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Pope Wears Ruby Red Loafers, All Is Forgiven

Updated on September 16, 2010

It ain't always easy being the Pope. Sure, you have all the white linen, sirloin steak and dancing girls that you want, but it would seem that presiding over an organization that was recently revealed to have encouraged systematic predation of its most vulnerable members isn't all puppy dogs and rosaries. For months now, the Pope has been hounded about the place by press unwilling to cut the Catholic church any slack whatsoever.

But the press finally gave the Pope a break when they were momentarily distracted by the horrors of recent revelations by his pretty shiny red shoes that have had many fashionistas ready to convert to Catholicism simply for the style points. The UK's Guardian newspaper commented on the Pope's attire, glibly publishing the following dreck:

Unsurprisingly Benedict XVI opted to wear his favourite red leather loafers yesterday. And no, as the Vatican has tirelessly insisted over the past few years, they aren't by Prada but by Adriano Stefanelli, a little-known Italian cobbler. They also clearly serve as a sartorial comfort blanket: when playing to an uncertain crowd, it's often best to stick to a wardrobe you can count on.

Benedict did show he can style an accessory like no other faith leader. Other older men might have draped the tartan rug across their knee, but that would have been too close to nursing-home chic. Instead the pontiff slung it casually across his shoulders, suggesting he was immediately at home in the popemobile.

But why the red shoes at all? The current pope's predecessor, Pope John Paul was known for preferring plan brown shoes, shoes with far less pizazz and noteworthiness. Pope Benedict's predilection for red appears to be a throwback to the time of the Byzantine Emperors, when crimson red was considered to be a sign of nobility, not to mention a sign of someone who could probably have you executed merely for their entertainment.

The Pope's red shoes are therefore not only stylish accessories that make his white robes pop, but they're reminders of a glory age, when common muckrakers would not have dared to question the acts of the papacy, and when any priest worth his salt knew how to use a rack efficiently. And if it all gets too tough for the Pope in the coming weeks, months and years as he travels around the globe defending what Richard Dawkins called an “evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch," then perhaps he can tap his ruby red loafers together and fly home to Vatican City.

As for that tweedy upstart, Richard Dawkins, well he may very well have a point, but has anyone paid any attention to his fashion choices lately? I think not. What hope then, can he offer those looking for style salvation? None at all.


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