What Name Will the Next Pope Take?

I realize that after my gaffe regarding the date of the start of the Conclave, I’m not exactly the expert on all things papal. (My apologies again to readers, and especially my Roman Catholic friends!) Nevertheless, now that the Conclave has begun, I thought I’d share one or two of the more interesting tidbits that I’ve come across, particularly with regard to the new name the next Pope will choose.

I’ll start with a piece from Father James Martin, SJ, who is one of the leading authorities on American Catholicism. In a tongue-in-cheek piece, Father Martin offers the Cardinals twelve (pretty) good reasons he should be the next pope, including the name he would choose.

As you know, Pope Paul VI’s successor chose the name “John Paul I,” to show his continuity with Pope John XXIII and Paul VI. Everyone was pretty impressed with that. Next you had John Paul II. More continuity. And of course next we had (or have, depending on when you’re reading this) Benedict XVI. If you elect me, and I hope you will, after I say “Accepto” (see I speak a little Latin too) I would choose my name: John Paul Benedict I. That takes care of everyone from John XXIII to Benedict. Continuity plus. Of course saying “JPB1” might take some getting used to but Catholics are pretty flexible, and I’ll bet before long there will be lots of babies baptized John Paul Benedict.

Next, here’s a brief video explaining the tradition of the Pope choosing a new name, followed by a graphic produced by The Economist on the frequency of papal names chosen.



Finally, if you want to weigh in on the Popes new name yourself, you can participate in a poll here.

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