L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, confirms rumors that those nifty red loafers Benedict XVI has worn since the day after his election are not name brand, but personally cobbled by some Vatican Geppetto. According to the AP:
“Obviously the attribution was false,” the Vatican newspaper said in its Thursday’s editions. “Such rumors are inconsistent with the simple and somber man who, on the day of his election to the papacy, showed to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square and to the whole world the sleeves of a modest black sweater,” it said.
L’Osservatore Romano said the pope’s interest in clothes has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with liturgy — what symbolism traditional garments can bring to the Christian liturgy.
“The pope, therefore, does not wear Prada, but Christ,” L’Osservatore said.
I still think they could market papal loafers and make some real cash–more than the few Euros those Swiss Guard keychains fetch…
AGGIORNAMENTO: Lest anyone think these fashion posts are about frippery or flippery, I do consider these matters with a serious side, as well as a good bit of fun and history (which I consider one and the same). In that regard, I would point folks to the blogs of Fr. Guy Selvester, a priest of the Diocese of Metuchen in my native New Jersey and the reigning expert (well, outside of the papal apartments) in ecclesiastical heraldry and vesture as well as a fine blogger and founder of “Shouts in the Piazza.” It was from Father Guy that I first heard, months ago, word that the pope did not in fact wear Prada. Nonetheless, the official Vatican confirmation is newsworthy.
Along with that, I’d direct interested readers to the latest from Sandro Magister’s Chiesa website, where his latest essay brings together all the sundry issues here, from Prada to the motu proprio, and puts them in a larger context with the help of the pontiff’s own MC, Msgr. Guido Marini. Whether one welcomes these developments or fears them is a pretty good gut check for where you stand on this papacy, and Vatican II, and the foreseeable future of the church.