Habemus Papam! And His Name is….
Soon the Princes of the Church will cast ballots to determine our next Holy Father. Once the newest successor of Peter is known, the chosen one will announce his pontifical name. Just in case the new pope was wondering, I have a few names to suggest.
Since the election will take place in the days of Lent before Holy Week and the Great Easter Season, I think Paschal III would be a good choice. The name hasn’t been used since 1118, and that was by the 160th pope. Pascal’s time has come!
My second suggestion is Sixtus VI. That just sounds good, but it also might help us to remember exactly how many popes there have been. Our new pope will be the 266th pope, so we could refer to him as Pope Two-Hundred Sixty-Sixtus the Sixth.
If the pope wants to use a new name, I suggest Pope Joseph since he will be elected in March when we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph and because Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church and the head of the Holy Family. Joseph could also be chosen in honor of his immediate predecessor, who before 2005 was Josef Ratzinger.
I have two other names to suggest. My Colorado siblings were all here on the First Sunday of Lent and two nephews and a niece, and we took out the list of popes. We each called out a number between 1 and 265 and matched the number to the pope’s name to see if we might land on the name that our new pope will choose. We did a second round to improve our odds. And if one of us did select the right name, there will be a prize awarded on Easter Sunday. My numbers matched Sergius and Sylvester, so I’m rooting for those names, too.
My brother Dave who did his choosing via e-mail since he lives in Reno is convinced that the next Holy Father will be called Constantine Formosus since those are the names that matched his #’s. If that is the next pope’s name, Dave deserves a double of whatever the prize is.
It is interesting that the only Apostle names ever used are Peter, chosen by Our Lord as Simon’s new name, and John which has proved to be the name chosen most often by popes – 23 times – the only name to reach the realm of XXing. There have been three “Z” names used but only one “R” name.
Six letters have never begun a pope’s name. So if the next pontiff wants to be really untraditional (in name choosing only) he might be called Kristopher, Oscar, Quincy, Wenceslaus, Xavier or Yule.
So as our Pope Benedict XVI moves from the labors of leading us to a life dedicated to praying for us, we will look forward to welcoming our new pope, Pope Agapitus III, Pope Zosimus II or something in between those, like Pope Constantine Formosus I.
Jezu, ufam Tobie.