The shoes of Pope Francis are seen as he conducts a general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on March 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Max Rossi

A frugal pope buys his own shoes

ROME (RNS) As cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, he took the subway. Then as pope, he went out to buy his own eyeglasses. And now he picked up a pair of shoes.

Pope Francis caused a sensation after he left the Vatican late Tuesday (Dec. 20) and showed up in a pharmacy in the heart of Rome.

Shop assistants and customers were astonished to see the 80-year-old pontiff there to purchase a pair of orthopedic shoes he needs to relieve pain caused by chronic sciatica.

[ad number=“1”]

The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics blessed an employee's crucifix and happily posed for selfies and videos.

Rome resident Martina Duarte posted her delight on her Facebook page with a video of the pope and the caption: "A Tuesday with the Pope ... my love I am incredibly proud of you!"

“A pope who goes to buy himself a pair of orthopedic shoes is like any citizen. A man among the people!” tweeted another fan.

“A pope who goes to buy himself a pair of orthopedic shoes is like any citizen. A man among the people!”

Since his election in 2013 the former Jorge Bergoglio has made a point of leading a simple life, shunning the opulent papal apartments for a modest room in his residence, carrying his own briefcase and traveling in a simple Ford Fiesta.

RELATED STORY: Pope Francis eyes a bargain, buys new glasses in Roman outing


  1. Knowing how hard it is to find a pair of shoes that both fit comfortably and wear well at a reasonable price, I don’t wonder that the Pope buys his own shoes.

  2. The Peter’s Pence collection totaled €378 million in 2013 per Emilio Fittipaldi’s book, “Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.” The Vatican Bank’s annual profits are also “offered the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” This was €50 million in 2013. As confirmed by Archbishop Becciu, Pope Francis makes only 20 percent of that available for the poor as disclosed by Gianluigi Nuzzi, in his book “Merchants in the Temple.” Both authors were indicted and tried at the pope’s orders for disclosing Vatican secrets in the only trial held during this pontificate.
    I think he can afford to buy his own shoes.

  3. Given all of the security and staff needed for such a trip, those “frugal” shoes probably ended up costing several thousand euros.

  4. Does he always wear his pope dress wherever he goes? That’s bound to draw atention so he must like it.

  5. I believe he wears it whenever he’s in public. I always wondered whether he can wear something a little more casual when just working in the office. I’ve seen priests wear just a clerical shirt and black pants when not performing rituals so I imagine there’s something similar for the Pope.

  6. I will confess that I have not read the book you refer to but looking at the review and comments there you mischaracterize what the Pope has been trying to do, which is to clean things up… and I quote from the Amazon review…”With…Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple, I’m absolutely impressed. The account is packed with excerpts from confidential documents that are no doubt authentic. Even the Vatican tacitly admits as much. The author’s analysis of the numbers and account of the byzantine internal politics are thoroughly convincing. In fact, the figures he reveals both confirm my own reporting about the Vatican but fill in many facts I was unable to obtain. Most of all, Merchants in the Temple shows that a lot of the money isn’t being spent where the Vatican claimed….In Merchants in the Temple, Nuzzi draws an admiring but startling portrait of Pope Francis….As Nuzzi makes clear, this Pope is a fearless reformer with a shrewd mind for business. The leaks may be illegal, but they’re not the real scandal. The scandal is the mismanagement that’s been hidden for far too long. These revelations should make the need for urgent reform obvious to the world outside the walls of the Vatican. And that’s the message Francis has been trying to send all along.”―Fortune

    And that is Fortune magazine.

  7. Nuzzi’s book was translated into English for the potential US market enthralled by a dishonest for-profit media’s spin on a “superstar” pope. In the Italian promotion, “offerings of the faithful withheld from charity, theft and trade scams” during the reign of Pope Francis were disclosed.
    As far as I know, Fittipaldi’s book “Avarice: Papers that Reveal Wealth, Scandals and Secrets in the Church of Francis” still hasn’t been translated. The Italian promotion: “Fraud worth millions, the machinations of the Vatican Bank, the true extent of the pope’s treasury,”
    If the pope is “cleaning up” the Vatican, why are the finances still kept secret? (except for the Vatican Bank which was forced during the previous pontificate into issue financial statements in order to continue trading in international financial markets.)

Leave a Comment