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Pope Benedict XVI: Names Matter

By Wyatt Earp | January 11, 2011

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI stated that members of the faith should give their children “a Christian name.” Oh noes, the horror!

The pontiff made the remarks after performing a baptism inside the Vatican. As a result, he was thoroughly ripped in the Italian media:

If you’re Catholic and are expecting a baby don’t even think of naming it anything like Crystal, Heather, Track or Chelsea unless you want to upset Pope Benedict. The pope, who baptized 21 children on Sunday at a traditional annual ceremony at the Vatican, said afterward that every new member of the faith acquires the character of a son or daughter of the Church “starting from a Christian name.”

This, he said, was “an unequivocal sign that the Holy Spirit gives a rebirth to people in the womb of the Church.”

Personally, I think the pope is simply asking people to use common sense. How many times do we read about some knucklehead who wants to name their child “Apple,” “Pilot Inspektor,” or something else equally inane? Names matter, and while I am indifferent about the “Christian name,” I believe that parents should use their heads before bestowing a name on a child.


Topics: Coolness! | 28 Comments »

28 Responses to “Pope Benedict XVI: Names Matter”

  1. Ingineer66 Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I agree people should use their brains when picking a name, but a Christian name? A guy that was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger does not have a lot a credibility for telling people how to pick a name.

  2. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Ingineer66 – I think he was limiting that to Catholics, not everyone. And, in fairness, he didn’t name himself.

  3. Ferrell Gummitt Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    The name “Bronx Mougli” always annoyed me. What is that a new breed of Designer dog or something?

  4. Sebastian Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    If you’re an average secular Italian, the big problem with the pope, you see, is that he’s just so damned Catholic! He really needs to stop that and get with the politically correct program.

  5. Ferrell Gummitt Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    PS: IMHO Hollywood Stars who breed should outsource the naming of their future humiliated child to something like a “Sensible Baby Naming Mothers” type of company.

    Either that or just go ahead and sterilize the lunatic, lefty Hollywood narcisstic idiots.

  6. Sally Anne Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    A name is just a word. That which we call a rose…

    And speaking of that, I see nothing worse about the name “Apple” than any other plant-related name (Rose or Violet anyone?). Unless the kid’s middle name is “iPhone”, in which case that’s just lame. *snort*

    I knew a girl who named her daughter Boy. O_O

  7. JCM Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    What’s the matter with Moon Unit?

  8. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Any idea what the Pope’s stance is on naming your kids after the characters in “South Park”?

  9. RT Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Dag, and I wanted to name my first-born son Thor.

  10. Robert B. Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Several years ago, I met a woman who was somewhat (justifiably so) embarassed of her middle name: Saphyllis.

    Think about it…

  11. Kim Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    So I guess that means any future son I have can’t be named Wyatt Earp Hoppes. Darn. My hopes and dreams have been crushed.

  12. Dusrtvet Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Ummmm, Moon Unit Zappa!!!!!

  13. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Ferrell – I thought it was a contagious disease.

    Sebastian – I mean, just embrace the ancient Roman gods of fire and such!

    Sally Anne – Boy? Way to ruin the girl’s life!

    JCM – “That’s not a moon, it’s a space station!”

    Mrs. Crankipants – Only two of my kids are named after them, thankewverymuch!

    RT – Bring the hammer!

    Robert B. – I hope that’s a joke.

    Kim – As they should be. It’s an honor to be named after my blog pseudonym!

    Dusrtvet – Frank was so boring, he needed to spice things up for his kids.

  14. Veeshir Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I thought that was fairly well known and pretty standard. I’m surprised anybody’s actually making a deal over it.

    As to making fun of “Joseph Aloisios..”, Joseph is a good Catholic name.

  15. Sebastian Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    “Moon Unit Zappa!!!!!”

    Don’t diss Moon Unit! She was totality hot in National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

  16. Robert B. Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Robert B. – I hope that’s a joke.

    Nope. That was her name.

  17. BlackOrchid Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I always knew this was “the rule,” and I think all Catholics should be aware of this, but of course I had to be weird with it too.

    I had a name in mind for my daughter that, while Biblical!, is not what anyone would construe as a good Christian name.

    Thus far, none of the good Sisters at my daughter’s Catholic school have caught on to the actual nature of her name. Someday the nuns will Google it, and I’ll get an earful.

    We call her Lili, tho.

  18. dragonlady474 Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    He’s just bitter because no one named him Popeneequa. heh
    Besides, if that were the case we wouldn’t have such fine names as Dick Trickle and Mike Hunt.

  19. Randal Graves Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I defy you to come up with a better name than Seven; except maybe Soda.

  20. ed Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I agree people should use their brains when picking a name, but a Christian name? A guy that was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger does not have a lot a credibility for telling people how to pick a name.

    Joseph is a fine biblical name.

    About the media freaking out about this. First of all, yes, it is a bit of a rebuke to people who name their kids “Apple”.

    However, (and this only refers to American media) the African American community has moved quite aways away from the traditional Christian naming conventions. Even though the article didn’t actually mention this, I suspect that this is consciously or subconsiously rattleing arround in the collective media “hive mind”.

    I can’t really compose any sort of well thought out thought in a two inch by one inch comment box, but I’m serious about this.

    This is seen by many as a shot across the “diversity” bow, and that will always be opposed.

    For what it’s worth (about two cents), I would not accept naming my kids anything but a biblical name.

    And to be honest, I don’t approve of others doing it either.* Yeah, free country and all of that. And part of that freedom includes my being free not to approve of other peoples choices.

    I’m not trying to piss on anyones parade or name here. But that’s just the honest fact of my views.

    *Obviously, a Jewish kid isn’t going to get named Jesus or Christian.

  21. Lucky Forward Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 12:45 am


    You are so on the money! When parents give their kids ridiculous names, they are sending a signal that the child is not really important, or at least, that the child has no connection to a greater culture, or to God.

    It’s no surprise that these made-up names have proliferated as made-up “ethics” have encroached on traditional religious practice.

    I have met young adults with these stupid names and many of them are embarrassed as they attempt to spell/explain them.

    It’s about the time a world leader of stature has addressed this topic, and as a Catholic, I’m thrilled it’s the Pope.

  22. Picky Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 2:04 am

    How about “L-a”? How is it pronounced? “Luh-DASH-uh.” That happened.

  23. Lou Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 7:17 am

    That settles it. I’m changing my name to Biggus Dickus

  24. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Veehsir – Correct on both counts. They used to want you to name the child after a saint, but relaxed that eventually.

    Sebastian – She was indeed. Great film.

    Robert B. – God help us.

    Orchid – Now I’m going to have to research this . . .

    DL474 – Every time someone in my squad asks which detective is handling a case, I respond, “Dick Trickle.” Hand to God.

    Randal – We should have named Julia Seven.

    Ed – I remember when I posted about Julia being born. A lot of commenters commended me for giving her a “normal” name. We didn’t stray off the beaten path – (Kyle, Erik, Kevin, Julia) – unless people have an issue with the “k” in Erik.

    LF – I still think hospital staff should get veto power when they are given a name by the parents. When a parent wants to name their child “Lexus,” someone needs to step in.

    Picky – Oh for cripes’ sake!

    Lou – Well played.

  25. kaveman Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Funniest name I ever came across was pronounced shy-theed…

    But spelled shithead.

  26. Ingineer66 Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Picky, my daughter had a customer with the L-dash-A name. The daughter saw it written down and asked her what L-hyphen-A meant. The girl said “Oh I get that all the time.” No kidding, really.

    I know both Joseph and Aloisius are Christian names and he didn’t pick them. I guess the story just rubbed me the wrong way.

  27. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Kaveman – God, I hope you’re joking.

    Ingineer66 – La-A is the most ridiculous name I have ever heard.

  28. Bitter American Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Wyatt, I agree about the whole “Apple” and other Hollyweird names being the truer reason behind His Holiness’ statement. What about the guy who named his kid “ESPN?” Or the urban legend about the girl named “fee-mal-ay (spelled F-E-M-A-L-E)?”

    I went through something like that with my adopted Korean niece. Her given name was Mie-Yun AND SHE WAS ALREADY OLD ENOUGH TO TALK AND RECOGNIZE HER NAME. My brother and sister-in-law decided it was easier to Anglicise it to “Mia” than go through the process of having to learn a new name, like “Toad the Wet Sprocket.” Oh, the horrors that ensued from yonder Basilica on the Ben Franklin Parkway!

    What’s funny is Biblical names like “Peter” are just derived from the Latin word for “rock” or Luke, from the Greek word “Leuko” meaning “white.”

    And now, a reading from the Gospel according to “White??”