This morning a blog that I read entitled "Today's Catholic" had a post entitled "Benedict XVI's cobbler fondly remembers retired pope" and the other day on EWTN's Joan Lewis Report there was a featured piece on Antonio Arellano who has been taking care of the shoes of Pope Benedict (even the famous red ones) even when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. Both were good pieces about a man who runs a small shop in Rome not far from the Vatican and who is good at his craft. He learned his craft in Peru before moving to Rome in 1990. He takes great pride in his work, and in his special client, His Holiness, Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus. Having served Cardinal Ratzinger for years, he tell the story of making Pope Benedict a pair of red shoes, and presenting them to him at a General Audience. The Pope recognized him and acknowledged him to those there that day by saying "Here is my shoemaker". This simple man cherishes that moment, and the role that he played in the pontificate of Benedict.
The press has often made a fuss regarding the "red shoes". They often describe them as being crafted by Prada, a fashionable and expensive brand, sort of like "designer shoes". I have seen much criticism of the Pope for wearing such extravagant finery. How far from the truth. And besides, who cares about the shoes ... look at the man and his ministry, his holiness, his wisdom, and his example. I am glad that I saw those pieces concerning the shoes and their maker.
Speaking of Benedict XVI ... since his resignation last Thursday, we are not to mention his name in the Eucharistic Prayers - since in those prayers we pray for the Pope, and we are without one at the moment. I was very successful in breaking the routine on Friday through Tuesday. Then yesterday I mentioned Benedict. Did it again this morning. Caught myself, but not in time. Old habits are hard to change. I'm sure the Lord understands and that Benedict does not mind.