The Pope’s Red Shoes

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The wearing of red papal shoes (then “sandals”) dates back to the earliest times of the Church.  However, in 1566 St. Pope Pius V, a White Dominican, decided to change the papal vestments from red to white leaving only the Pope’s cappello (a wide circular brimmed hat), cape and shoes the color red.  Usually elaborate, the leather soled, less structured papal “slippers” of the time were made of red satin and silk along with gold thread and embroidered ruby encrusted crosses. 

Until the first half of the 20th century, it was customary for pilgrims having an audience with the Pope to kneel and kiss one of his slippers.  Similar to many of noblemen of the time, the Pope also wore red slippers inside his residences and red Morocco leather shoes outside.  Centuries later, Pope Paul VI decided to update his footwear and eventually discontinued the use of “slippers” altogether in favor of sturdy red shoes for both indoor and outdoor use.

Throughout Church history, the color red has been deliberately chosen to represent the blood of Catholic martyrs spilt through the centuries following in the footsteps of Christ.  The red papal shoes are also linked to Christ’s own bloodied feet as he was prodded, whipped, and pushed along the Via Dolorosa on his way to his crucifixion, culminating in the piercing of his hands and feet on the cross.  The red shoes also symbolize the submission of the Pope to the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ.  Beyond this, it is said the red papal shoes also signify God’s burning love for humanity as exhibited during Pentecost when red vestments are worn to commemorate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles as tongues of fire rest upon their heads.

From: “Red Shoes and the Room of Tears” by Judy Keane      http://catholicexchange.com/red-shoes-and-the-room-of-tears

 Photo source:    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/mar/12/why-pope-wears-red-shoes/

“Traitors’” Feet in the Air

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Branded as turncoats and accused of committing treason, eight men were hung in public view by the British near the end of the War of 1812. This image depicting feet in the air is a part of a mural by Lori Le Mare.  (http://www.pinterest.com/mmrocks/fieldcote-museum-exhibit-by-lori-lemare/)

The Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster Ontario has become a centre of the “Bloody Assize” commemoration.  Apparently, several visitors to the museum have acknowledged a family connection to these infamous Upper Canadian settlers. Mark McNeil (mmcneil@thespec.com) wrote in the Hamilton Spectator: “Time has a way of revising attitudes. Yesterday’s traitor might be seen today as an unfortunate rebel. One man’s turncoat is another man’s hero. And maybe the British army was doing things that deserved disloyalty, such as throwing people out of their homes and eating their food”.

 http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2243205-bloody-assize-revisited/

 Photo Source:

https://www.google.com/search?q=lori+le+mare+studio&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VSAFU-_0BMq8yAHis4HwBA&ved=0CFUQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566