Here she is, offering her customary sanity on the pontificates of Benedict and Francis:
The red shoes – so maligned even by Catholics who should know better – are a symbol of blood. Blood , people. The blood of the martyrs and the blood of Christ on which His vicar stands, and through him, all of us. Popes – yes, even John XXIII and Paul VI – wore them until John Paul II stopped. Then Benedict reinstated them. That is, he humbled himself before history and symbol and put the darn things on. Why did he reinstate them? Because he was vain, monarchical and arrogant? Because he was out of touch with the poor? Because he was, in the terms of the esteemed professor, a “clotheshorse?” Because they look good? I doubt it, because, you know, they don’t, not really. Maybe – just maybe – because he believes what they symbolize? That his office is rooted in the blood of the martyrs, especially Peter?
I totally don’t get the fixation on the shoes from the media. Mitres, stoles, mozzetta, all manner of vestments. These go unremarked. But this one piece of liturgical–yes, liturgical–clothing suddenly becomes a symbol of all sorts of things except what they actually symbolize. And then media guys in Gucci shoes and Armani suits wring their hands in fake dudgeon about it all. Silly.