Do angels want to wear Benedict's red shoes?
 

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posted Friday, March 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 9

Do angels want to wear Benedict's red shoes?
Retiring pope will keep the white gown but not the crimson loafers, Vatican says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Oh, the humanity!

After Benedict XVI leaves office, he will continue to wear his white cassock, but he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, the Vatican announced on February 26. He also will give back his papal ring and crucifix, and he will not wear a white elbow-length cape as he now does.

However, he will keep his papal name and not revert to being Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He will still be addressed as 'Your Holiness' and will be referred to as 'Pontifex Emeritus' ('Emeritus Pope').

According to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, as the conclave to elect his successor prepares to convene in an atmosphere of deepening crisis, Benedict occupied his time working out the details of what he would wear and what he would be called in retirement.

Benedict himself made the basic decisions, Lombardi said, after consulting unnamed advisors.

Until the official announcement on February 26, Vatican officials had suggested that Benedict would probably wear a black cassock like any other Roman Catholic cleric and would use his given name, possibly with his former title.

A FONDNESS FOR FRILLS
Lombardi said he did not know why Benedict decided as he did, but unlike his predecessor, John Paul II, Benedict has always shown a liking for frilly things.

Where John Paul favored simple, relatively unadorned vestments, even for Papal Masses, Benedict liked to dress in the lace, velvet, and brocades of pre-Vatican II Catholicism. Benedict even revived the ermine-trimmed red cap (camauro) and matching cape (mozzetta) favored by Renaissance-era Popes.

John Paul carried a simple, modernist crucifix cast in silver. Benedict favored baroque, jewel-encrusted gold ones.

The red shoes were Benedict's one concession to modern life. They were regular leather loafers, not the red velvet slippers popes wore prior to John XXIII. Now Benedict will wear brown shoes, custom-made for him in Mexico.

As he grew older and his strength declined, Benedict had to be wheeled down the aisle of St Peter's on a cart, because he was unable to walk under the weight of his heavily decorated papal vestments.

Now he will apparently be able to stroll down the halls of his retirement residence, the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, with ease.



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