Feb 182013

Jimmy Akin put out an ebook last year without publicity that he wrote on the lark. That ebook concerned a study of papal names and was simpply called “Pope Names” which describes itself as “The Definitive Guide to the History of Papal Naming, Why Popes Choose the Names they Do, and What Name the Next Pope will Choose.” This ebook is rather timely now.

I read it last night and found it a very informative and interesting read. While part of the history of pope names and why popes choose their names I was somewhat familiar with, there were a lot of details I was unaware of. Jimmy’s analytical mind has taken a lot of information and presented it in an accessible way. A book on pope names could sound rather boring, but this is far from that. There are some very interesting repercussions concerning how papal names have been chosen throughout history and how it developed. For example it is mostly in the last millennium where popes choose to go by a regnal name instead of their own name.

The analysis goes into details such as what names have been chosen most and how far a pope will reach back for a papal name. In more recent time we have more explicit information on why a particular pope choose a particular name since they announced their reasoning. Still we can discern plenty of trends and specific reasons why popes choose their names in the past and this book goes through those various reasons.

As for what name the next pope will choose, this book does not intend to narrow that down to just one prediction. He was weighted various names and given his prediction as a percentage of likelihood. I believe most of this analysis makes good sense as for example the pretty-much zero chance of the next pope taking on the name “Innocent”. It will be quite interesting to see how his more heavily weighted selections will turn out.

This book is a quick and enjoyable read and includes several appendices with of course lists of both chronological and alphabetical pope names, along with, for example ,lists of most popular pope names. There is even a list of Antipopes.

Now despite Jimmy’s predictions I am certain the next pope will be Zosimus II. Well maybe not.

Since the requirement for election as a pope is to be a baptized male, during interregnums is is fun for Catholic males to think about what their regnal name would be if selected. If selected I will of course choose Hilarius II and I would be 2 Hilarius.. How could I resist such a pun. Besides the first Pope Hilarius is a saint.

You can get this book from a variety of online stores Kindle/iBooks/Nook via this page.

Pope Names

  13 Responses to “Pope Names”

  1. Personally, I hope that the next Pope picks Pius XIII. Watching the fallout from that would be EPIC.

  2. I have long maintained that the first American pope should be Pope Cletus II. Who wouldn’t want to take the name of someone in the Roman Canon?

  3. Sixtus VI would be a fine choice, as would Lando II for Star Wars fans.

  4. For some reason I keep thinking about a Linus II or Sylvester III, tho the joke-writers would have a field day with the names. Personally I’d like to see a Boniface or Celestine.

  5. […] – J. Heschmeyer Cardinals and Their Doctorates. . . or Not – Fr. Z’s Blog Pope Names – Jeffrey Miller, The Curt Jester On Bringing the Conclave Forward & […]

  6. Ditto Amy Gilgio’s comment.

  7. I think will have Clement XV, given the pope is being elevated during Lent. My second best guess would be Leo XIV… as a kind of “end cap” to Leo XIII’s vision and also a hat-tip to Leo I who protected Rome from the huns since Rome (and the rest of society) needs to turn back our own “huns.” Third choice – Benedict XVII to carry on BXVI work…. my 2 cents

  8. On the broader topic of Papal names — Consider this: Since 1775 (!), there have only been SIX different names taken by the popes of these two centuries plus: Pius, John, Paul, Benedict, Leo and Gregory. And of the sixteen popes in that time, there were only two Leos and one Gregory. So we’ve basically had just four names (with two exceptions) in that time. Check out the list from NewAdvent here.

    I think it’s time for a fresh name. One of the older names that hasn’t been used for a while, or maybe something completely out of the blue.

  9. Hmmm Hilarious II…no laughing matter 🙂

  10. Love to see some of the older names come back! For example and in no particular order: Callistus, Adrian, Gregory, Leo, Clement. I’d be a bit down to see another Pius, John , Paul, or John Paul. Although I wouldn’t mind another Benedict!

    Viva il Papa!

  11. I was hoping for a Pope Pious XIII, until reading today about the troubles in the Curia…now I am going with a Pope Paul xII. We need a new someone that can carry out the mission of Evangelization, while aggressively dealing with errors and sins within the Church.

  12. Yikes, no edit button!!

    Should read…..We need someone new

  13. I personally am hoping for an Innocent XIV, but would be thrilled as well with a Pope Pius XIII.

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