What colour are the Pope’s Drawers?

Article written by Shay Healy,
First published in The Irish Daily Mail

What colour are the pope’s drawers? Does he favour Y-Fronts or jocks? Are they, silk, cotton or nylon? What colours are they? Or is there a standard issue for popes? There may well be a strict set of fashion rules for popes. The Gammarelli tailor shop has been the pope’s haberdasher for over two centuries and it would be a fool who would fly in the face of such overwhelming credentials. But the Gammarellis are taking no chances on being gazumped by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier or Dolce & Gabbana. Already they have sent to the Vatican, three sets of white vestments, Small, Medium and Large. In their shop window, dramatically set against a red background, they have a white, silk, skull cap, a white sash with golden fringes and a pair of red leather shoes Red leather shoes! F-u-n-k- y. But it didn’t surprise me to read this fascinating papal fashion gossip about the pope’s livery. I’d seen Cardinal red before. For the life of me, I can’t remember how I came to be there, but I was in the Bishop’s house in Galway sometime in the late 70’s. I was getting a tour of what had been Cardinal Michael Browne’s house in the company of a well known cleric. In the master bedroom, my clerical friend pulled open a chest of drawers and held aloft a new pair of pure silk red socks. If his socks were made of silk, we can only assume that his peers also wear top of the range garb and not only when they are out in public. The first picture of pope JP11 at his Summer residence, Castelgondolfo, showed him walking in the garden wearing a full-length white robe….and a baseball cap. 115 voting cardinals are currently in Rome for the election of a new pope. That’s a lot of Catholic“ heavies” to have in one place and not an apology between them. God be with the days when the pontiff was referred to in capital letters as The Pope, or His Holiness. That kind of respect and affection has been battered out of decent people by the egregious arrogance of the Vatican, which failed, yet again, under Benny The Rat, to face up to the world and confess their cover-ups. Meantime, the cardinals are in session at pre-conclave meetings, organising the election of the next pope. There is a rumour that they might do a Barak Obama on it and install the first black pope. How will the Gammarellis cope if JayZ and Puff Daddy start vieing for a slice of the papal fashion market. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the whole election farrago. I am more interested in what fashion surprises might be in store. Will the Man Bag have an impact this time round? We can only assume that like the rest of us, the cardinals suffer peer pressure, so they have to watch what they are wearing . I was watching a documentary film recently about priests in Rome and they stopped outside a clerical outfitters and like teenage girls, they “oohed” and “aahed” at the gowns in the window (do they call them gowns). We also found out, this week, that cardinals are not the only ones who are sharp when it comes to fashion. A German interloper, dressed as a Cardinal, bluffed his was into the Vatican, but he was twigged by the Vatican Fashion Police, a.k.a the Swiss Guard, when one of them noticed his crucifix was too short and his sash was just a purple scarf. Of the modern cardinals, Cardinal Frances Spellman of New York was, they say, by far the sharpest dresser of them all. He had a sharp tongue too and was a rabid supporter of the anti-Communist Senator Joe McCarthy whose crusading “reds under the beds” inquisition decimated the 50’s Hollywood lefties and their sympathisers. There’s a story about Spellman, which is apocryphal in extremis, but worth the telling. Spellman, alleged to have been homosexual, disliked John Paul XX111 and dismissed him, saying “he should be selling bananas.” Anyway, the story goes that at a conclave in Rome, the pope asked all the cardinals to attend the next day wearing nothing but sackcloth and ashes, as they were going to atone for the sins of the world. The following morning, as time ticked down towards the kick-off, Spellman, conspicuous by his absence, rolled up in a gilded coach drawn by six plumed horses. Two liveried footmen fussed about, letting down the steps for him so he could descend from the coach. Out steps Cardinal Spellman, dressed in his finest raiment, dazzling colours reflecting from his bedizened cloak. Slowly he ascended to where the pope was sitting. JP XX111 proferred his ring for Spellman to kiss. Spellman, his face an impassive mask, knelt down and bent forward to kiss the ring. And as he did so, JPXX111 leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Francis ya bitch.”


About shayhealyblog

Shay Healy is a multi-media artist from Dublin Ireland, who has been in the music business all his life. His song “What’s Another Year”sung by Johnny Logan won the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest. He has written two musicals, The Knowledge and The Wiremen. As a television host, Shay is famous for a cult chat show, Nighthawks and on the other side of the camera, he has made over 12 documentary films, including “The Rocker-A Portrait of Phil Lynott” ,“First Lady”-A Portrait of Tammy Wynette ” and “Roy Rogers-King of The Cowboys. The Danny Boy Triangle (3 Books in 1) is now available to buy on Amazon
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