We have all read the narrative…
Pope Francis has decided NOT to wear the red shoes. He is a pope who gives a resounding NO to previous papal decadence and unbridled luxury. He is one of us brown shoe wearers – finally, a pope of the people!
I love and respect Pope Francis, as I have his predecessors. They each have unique gifts and styles, called by the Holy Spirit for the needs of Holy Mother Church at their time.
There are interests who wish to DIVIDE the Church. Satan is their leader but he has many helpers (even if unbeknownst to them). This scheme of division is subtle and clever, as many of Satan’s plans are, by attempting to divide us in time. The new pope is “good” while his predecessors (the decadent luxury lovers) were “bad.” The bad time ended when the good time began – with the new pope.
This is an attack on the Church, on Christ’s vicar and ultimately on God. If we can begin to think less of prior popes, we can discount their teaching. We can then begin to depreciate their many, many great contributions to the body of Christ.
We must not fall for this trap. It is offensive, as all attacks on the Church are, and at its core is a ridiculous supposition.
You never read about WHY popes have occasionally donned red shoes. Was it high fashion and a symbol of great wealth, perhaps as one wearing Prada? Sorry to disappoint the fashionistas, but nope.
Historically, episcopal footwear (in the form of “slippers”) has been part of the vestments of bishops. Those vestments, as we all know, have colors keyed to the liturgical calendar. The “outdoor shoes” worn by the pope are an outgrowth of that. This is more of a “uniform” than a decadent fashion statement. The uniform, like all clergy and religious, reminds the faithful who he represents.
So, what is special about the color red? It is the color associated with martyrs – saints (known and unknown) who died for the faith. When the pope, the Vicar of Christ, wears red shoes he is figuratively standing upon the spilt blood of martyrs following in the footsteps of Christ. Red shoes also symbolize Christ’s own bloodied feet as he walked to his crucifixion and the pope’s submission to Him.
Red also has significance as a color of royalty and power. As the Vicar of Christ, no one on earth is of higher rank. He is a person and a sinner just like us, but we can not speak for God the way the pope can. No one else can.
Pope Francis’ style is different and interesting. He captures, at least for a moment, the attention of many to hear the message of the Gospel. Openings are created through which the Holy Spirit can enter. Lives will be changed and more importantly, souls saved.
Do not be misled by style vs. substance. Pope Francis has made clear on many occasions his commitment to the “hermeneutic of continuity.” He is, as he says, a “son of the Church.” Personally, I believe the media’s “hope” in the Holy Father will wane when they figure out he is actually Catholic. Until then, be especially alert when you read about red shoes, the pope’s choice of residence, where he eats his meals and so on. There is much more to know than the media will present. Often, not only is their spin wrong but their facts are too.
A current example is Esquire naming Pope Francis the “Best Dressed Man of 2013”. Their purpose, of course, has nothing to do with the promotion of fashion but with division. Robert Gieb wrote a good piece for Catholic Lane on Saturday. Read his The Best Dressed Man over there.