Can you imagine working at the same job every day until the day you die? And, while in that job, you must live, eat and breathe at your workplace. It would get old quickly, so I have to give Pope Ben a pat on the back for realizing that, only after 8 years in the position, his time was up. Bowing out in style, or flying off in his white helicopter, made world news. But of course, the media, as usual, put a spin on the story by bringing up the fact that a Pope had not resigned in 600 years, so how was this going to affect 1.2 billion Catholics? The guy was getting old and feeble and mumbled when he spoke. I had no clue what he was talking about in his interviews, so passing the Papal position on to the next Pope-to-be was appropriate and timely.
I have seen several popes come and go in my lifetime, all nice and very popish looking, although I have never met one. Yes, I was raised a Catholic and attended Parochial school and participated in everything I was told to do. I do remember hearing about the white smoke everytime we needed a new pope, but I don’t recall hearing about the Papal red shoes. I guess the shoe thing wasn’t as popular as it is today. I can’t imagine a guy in red loafers with gold trim, a white dress and a beanie. That outfit alone would make me want to resign.
So what’s next for Pope Benedict? Will he want to be called Joey again? Will he start wearing jeans, a golf shirt and ball cap? Will he give up those red shoes? I have no idea what the answers are, except for the shoe thing. Apparently he cannot wear the red shoes, but will wear loafers custom made for him in two colors, brown and burgundy. These shoes, made by Armando Martin Dueñas, are from a 400 year old, family-owned business in Leon, Mexico. Martin Dueñas’ factory only makes about a thousand pairs a month, hand-crafted from the skin of neo-natal lambs. A spokesman for the company says there are no plans to speed up production or ever outsource manufacturing from Mexico.
Anyone wanting to purchase a pair of the pontiff-preferred shoes has to call the factory directly. Jose Luis Rocha, Martin’s longtime friend is building a U.S.-based website for the shoes from San Diego, California. The site is scheduled to go live March 11th. He’s scouting retail locations too. (Ah, capitalism! Isn’t it wonderful?) The listed price for a pair of the prized shoes is about $200. Rocha says the ones provided to the pope, however, were priceless.
So, it comes down to the shoes. Maybe a red wedgie by Martin Dueñas might be competition for Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo. We will just have to wait and see!