It’s a Jesuit thing, right? As with Stendahl’s novel “The Red and the Black” — red signifies the Church, and black signifies the Army. The Jesuits are headed by a Superior General and see themselves as an army of Christ. I could be wrong in part on this - I am not Catholic.
I should add that Stendahl wrote about secular vs non-secular issues, but the shoe issue (I think) is a distinction solely within the church. I did not mean to imply that Pope Francis was in any way in opposition to “the church”.
I think you're correct. The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola whose early plan was the conversion of Mohammedans. The name "Societas Jesu" had been borne by a military order approved and recommended by Pius II in 1450, the purpose of which was to fight against the Turks and aid in spreading the Christian faith. The early Jesuits were sent by Ignatius first to pagan lands or to Catholic countries. From the very beginning the missionary labours of the Jesuits among the pagans of India, Japan, China, Canada, Central and South America were as important as their activity in Christian countries.
Jesuits became renowned for their sanctity (41 Saints and 285 Blesseds), for their scholarship in every conceivable field, for their explorations and discoveries, but especially for their schools. Five of the eight major rivers of the world were first charted by Jesuit explorers. Two of the statues in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington are Jesuits: Eusebio Kino and Jacques Marquette.
Jesuits take 3 vows - Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Their fourth vow is of obedience to the Pope with regard to mission.