The pope wears Prada. Regular old popely shoes and vestments won't do for Benedict. Nosirree. Nor, apparently, will off-the-rack Prada. He wears custom-made red Prada loafers under his custom-made vestments and tops off the ensemble with Gucci shades.
Let's review. While the majority of the faithful have lived in squalor, popes have lived in opulence, piling up gold, jewels, and priceless artwork in the Vatican while local priests have relentlessly passed the collection plate, sometimes twice per mass, and demanded the extra seasonal donations expected of the parishioners. The rank and file have always sort of shrugged this off, probably because thinking about it too hard creates too much cognitive dissonance (once you get that Jesus <> pope train rolling, it's awful hard to stop it before being dragged clean out of the Roman tradition and into apostasy). Some popes make a play at humility, whether it's John XXIII's pro-vernacular, pro-laity activism, or John Paull II's kissing the ground at every airport, or perhaps the genuine humbleness of JPI and whatever that would have panned out to be, had he lived... but then along comes Ratzinger, who may be the most arrogant pope in living memory, taking the opulence of the Vatican to new heights.
I suppose it's appropriate in this era of the biggest wage gaps ever between the CEO and the broom-pushers. But the pope fucking wears custom Prada. Check out these shoes. They're $638 off the rack, and they're not even red. How much more for the custom fit and, I assume, exemplary customer service that probably goes along with being a rather big name? A thousand bucks, probably? What was it that Jesus H. Christ guy said about selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor if you want to be his follower?
I wonder if a Franciscan will ever get the big goofy hat. I would love to see that. A pope who wears a burlap habit and knocks around in Birkenstocks and sells every scrap of gold and rubies the Vatican has and uses the money to build housing for the poor and run AIDS-prevention programs that actually involve condoms.
God, my fantasy world is a happy little place.
So, instead, we have a main guy who does the Prada and Gucci thing and gets special robes made--oh, I'm sorry, did I say "robes?" Try
dazzling new vestments (some with shimmering, sequinlike details).Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah. Dazzling. sequins. Big ol' self-loathing homos are such a drag.