Choosing the new name of the new pope

I remember a few years ago dreaming that there had been a papal election and the new pope was a very young man who chose the name Clement.

Now, I’m just putting that up there, so that if we get a Clement out of this conclave, ya’ll know I had a dream about it – although I am pretty sure we will not get a ‘very young’ pope.

The bookies have made Benedict XVI the favourite to be the new pope’s chosen name.

Whoever wins (including himself) Cardinal Ratzinger, as dean of the College of Cardinals, will announce the result and ask the winner his chosen name. Also favoured are Clement, Leo and Pius.

The new pope has used a chosen name since John II in 533, who thought his given name of Mercury unsuitable.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Angela

    Do you know if there is a site which lists the names of all of the cardinals and thumbnail biographical sketch of each? Do you know anything about the cardinal from Syria? (not sure if his actual title is cardinal since he is eastern rite)

  • Robert

    Maybe I’m just not getting it. I can understand a new Pope taking the name John or Paul, since those were both names of apostles. I can understand taking the name Clement, since there was an important first century (or perhaps second century) bishop with that name.

    My knowledge of early church history is not what it perhaps could be or should be, bit I don’t remember a Benedict or a Leo playing prominent roles in it. Nor do I recall a recent Pope with one of those names. Just why is Benedict considered a favorite?

    For that matter, why was there ever a Pope who took the name Sixtus? :-)

  • TheAnchoress

    Actually, Pope Leo the Great was pretty hot stuff – anytime I’ve read one of his sermons I’ve come away moved and impressed. And there were a couple of important Benedicts down the line.

    Wish I had more time, to answer it. Must run.

  • Kathie

    The last Leo, that is Leo XIII, in the later 19th century, had a lot to say about social issues, especially in Rerum Novarum, about the relationship between capital and labor. Benedict XV is the most recent pope of that name; he was pope during WWI and kept offering peace proposals (not that anyone listened to him) and trying to help victims of the war.

    I’m sure someone else can add more…

  • Mir

    I say he should call himself Pope Oliver. St. Malachy would approve.