The Italian Almanac

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Benedict XVI

The Unfurred Pope

Animal activists protested in front of the Gammarelli tailoring shop, creators of the popes' wardrobe, in Rome on Friday asking that the next pontiff's garb be fur-free. The group of demonstrators chained themselves to the shop's entrance and carried signs reading "We pray, pope, that you not wear suffering" and "No to clothing with dead animals". Seamstresses, however, shouted out during protests that no fur was being used in their work.

Papal ensembles are generally made of wool with special styling features, including ermine trim and kangaroo-leather shoes. "Not only is the suffering of animals upsetting, it is the (pope's) ostentation. The red kangaroo shoes, robes and headdress with ermine trim are a slap in the face of poverty suffered by most of the world," Walter Corporale, president of the association Animalisti Italiani.

"We would like to see a humble papacy that respects the environment, animals and others," Corporale said.