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The Choosing of Papal Names

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posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:14 PM
Just got a little interested in the subject of how and why the Pope changes his name when he is pontificated.

Apparently, it is not a part of Catholic ritual as much as it is simply tradition. I did a quick Google search and found that the first Pope to change his name was originally christened 'Mercurius', named after a former pagan God. It was decided that was not good for church business, and he changed his name to John II.

A curious sidenote, Mormon doctrine does include a temple ritual in which worthy candidates have revealed to them their 'heavenly name' as given by God. They are never allowed to tell anyone what their name is, of course.

Just thought I'd drop that line in case anyone was wondering.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:23 PM
When one becomes a monk/nun, they get a new name (at least in the Christian Orthodoxy), so it's nothing quite new.

Maybe with passage of time, the Popes will become more imaginative with their names. I can't wait till we see "Enforcer III", "Kristian XXX", or "G-Pope".

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:27 PM
How about 'Pope-Nasty XIII'. That would be a good one.

I just think it's interesting how since one pope had a Christian name taken from a Greek god, and had to change it, all but one pope since has chosen a new name.

Seems all-mighty egotistical to me.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:35 PM
'enforcer' isn't so far off. The tradition is that they can choose names that reflect character, thus we have Pope Innocent and Pope Pius. I think that they also say the support of chaning the names starts with peter. Originally named cf Simon, then changed to Peter, Petrus, the rock, etc. One pope was named Xystus, or some such, so his latinized papal name was Sixtus. So it can be a characteristic, a former pope, or a latinization of ones name.

But yes, its tradition, not a requirement, and there are no official rules. So "BIG POPPA" could be one!

Heck, the office itself is just a corruption of the word for 'dad'. 'Il poppa" was the big father, or whathaveyou.

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