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Pope Francis Visits Downton Abbey: The Papal Wardrobe Controversy
Canterbury Tales ^ | March 20, 2013 | Taylor Marshall

Posted on 03/20/2013 4:54:00 PM PDT by NYer


When Pope Francis was elected, we didn't know much about him. When Pope Benedict was elected Pope, we knew exactly who he was. Pope Benedict had scores of published books and he had a been a visible and known prelate at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Benedict was in many ways the right hand man of John Paul II and we knew what to expect.

Pope Francis is entirely unknown to most of us. As a result, most folks have had to rely on only one source of information for the past week or so: photographs. Hence, most of the controversy over Pope Francis has boiled over "what is the Pope wearing or not wearing?"

As I was thinking about this, I realized that Pope Francis's wardrobe and customs have created as much excitement as a Downton Abbey episode! Black shoes on a Pope? What would the Dowager Countess say? My goodness!

For those that have never seen Downton Abbey, it's essentially a BBC drama centered on the "scandals" of an English Earl and his family as they wrestle with wearing black tie at dinner instead of white tie and whether noble blood necessitates a valet to help one dress. Other profound controversies include whether the Irish son-in-law should wear a morning suit, and which servant gets to wear the livery of a footman. As you can tell, it is an epic mini-series of deep philosophical distinctions...

People love Downton Abbey because it introduces us to the world of Old World nobility and elegance in conflict with the modern age. To carry the analogy, Pope Benedict represents the dignified Old World Pope in red slippers. Pope Francis represents the New World Pope in black lace-ups. If Benedict is Sir Robert Crawley Earl of Grantham, then Pope Francis is Matthew Crawley, the up-in-comer who doesn't understand why a valet has to dress him in white tie every evening before dinner. Notably  Matthew does come around...


People are buzzing about Pope Francis' choice of a silver papal ring, his refusal of the red papal mozzetta, his black shoes, his simple vestments, his low mitre, his preference for a Popemobile Jeep rather than a Popemobile Mercedes, etc.

Personally, I wish that the Pope had retained the traditional Papal attire. There I said it. But I don't judge him over it. There is no sin in wearing black shoes. I don't think that there are any precepts of canon law regarding shoe color or designating the manufacturer of the Popemobile. Again, the problem is that we do not know Pope Francis. What we have are instant digital photographs. This likely accounts for why some Catholics worked themselves into a frenzy within hours of the Pope's appearance on the balcony after his election. "What? No scarlet mozzetta? I'm going to start tweeting about how this signals the end of the Extraordinary Form and the world as we know it!"

We should recall how Our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for rebuking Him for not washing his hands ceremonially before meals. The Pharisees accused Christ of sin, because He did not obey the traditions of the elders. Christ sternly rebuked them for raising "breaking custom" to "breaking God's law."

I think we can revere the papal customs (and even privately hope for their return), but we should not assume that black shoes on a Pope means that He has a black sole, I mean, black soul.

Let me lay my cards on the table. I was hoping for Raymond Burke as Pope Leo XIV in a full out papal tiara. I would have been first in line to carry the Pope in the sedia gestatoria on my shoulders. 

The Pope's Sedia Gestatoria
I think the Dowager Countess would like this, no?

But it did not happen. Burke wasn't elected. It was not God's will. So we retain peace. We pray. We do our duties. And we keep being grateful for Christ's gracious gift of the Papacy and a living magisterium. I've been Protestant and I am grateful for a Pope, no matter what color his shoes. Let's just trust Christ and keep moving along. I like what Father Z said yesterday. Pope Benedict gave us 8 years of trad training wheels. Now let's take off the training wheels and simply ride the bike.

Question: Is this a fair assessment? People are so divided on this issue of "black shoes vs. red shoes" and what it represents. Folks are either thrilled that the Pope is so "humble and simple," or they are scandalized that Pope Francis is breaking valued customs and slighting his predecessor. 


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/20/2013 4:54:00 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 03/20/2013 4:54:59 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: NYer
Just a reminder: (By my admittedly limited knowledge) the red shoes of the Pope are worn to remind that the Church was built on the blood of martyrs.

Not a fun concept, but it shows the shoes are definitely not there for fashion.

3 posted on 03/20/2013 5:20:43 PM PDT by Yossarian ("All the charm of Nixon. All the competency of Carter." - SF Chronicle comment post on Obama)
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To: All
....most of the controversy over Pope Francis has boiled over "what is the Pope wearing or not wearing?" As I was thinking about this, I realized that Pope Francis's wardrobe and customs have created as much excitement as a Downton Abbey episode!

Either that, or an episode of TLC's What Not To Wear!

Related threads:
Is Pope Francis Trading in the Mozzetta for Sackcloth?
Of the Pope’s mozzetta…
Letter #49: Black Shoes
Pope Francis' first moves hint at break with past
The Papal Fashion: Pope Benedict XVI’s Favorite Fashion Accessories
The secrets of the Pope’s shoes
Pope Benedict XVI says goodbye — to his red shoes
Morse Code (pope’s liturgical vestments)
The Sacrifice of the Mass: Liturgical Vestments
Pope’s robe cut up for 100,000 ‘holy relics’
Another Media Photoshop Victim? (Pope Benedict XVI)
The Hats Worn by a Cardinal

4 posted on 03/20/2013 5:37:59 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" - Isaiah 7:9)
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To: NYer

Considering the character I’m not sure comparing Pope Francis to Matthew Crowley is the best idea.

After all we all know what happened to him, don’t we?


5 posted on 03/20/2013 5:54:19 PM PDT by Legatus (Keep calm and carry on)
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To: NYer

OH MAN I love DA NYER THANKS FOR THE LAUGH ROFL


6 posted on 03/20/2013 6:46:38 PM PDT by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
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To: NYer

I really wish he’d stick with the red shoes because I got so many good laughs watching people make fools of themselves whining about the Pope’s red shoes.


7 posted on 03/20/2013 7:07:14 PM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: FoxPro

Downton Abbey Ping


8 posted on 03/20/2013 7:44:45 PM PDT by llevrok (Keep your arms out. It makes it harder for them to throw a net over you.)
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To: Rashputin; SevenofNine; Legatus
I really wish he’d stick with the red shoes because I got so many good laughs watching people make fools of themselves whining about the Pope’s red shoes.

: - ) Wait until he emerges on the balcony one hot summer day, wearing sandals .... wait .... let's make that 'red' sandals. It's been a very long time since sandals were de rigueur in the papal wardrobe, probably not since the 3rd or 4th century. It's also very franciscan. Now these can't be just any sandal. Prada would be too fashion forward; Birkenstock might be more appropriate or perhaps they could be made from recycled materials. Imagine the media handling of this!!

9 posted on 03/20/2013 7:56:14 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: NYer; SevenofNine; Legatus
Wow, you're so right !! I hadn't even thought about sandals.

Like the sandals an elderly Jesuit I knew wore with SOCKS in the winter no matter how bad the snow was or how cold it was. Now, THAT'S a trend setting fashion statement since the only people doing that now are irritating tourists in the warmer parts of the US and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Yeah, Birkenstock copies in red by Prada and thick, fuzzy, SOCKS, with colorful little trout or teddy bears on them. Oooooo, and that "look" would have to be accompanied by the huge, red, floppy, hat people were recently laughing about when there was a picture of Burke wearing one.

And to really light up the whole ensemble, a dingy, black, umbrella, the size of a beach umbrella to provide shade and stay cool even in the heat of the day.

I may not miss the red shoes all that much after all.

10 posted on 03/20/2013 8:56:21 PM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Yossarian
the red shoes of the Pope are worn to remind that the Church was built on the blood of martyrs.

Interesting. Even more so as it illustrates how some of these papal fashion choices are not completely arbitrary.

11 posted on 03/20/2013 9:05:16 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: steve86

I think symbols are important and I’d like to see many of them come back. As a Catholic, I like the idea of priests wearing cossacks and the Pope wearing a tiara. These may be symbols to some but there is a great teaching opportunity in them.

Likewise, when my son grows up I am going to teach him about the symbols of the United States and its military. From our flag to the state flags, to military customs and symbols, to the Great Seal of the United States and the other symbols that are derived from Western tradition, like the fasces, which shows up on many of our monuments.

Symbols and their meanings help connect the generations and are part of an enduring culture. The left has been trying for years to crush the physical examples of tradition and history in their quest to remake everything formless valueless.


12 posted on 03/21/2013 7:07:12 AM PDT by Crolis ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." -GKC)
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To: NYer

I wouldn’t pass that on this Pope I think he is type wear sandels


13 posted on 03/21/2013 9:12:38 AM PDT by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
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To: Crolis

I think he’s doing just fine with the trappings of the office that he has accepted. Each man in that office is different, and no one should try to force some ‘tradition’ on him that he doesn’t like, or makes him uncomfortable. Pope Benedict was used to the finery, because he’d been in Rome for so many years, before becoming Pope. Pope Francis is, by all accounts, a simple man, and I think he should be given space and time to find his own way with the customs and traditions that have grown over the years.


14 posted on 03/21/2013 6:36:53 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: NYer
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15 posted on 03/26/2013 7:26:37 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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