Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's in a name? New pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio selects Francis as papal name


textual repost from http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/new_pope_new_name_jorge_mario.html

By Caleb Bell

Once Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the new leader of the Catholic Church, he had a big initial decision to make: what his new papal name would be.

Bergoglio chose Francis as his new name, the first pope to select that moniker.

Choosing a new name is a decision that's tied up in history, tradition and more than a little symbolic value.

In papal tradition, newly elected pontiffs choose a name to identify themselves during their reigns. The tradition has been around for centuries, even though no law or rule requires that a pope pick a new name.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/03/13/what-name-will-the-new-pope-choose-some-clues-in-this-infographic/

Chester Gillis, a professor of theology at Georgetown University, said that the pope's choice of name offers an early indicator of what his papacy might be like.

"The pope's choice will reflect his own personal spirituality, but he knows it will send a political message," Gillis said.
Gillis said the pope's new name could also indicate the theological direction he wants to take during his reign. Popes usually choose names to honor a predecessor or to symbolically link their reigns with that of a past pontiff.
http://www.indecisionforever.com/blog/2013/03/12/march-madness-the-papal-names-tournament

"Whatever name is chosen, there will be spiritual logic to it," said Michele Dillon, a Catholic scholar at the University of New Hampshire. "There's a pattern whereby the pope takes the name of someone who was spiritually significant to that person."

Benedict XVII was an unlikely choice because it could have caused confusion between the current pope and the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI.

There was a chance the new pope could have adopted the name John XXIV due to the Catholic Church's emphasis on "new evangelization." Pope John XXIII is already on the path to sainthood, is known as "Good Pope John" and was a revolutionary figure who convened the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that modernized the church.

Benedict XVI took the name of Benedict XV, who guided the Catholic Church through World War I. "Treading in his footsteps, I would like to place my ministry at the service of reconciliation and harmony between persons and peoples," Benedict XVI said in his first general audience.

Benedict XVI also sought to honor St. Benedict, a major influence in early European Christianity.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II in 1978 to honor his short-lived predecessor John Paul I, who had picked his name from his two immediate predecessors, John XXIII and Paul VI.

Adopting a papal name became common in the 10th century, though there are examples of popes changing their names centuries before.
John II was the first pope to change his name, in 533. His birth name was Mercury, but in order to avoid naming a pagan god the head of the Holy See, he changed it.

The last pope to use his own birth name was Marcellus II in 1555.

One name, however, is off-limits: Peter is considered sacrosanct in honor of the first pope, who tradition holds was also the longest-serving.

Here's a list of the most popular papal names:
1. John (23)
2. Benedict (16)
3. Gregory (16)
4. Clement (14)
5. Leo (13)
6. Innocent (13)
7. Pius (12)
8. Stephen (9, although some debate 10)
9. Boniface (9)
10. Alexander and Urban (tied at 8 each)

The 10 Most Unique Papal Names
1. Telesphorus (c. 125-136 A.D.)
2. Eleutherius (c. 174-189 A.D.)
3. Zephyrinus (198-217 A.D.)
4. Eutychian (275-283 A.D.)
5. Miltiades (311-314 A.D.)
6. Hormisdas (514-523 A.D.)
7. Zosimus (417-418 A.D.)
8. Symmachus (498-514 A.D.)
9. Simplicius (468-483 A.D.)
10. Vigilius (537-555 A.D.)

But, as we know, the New Pope has choosen a name of Francis. Why?



Bob Cartier (Rockville) noticed http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-pope-20130319,0,7848056.story:
I was delighted to read that the new pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals ("Pope Francis' calling," March 15). Both Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day Oct. 4.


On one of his walks through nature, Francis reportedly preached to the birds, and he is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local town folk. He got the wolf to quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded the town's dogs to stop harassing the wolf.

In other stories, Francis freed a rabbit from a trap, returned fish that had been caught to their stream and fed a colony of half-frozen bees one bitter winter.

I hope Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all people of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their slaughter for food. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend would be a good start.

But there is another opinion: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/13/world/pope-name

 Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, the new pope, is breaking historic ground by choosing the name Francis.

It's the first time the name is being used by a pope, said CNN Vatican expert John Allen.
Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, said Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica.

"Cardinal Bergoglio had a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice," Rosica said.
St. Francis, one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, was known for connecting with fellow Christians, Rosica added.

Allen described the name selection as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."
 "There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism," such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis of Assisi seem "irrepeatable -- that there can be only one Francis," he added.

The name symbolizes "poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church," Allen said. "The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual."
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI recounted how St. Francis was born in 1181 or 1182 as the son of a rich Italian cloth merchant, according to the Vatican website.
After "a carefree adolescence and youth," Francis joined the military and was taken prisoner. He was freed after becoming ill, and when he returned to Assisi, Italy, a spiritual conversion began. He abandoned his worldly lifestyle.
In a famous episode, Christ on the Cross came to life three times in the small Church of St. Damian and told him: "Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins," Pope Benedict XVI said, according to the Vatican's website.

"At that moment St. Francis was called to repair the small church, but the ruinous state of the building was a symbol of the dramatic and disquieting situation of the Church herself," Pope Benedict XVI said. "At that time the Church had a superficial faith which did not shape or transform life, a scarcely zealous clergy, and a chilling of love."
Pope Francis succeeds Benedict, who retired.

On some speculations you may read here: http://www.npr.org/2013/03/13/174231265/new-popes-selection-of-francis-name-surprises-some