Papal Designations

Paul McLachlan asks an interesting question: What’s in a name? Specifically, what’s in a pope’s name? It’ll be interesting to see what name the next pope chooses for himself. I’d like him to choose James. I don’t think there’s been a Pope James before.

“What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness'; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. ” – James 2:14-26 RSV

Comments 4

  1. theomorph wrote:

    A few years ago, Dave Letterman did a top ten list on ways the Pope might try to be more hip. Among his possibilities were…

    Calling himself “Pope John Paul George Ringo”

    or

    Calling himself “Notorious P.O.P.E.”

    For the life of me, though, I can’t seem to find that top ten list in Letterman’s archives.

    Posted 06 Apr 2005 at 8:29 pm
  2. EmilyE wrote:

    Hmm, that makes me wonder:
    How does a pope choose his name? There haven’t been any Thomases or Augustines or Jeromes either — and those are good names of doctors of the Church.

    Hmm.

    Posted 05 Apr 2005 at 10:54 pm
  3. Jerry Nora wrote:

    I like the “Notorious P.O.P.E.” idea. Perhaps after a respectable bit of time after John Paul’s death, that’d be a pretty cool Xbox Live nickname.

    Posted 07 Apr 2005 at 12:51 am
  4. Tom Smith wrote:

    There hasn’t been a James before, though that would be a cool name.

    The name that this Pope chooses will be rather fraught with meaning, unless he chooses something that’s a little off the wall and uncommon in the past few centuries. Anyway, if he picks Pius, it will seem to indicate a bit of a move toward more traditional papal roles, as well as more tradition within the liturgy (one need look only to the three Pii of the twentieth century to understand why). A Gregory will be a patron of the arts and music, as well as the Old Mass (Gregory the Great). A Paul will indicate moral strength despite the world (remember Humanae Vitae — Paul VI). John might mean a reformer who wants to put more power into the local bishops’ hands. John Paul III would be a strong endorser of all that John Paul II did, and would most likely continue the tenor of his pontificate. Leo would indicate a strong defender of the Church (both because Leo XIII was so and Leo = Lion). A Martin would seem to be one whose mission and purpose is to heal schism (Martin V was the candidate who unified the Roman and Pisan parties during the fifteenth-century Western Schism).

    Of the Cardinals who have been mentioned as Papal likelies, as far as I know, only Schoenborn in from a religious order (the Dominicans). It seems that the religious priest, particularly if he’s Benedictine, likes to take the name of the founder of his order as his name… So Schoenborn may take Dominic. Then again, he may take Pius, in commemoration of the great Dominican Pope, St. Pius V.

    The only thing that I can really say with any conviction is that the new Holy Father won’t call himself Peter II.

    Posted 05 Apr 2005 at 6:44 pm

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