"This old thing? I only wear this when I don't care how I look!"*
An Italian animal rights group is taking the pope to task over his penchant for the snow white fur of the "Armenian rat," from which the name "ermine" derives. Not a rat at all, but a Mustela erminea, more commonly known as the short-tailed weasel, or stoat.
Pope Benedict has earned a reputation as a bit of a fashion plate, donning what are rumored to be red Prada shoes, though the Vatican swears they are custom made by the pope's own cobbler. Pope Benedict seems very fond of red, and it's a good color for him. It makes him appear very lifelike.
The pope illustrates the saying, "If you wait long enough, everything comes back into fashion." Much of what he wears, the red velvet cape and santa hat, for instance, have been languishing in the back of the closet, with the leg warmers and elephant bells, since the 60's. Pope John XXIII was the last to wear red velvet.
Could the pope have been coveting this ensemble since the 60's, hoping and praying to one day be pope, perhaps trying the outfit on when no one else was around?
Isn't she cute?