Pope to cobbler: No red shoes


I saw this article in today’s online edition of the Argentine newspaper Clarín. It’s called “The Pope, ever faithful to his shoemaker.” Much of the narrative will be familiar to those who recall the story about Francis’s calling his newspaper guy. In this case, the subject of the article is the cobbler Carlos Samaria, who has been making and repairing Bergoglio’s shoes for 40 years. It bears pointing out that in Argentina many things are regularly bought at tiny neighborhood shops from local vendors or craftsmen that we Americans would expect to get at WalMart or CVS. Anyway, here’s a couple of paragraphs from the end of the article (my translation):
[Samaria] recalled that when Bergoglio left for the Conclave he joked, “If you stay, I’ll run and bring you your shoes.” “And when I found out, I cried like a child, because we all thought he was coming back after the Conclave,” he says in a breaking voice.

“He doesn’t want new shoes, only for me to fix his old ones; but now I’m making him a simple pair, but new, for when he tells me I can go visit him, in May.” With emotion he recalls the worn-out soles Francis displayed when he was consecrated as bishop and later cardinal. In the ceremony those consecrated must lie on the floor in a sign of humility.

Two weeks ago the Pontiff woke him up with a phone call at 7:30 AM with the now-classic, “Hello Samaria, it’s Bergoglio.” When, still half asleep, he replied, “Who?”, he heard, “Francis, the Pope, Samaria.” Then Samaria asked what color shoes he wanted and Pope Francis responded that he preferred** “the same black ones as always, nothing red.”**

And, jokingly, Samaria prodded him: “Wouldn’t you like me to make you some asbestos gloves? Because the bigger the handle, the more it burns. [A Spanish proverb?]” The Pope laughed loudly and said, “That’s a very good joke; you’re right, Samaria.” And he thanked him.


I don’t understand why so anti-red shoes! My red shoes are my least expensive pair of shoes I own! You can be poor and still have red shoes. Mine remind me of the virgin martyrs.


links like this may help…red shoes, status

:yup:Yup. Couldn't agree more. I loved Papa Benedict's red shoes not only because of their simple, bright beauty but because the symbolism. Now I had just thought they symbolised the Papal Office and that was reason enough for me to appreciate them, but then I recently found out how they symbolise the blood of the martyrs and I appreciate them even more. 

I realise that Pope Francis is poor in spirit and that is commendable, but I simply don’t see the traditional Papal vesture as opposed to that. Actually, I think that ready obedience is more in keeping with poverty in spirit.


[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:2, topic:323004"]
I don't understand why so anti-red shoes! My red shoes are my least expensive pair of shoes I own! You can be poor and still have red shoes. Mine remind me of the virgin martyrs.


Absolutely nothing wrong with red shoes. But some religious orders frown upon bright colored clothes, even if they are the least expensive.


Are you guy or a girl?

Guys aren’t really into red shoes:p


Wearing black shoes that cost the same as red ones is more humble. :shrug:


It’s not so much a matter of cost, although to make red shoes for men is more unusual and possibly adds to expense?

However, it’s a matter of status:

The red shoes was a sign of rank in imperial Rome and when the old imperial roles began to be taken up by the new Christian rulers after the legalization and institutionalization this sign of rank transferred from imperial Roman senators to the Pope. As a matter of tradition only the Pope could wear these shoes, not the Patriarch of Constantinople, symbolizing the position of the Vicar of Rome being above that of any other leader in the Christian church, Roman Catholic or otherwise.

So the Pope is declining the status aspect of the thing.
Jesus presumably wore the simple footwear that His apostles used.
Why not His chief Shepherd?



First of all, this is not poverty of spirit. The Pope is a Jesuit. Therefore, he’s a consecrated religious. His vow of poverty is not dispensed because he becomes pope. As a religious he’s bound to real poverty, not a spirit of poverty.

The only thing that changes when a religious becomes a bishop is that he no longer has to ask for permission to acquire goods and he no longer has to give what he acquires to his order. But he still has to regulate what he acquires and to be one with the poor. That will never change. This is has been the case with every pope who was a religious. That’s how we get the white cassock. Pope Pius V was the first Dominican Friar to become a pope. He continued to practice the poverty of the Dominicans. He wore his habit. He was so beloved that his successor had a robe made of the same shade of white as the Dominican habit with a shoulder cape that mimics the Dominican capuche.

Why did Pope Pius continue to wear his Dominican habit? Because he was literally poor and this is what a poor Dominican wears even to this day. A poor Jesuit wears black or white, depending on the climate. A poor Jesuit does not wear the red shoes of a monarch. The idea that the red shoes are the blood of the martyrs was debunked in an article by Archbishop Ganswein, Pope Benedict’s secretary. No one really knows how that interpretation began or when it began. It’s nice, but it was never in the mind of the papacy.

If the Capuchin Franciscan cardinal from Boston has been elected, he would have worn his brown habit, not the white cassock. The Jesuit pope wears the white cassock, because the Jesuits wear cassocks, black in cool climates and white in warm climates. The white cassock is not problematic for them as it would be for a Franciscan.

I don’t see what obedience has to do with it. There is no law that says that pope must wear any specific clothing. These are customs, not laws. These customs grew out of a long line of secular popes. Francis is a regular pope, not a secular pope. This may seem strange to many people, because we have not had a regular pope since the 1770s. The last regular pope was a Franciscan who did not wear shoes at all except when he wore choir dress, which was rare, since popes don’t usually wear choir dress.


Whether he wants to accept the status or not, it is the truth of the faith that his status is one of primacy.

From the First Vatican Council:
To this absolutely manifest teaching of the sacred scriptures, as it has always been understood by the catholic church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his church and deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction.
The same may be said of those who assert that this primacy was not conferred immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the church, and that it was through the church that it was transmitted to him in his capacity as her minister.
if anyone says that
blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole church militant; or that
it was a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself:
let him be anathema.

Wherefore we teach and declare that,
by divine ordinance,
the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that
this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both
episcopal and
Both clergy and faithful,
of whatever rite and dignity,
both singly and collectively,
are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this
not only in matters concerning faith and morals,
but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.


I don’t think that the issue is that Pope Francis rejects the status of the Primacy or denies being pope. You folks keep forgetting, he’s a regular pope, not a secular pope. Why is this so difficult to understand?

His behavior has nothing to do with status. It has everything to do with being a regular pope. He is no different from any other regular pope.


I’m a girl.


[quote="hudson, post:7, topic:323004"]
Wearing black shoes that cost the same as red ones is more humble. :shrug:


Huh? Where did you get that from?



Thoug BroJR’s answer is the correct one, not mine;)


What does obedience have to do with the color of his shoes? Is there something in Canon Law about it?


I think there is now two traditions as to papal footwear. If you even want to have it rise to the level of tradition…

Bl. John Paul the Great wore regular black shoes. Pope Francis is following in the tradition set by JP2.


The tradition of the popes wearing red shoes were carried over from the customs of ancient Rome itself. In fact, by the time of the Byzantine Empire only three people are allowed to officially wear red shoes in the empire: the Emperor, the Empress, and the Pope. Even in art, depictions of people wearing red shoes are severely restricted to the above-mentioned or the angels.


Oh, I used to be disgusted
Now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
You know the*** angels wanna wear my red shoes***


Not much baseball played in Rome.

And in Europe, THIS famous tale equated RED shoes with vanity, irreverence (taking attention away from God and worship) and ostentatious display!

The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen




Actually they were usually brown with the slightest tinge of a red-wine color.


That’s what the average guy (or at least the shoe and shoe polish companies) refers to as “cordovan.”


=p Cordovan is a color, but it’s also a leather. It’s the back portion of the hide of a horse’s hind leg, and it makes exceptionally beautiful shoes, and it’s also pretty much the most durable, longest-lasting shoe leather. It’s not cheap, but you can keep a pair for decades as long as you have a decent (3-4 pair) rotation. Now, usually cordovan is dyed this color we are talking about, but it will take almost any color.

/menswear-nerd rant

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