thus far.