Christian Persecution and Blood Red Shoes

Pope Francis is the Pope. If he decides to go for all the pomp his office allows ….

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That’s fine with me.

Because he’s the Pope.

If on the other hand, he decides to wear sandals and walk rather than ride – or some black-shoed something in between the two extremes — that, too, would be ok with me.

Because he’s the pope.

It appears that most Catholics are like me: Over the moon about our new papa. But, you can’t please everyone. Human beings are too contrary for that to ever happen in this world. In their displeasure with our Holy Father, some of these displeased ones have fixated on one thing: The color of his shoes.

The red of the red shoes refers to the blood of the martyrs they tell us.

I’ve been thinking about this for days, largely because I don’t understand why we need to see red shoes to think about the blood of the martyrs. The blood of people dying for Christ is not an ancient artifact from a long ago history that has passed. The blood of the martyrs is soaking into the ground in a hundred places around the world as I type this.

This is the blood of the marytrs:


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North Korea

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I have interviewed survivors of Christian persecution in Uganda and Nigeria. They are different from us. Their faith has been through the fire and this fire burned away the impurities of trivial concerns.

One of the many things about these people that impressed me is their gentleness; that, and their absolute faith in heaven. I never heard anything from them about the people who persecuted them being damned to hell. The harshest thing I heard was from an Anglican bishop who called them “ignorant.” Their focus is on Jesus. It is not on the ones who attacked them. They see past the persecution to heaven and the gift of eternal life.

More than once when I asked them how they got through it, they said two words: The cross.

They are different from you and me, these people who have been purified by the fires of persecution for the name of Jesus. I never asked any of them about red shoes. But if I had, I imagine that the response would have been incomprehension.

What Jesus Told Us

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  • Maggie Goff

    Thank you, Rebecca. This is getting down to the nitty gritty of our Faith here. I think so many of us are distanced from the poor, persecuted, disadvantaged that it doesn’t really hit home with us. We look at it all from a distance. Practicing the corporal works of mercy helps me. Changed me, actually.

  • John

    My Sunday bulletin says the Good Friday collection is to support the Christians of the Holy Land, as instituted by Pope Benedict XVI. It would make a big statement to the world about the persecution of Christians around the world if Pope Francis were to wear the red shoes on Good Friday.

    Symbols can be powerful, expecially in the Church.

  • SteveP

    Come Lord Jesus do not delay: you and you alone the holy way.
    In neighbor’s face we see your glory through summer hot and winter hoary.
    Wonder Counselor, Prince of Peace: lead us on into your feast.
    Your Father’s house our only desire: we’ve endured the earthly mire.
    - Anonymous

  • Christina

    Most amazing for me is how they are able to forgive their persecutors, those who’ve killed members of their family. This is true Christianity.

  • Stefanie

    Thank you for this reminder, Rebecca.
    The symbol of red shoes is as a reminder during times of less persecution, I suppose.
    As your photos and videos remind us, the number of Christians being persecuted and killed today far outweigh any in the previous two thousand years. This is because Christianity has truly reached the ends of the earth.

  • http://yahoo NV

    Thank you. God Bless you, in Jesus’ name.