So now we have further information on why the Pope choose Francis.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said that “as things got dangerous” in the conclave voting, he was sitting next to his “great friend” Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes “who comforted me.”
When the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio went over the 77 votes needed to become pope, he said, Cardinal Hummes “hugged me, kissed me and said, ‘Don’t forget the poor.’”
Pope Francis told thousands of journalists March 16 that he took to heart the words of his friend and chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi, “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation,” the same created world “with which we don’t have such a good relationship.”
“How I would like a church that is poor and that is for the poor,” he told the more than 5,000 media representatives who came from around the world for the conclave and his election. (source)
Thinking again on regnal names I think the use of Francis gives us another unique distinction. St. Francis of Assisi baptismal name was actually Giovanni Bernardone. His name was latter altered to Francesco “Frenchman” either by his father because of his fondness, it would seem, for France or by others for the same reason. Regardless it was not his baptismal name and maybe was more of a nickname. So we have the first regnal name based on a nickname. Well maybe not exactly true since Peter our first Pope was born Simon and became Peter. Although you couldn’t say it was exactly a nickname. When Jesus names you something it becomes almost ontological and name changes in the Bible are always important.
So we have a Pope of Italian parentage from Argentina with the name “Frenchman”. Don’t you just love the universality of the Church?
It is always interesting how origin’s of a pope’s name and specifically how they came about. Mostly, as in this case, in the last moments.
It does make me wonder how many, if any, walk into the Conclave with a regnal name picked out? Probably most that do walk out with their given name.
I thought this piece of information was rather funny and am glad the Pope shared it.
Pope Francis also said some had suggested jokingly that he, a Jesuit, should have taken the name Clement XV “to get even with Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus” in the 1700s.
To get even with Clement XIV, THAT was funny!
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St. Philip Neri’s nickname was “Pippo.” One of my blog commenters asked me about my chances at the conclave. . .I said, “No, no. Despite whatever regnal name I chose, I’d be known in Italy as ‘Papa Pippo.'” I don’t think the dignity of the office could survive a chubby Mississippi boy everyone called Papa Pippo.
Fr. Philip Neri, OP
And there’s a dicho that Argentines are Slavs with Italian last names who speak Spanish (de su manera), live in South America and think they are Europeans, in this case with a “nickname” of Frenchman.
To top it off, Clement XIV was a Franciscan 🙂