Monday, April 25, 2005

On Papal Shoes...

Lauren has an interesting couple of posts about Papal footwear (here and also here) which reminds me of something I once read in Russell Chamberlain's fair-minded book The Bad Popes.

It refers to Pope Leo X (Pope 1513-1521; second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent Medici and also pictured in Cnytr's second Papal footwear post) who took more interest in hunting than in ecclesiastical affairs:
His hunting costume was a source of deep distress to Paris de Grassis [Papal Master of Ceremonies]: "He left Rome without his stole, and what is worse, without his rochet -and what is worst of all, he wore long riding boots which is most improper. How can the people kiss his feet if they are encased in long boots?" The metaphysical problem as to whether or not his foot could be kissed through a boot left Leo unmoved. Clad in his gorgeous, if uncanonical, costume he spent many happy days during which the affairs of the Cburch were discharged in the intervals between hunts. His courtiers swiftly learned that the best moment to present a petition was shortly after the kill, when the natural good nature and generosity of the pontiff were raised to exhuberent heights.
- p219

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