So, according to a story in yesterday’s Moscow Times (and picked up by Jezebel, Huffington Post, and many other sites), an Orthodox priest bloggged that the World Cup Tournament was a “homosexual abomination,” that players who wear green, yellow, pink or blue shoes helped promote the “gay rainbow,” and they “might as well wear women’s panties or a bra.” Yeah well, haters gonna hate, I guess. Author Alexander Shumsky should skype Anne Coulter and have themselves a good cry about moral decay and futboll.
I would advise them to leave Pope Francis out of it, though, for a couple of reason. First of all, the Pope is an Argentinian who likes soccer a lot–here he is holding an Albiceleste jersey. And has a sense of humor about it, too–note the tweeted cartoon from the Vatican about the Argentina-Switzerland match:
But most importantly, the crack about colorful footwear will fall on deaf ears at St. Peter’s. According to long-hallowed tradition, it is a right appertaining to the Pope to wear the specially-embroidered sandals with liturgical stockings called caligae. These special shoes have provoked no end of merriment in the press–“Does the Pope Wear Prada?” asked the Wall Street Journal of Pope Benedict– but in fact the custom goes back to antiquity.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, ” The privilege of wearing the sandals and caligæ belongs only to bishops. They may be worn by abbots and other prelates only by special privilege from the pope and only so far as this privilege grants. The pontifical foot-wear is used only at pontifical solemn Mass and at functions performed during the same, as ordination, but not on other occasions, as, for example, Confirmation, solemn Vespers, etc. It is therefore in the most exact sense of the word a vestment worn during the Mass. The liturgical colour for the day decides the colour of the sandals and caligæ.” It is further noted, “Sandals and stockings are only customary in the Latin Rite and are unknown in the Oriental Rites.” Perhaps the Orthodox hierarchy would like to get themselves some fancy shoes and trade in their Russian jersey for an Argentinian one?