POLL: What name will (not should) the next Pope choose?

Please vote daily!

One of the more entertaining aspects of a papal election is speculation not only about whom the Cardinal Electors will choose, but what the new Pope’s name will be.

Entertaining, yes, but there is a serious side to it. John Paul I – the Pope people forget to remember – chose his name to honor his two predecessors. John Paul II to honor his three predecessors and to take up that baton that was so quickly dropped. Benedict XVI’s choice hearkens to Holy Church’s liturgical prayer and an era when Western Civilization was tottering.

The next Pope might select a name that is meaningful.

For example, imagine a man chosen as Vicar of Christ looking around the world and wondering, with Christ, whether there will still be any faith in the world when Christ returns. Such a man, taking up Benedict’s vision for a Year of Faith, in the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council might pick the name “Paul VII” after the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Another man might want to send a message to the Jesuits and take “Clement XV”. Perhaps he will be deeply interesting in the Church’s “social teaching” and therefore choose “Leo XIV”. It may be that there is some period in the Church’s history which he sees as relevant for today and will pick the name of a Pope such as “Sylvester” to underscore religious freedom in the centenary of the Edict of Milan.

Perhaps he will choose his own baptismal name?

Perhaps he will surprise us with something new?

Here is a poll for you. You can make ONE choices.  (I tried to get it to work with more choices… no joy.)

I suspect that Pope Lando II isn’t going to be on the top of many lists, so I axed his name along with Miltiades, Hormisdas, Conon, Deusdedit, Hiliarius – for obvious reasons – and a few others. Five choices should help us winnow out less likely candidates.

Along the way I may start axing some names that don’t garner votes. Right now the poll is set to expire at 8 pm Rome time on 28 February, at which point we could continue with a second phase with just the top candidates. Haven’t decided how to do that yet.

So, pick ONE and give reasons in the combox. You don’t have to be registered to vote, but you must be to comment.

NB: When you vote you might get a message that the votes can’t be tabulated.  You might need to refresh.    I sure hope this doesn’t kill my server or db!

What name will the next Pope choose?

  • Pius XIII (24%, 1,201 Votes)
  • ???? the First (14%, 694 Votes)
  • Gregory XVII (11%, 552 Votes)
  • Benedict XVII (8%, 422 Votes)
  • Paul VII (8%, 403 Votes)
  • John Paul III (5%, 272 Votes)
  • John XXIV (5%, 232 Votes)
  • Clement XV (4%, 184 Votes)
  • Stephen XI (3%, 176 Votes)
  • Urban IX (2%, 102 Votes)
  • Nicholas VI (2%, 89 Votes)
  • Innocent XIV (2%, 88 Votes)
  • Boniface IX (2%, 86 Votes)
  • Sixtus VI (2%, 78 Votes)
  • Paschal III (1%, 60 Votes)
  • Martin VI (1%, 59 Votes)
  • Alexander IX (1%, 55 Votes)
  • Adrian VII (1%, 35 Votes)
  • Eugene V (1%, 32 Votes)
  • Theodore III (1%, 32 Votes)
  • Anastasius V (1%, 32 Votes)
  • Victor IV (1%, 29 Votes)
  • Julius IV (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Sylvester IV (0%, 25 Votes)
  • Marcellus III (0%, 22 Votes)
  • Lucius IV (0%, 19 Votes)
  • Sergius V (0%, 17 Votes)
  • Callistus IV (0%, 16 Votes)
  • Honorius V (0%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,051

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  1. mibethda says:

    Did you forget to include Peter in the list?

  2. Tradster says:

    As I have posted once or twice previously, I pray for Francis I as a sign of commitment to what Our Lord said to St Francis of Assisi, “Rebuild my Church which has fallen into ruin.’

  3. pfhawkins says:

    I have long maintained that the first American pope (which I doubt the next pope will be) ought to take the name Pope Cletus II.

  4. Timothy Mulligan says:

    I voted for “???? the First.”

    I read some speculation that the new pope might call himself Joseph I. I think that would be a wonderful choice. It would honor Pope Benedict by taking his baptismal name. It would also invoke the protection of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church. The new pope needs to be a strong father and “a just man.”

  5. Gustave Dedronez says:

    I honestly just have an intuition that the next Pope will be a Gregory. It would be cool to have a Boniface though…

  6. NBW says:

    Gregory seems to jump out at me too. If it’s Peter…..

  7. mamajen says:

    I chose ???? the First. I think it would be interesting to see something new, though I do think using his own given name would come across as too narcissistic (then again, I suppose some would argue that being a “first” at all is also attention-grabbing). There are so many wonderful saints to choose from!

  8. Dr. K says:

    It’s going to be Peter the Roman or Gregory.

  9. mamajen says:


    I like that idea a lot!

  10. jdskyles says:

    I kind of like Pope Lando II… Yes, I am a nerd.

  11. Marius2k4 says:

    This is so incredibly hard for me.

    I chose Pius XIII, as I want Cardinal Burke to be elected with everything in me, and I think he would make an outstanding successor to the Pii. We need someone to be a bulwark against modernism, and to “instaurare omnia in Christo”, as it were. We need a holy Pope who will overcome the liberals and restore the liturgy.

    My runners-up would be essentially a list of the namesakes of my favorite popes.
    * Innocent III was heavy-handed and attained the historical height of ultramontane Papal authority, by his use of interdict to cause uprisings until various princes relented to his Papal will. I’d love a Pope to come in and re-establish Papal supremacy over the mundane sphere.
    * Boniface VIII unabashedly promulgated “Unam Sanctam”, which decreed “therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff.” It’s time we reconquer the faith from the protestants and all temporal powers that it may be whole again for Christ’s return.
    * Urban II called the first Crusade. I think it is fairly self-explanatory as to how this relates to our current times.

    Methinks one can tell a lot about how I play chess from my preference for Popes. (Hint: I bring my Queen and Rooks out early, and the King is definitely a potential offensive piece.) None of that closed-game knight-h0pping or bureaucratic bishop-finagling for me, thank you. Artillery with a side of bourbon. The victory will be Pyrrhic, but you will be decimated. Finesse isn’t my strong suit. :P

    Blessed Pope Pius IX, pray for us, that error might be crushed from the Church and the modern world.
    St. Pope Pius X, pray for us, that the liberals and the modernists might be crushed and driven from the temples of God and from society, and that a love of the Holy Eucharist might pervade every member of the Body of Christ.
    Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us, that we might be led by mystically holy men, strong in faith and fearless amongst the gentiles.
    St. Pope Pius V, pray for us, that our liturgy might be restored, and that the holy missal you promulgated might be restored as the normative form of the Roman liturgy, in all places upon the earth.
    St. Padre Pio, pray for us, that we might all attain holiness, and come to better know Christ.

  12. Tom in NY says:

    Leo XIV deest?

    Salutationes omnibus.

  13. Matt R says:

    Pius XIII makes the most sense to me. Bl Pius IX issued the Syllabus of Errors, and called Vatican I, which in many ways is unfinished, as it was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and the attack on the Papal States. The war also served as a prelude to the horrors of World War I, the end and consequences of which Our Lady spoke of at Fatima; the quasi-pagan, secular nationalism and greed which caused the war, and the Marxism following the war were condemned by Pius, who would have been saddened at the course Europe took. Also, it is rightly called the Great War, and it set the 20th century on a collision course with the Church through the massive loss of life (modern arms industry was created), the political results, and the cultural shift it unleashed.
    St Pius X focused on Modernism, which has infected the world very thoroughly. However, I remember him more for his role in the Liturgical Movement. He encouraged more frequent Communion, actual participation, and properly began simple reforms (not perfect to be sure). St Pius also assisted in the recovery of the chant tradition.
    Venerable Pius XII engaged with the vicious unleashing of the two greatest systematic evils in history: Nazism/Fascism, and Communism. Pius also reached out to the people of the world, in an appropriate manner, in an attempt to show the world that it needed to catch the Church and not vice-versa.

  14. Gustave Dedronez says:

    All I can say for certain is that another Pius will make my Pope Pius Clock worthless. NO PIUS

  15. I voted for Marcellus III; the last Marcellus was the last pope to be martyred.

    I don’t see Benedict, since Benedict the last will still be around. It’ll be so confusing.

  16. I say Benedict XVII, to send the message that the work of Benedict XVI will be carried on. But my second choice is Pius XIII. Because when a Pope is named “Pius,” playtime is over.

  17. MarkJ says:

    I chose Pius XIII because of the obvious tie-in to tradition with Pope St. Pius X, but also because this is the year 2013, and because Pope Benedict laid his Pallium on the tomb of Pope St. Celestine V, who was canonized in 1313, and because with a name like Pius, I think 13 would be a very unlucky number for the liberals :-)

  18. Tim Ferguson says:

    Fr. Martin, I think you mean that Pope Marcellus I was the last pope to be martyred. I don’t think Pope Marcellus II was martyred – he suffered a stroke and died. He did inspire some wonderful music, however, thanks to Palestrina…

  19. capebretoner says:

    I picked Stephen XI, thinking along the lines of a martyr (St. Stephen) and not really knowing anything about Stephen X. After just reading about the last Pope Stephen, there seems to be some similarities between his days and what we see now. This was a fun exercise!

  20. Son of Trypho says:

    Sincerely doubt Pius – they will not want the association with the (perceived) authoritarianism of Pius XII and pre-Vat II Church etc.

    A non-Italian European might be sentimental and choose something like Adrian or John Paul.

    Benedict is unlikely – especially while the previous one is still around. Might lead to someone choosing Celestine if they want to tweak his nose.

    Strong chance of a Paul if a non-European.

    Gregory is relatively inoffensive, but hopefully wont take as many ballots to elect… strange that he wasn’t a bishop when elected though (could happen again!)

    Tremble if a John is chosen…

  21. Of course I wish for Pius (seems to have a good track record), but unless it is an ultra-conservative (a Burke-type), we won’t see it – too much baggage with the way Pius XII’s name has been unfairly dragged through the mud in recent years. Why would you pick a name that is only going to cause an unnecessary distraction?

    Personally, I suspect it will be John XXIV. It has been 50 years since Vatican II, and this will be a pope who wants to breathe new life into the Church, much like John XXIII also wanted, and correctly finish the reforms John XXIII desired.

  22. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Glad to see that my first choice is doing very well and there are some votes for my second choice. On another blog I jokingly suggested Sixtus VI and Lando II, but I do have other more earnest preferences.

    If it’s to be a novel name, Francis is a great suggestion – particularly if the new pope is some sort of Franciscan.

  23. vox borealis says:

    I don’t know…I suspect we are still in the long shadow of JP II, and the next pope will choose JP III. Things will loosen up after that. Anyway, that’s my gut feeling.

  24. mgalexander says:

    My sense is that the his name will be either John XXIV or Paul VII. For better or for worse, Vatican II is still the dominant theme in the life of today’s Church, at least for the generations of clerics to which the cardinal electors belong. Pius sounds very “trad” nowadays and is a likely choice for only a few candidates. Of the older names, Gregory and Leo seem the most promising, depending on whether the new pope is more focused on liturgical or social questions. The Age of Innocents is probably behind us. I agree with others here that Benedict is unlikely, given that Benedict XVI still lives. And John Paul II still casts too long a shadow over the contemporary Church for a new pope to take his name yet. The next pope will not take the regnal name Peter.

  25. Tim:

    You say Marcellus, I say Marsallus…

    You’re right; Marcellus Primus was the the martyr.

  26. Prof. Basto says:

    What about Linus II? By the way, St. Linus, the first successor of St. Peter, MUST get back into the universal Roman calendar. Anyways, my preference is for a Pius XIII, and that was my vote. Pius Pp. XIII, born Albert Malcolm Ranjith. [I made the call to remove Linus from the list. I also removed Sisinnius and, a favorite of mine, Agapetus.]

  27. Youngcatholicstl:

    I think picking Pius XIII would create problems the new pontiff probably doesn’t want. Declaring war on the Council is probably not a smart move; interpreting it in light of tradition makes more sense. But picking Pius would assist those who argue his aim is the former, even when it’s the latter.

    Picking John XXIV, and continuing the hermeneutic of continuity, would be amusing, but still probably a distraction.

    Gregory sounds good; heck, how about Martin?

  28. FranzJosf says:

    I wanted to choose Leo (as in “absolutely null and utterly void”), but that wasn’t an option.

    Seriously though, I wonder how the College of Cardinals views the current pontificate at this moment. Do they applaud his efforts to begin the cleaning of the Augean stables? Do they find his liturgical sensibilities quaint or eccentric? Do they admire his teaching ability? Do they, like John Allen, think that he had PR many blunders, or do they think most of said “blunders” were in reality to be expected when encountering the current Western press? (Blessed are you when men revile you…..for my sake”) I guess that when the name of the new pope is revealed we’ll begin to have some sense of all of this.

  29. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    The importance of the Passover/Paschal Mystery in recent theology — the result of the Patristic revival and the renewed importance of Scripture for Catholics (the Paschal Mystery is the central in the writing of Sts. Peter and Paul in the NT) — and the liturgical renewal of the Easter Vigil as the most important liturgical event of the year, prompts me to vote for “Paschal III”. I have always called myself and “Easter Vigil Catholic”. Pope St. Paschal I did much for the beauty of Roman mosaics and supported the iconodules fleeing the iconoclasts in the East, and Pope Paschal II stood firm against lay investiture. Let them have a worthy successor!

  30. Zephyrinus1 says:

    It’s got to be Zephyrinus II, surely ?

  31. Dr Guinness says:

    Pope Hilarius II would be hilarious!

  32. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Another reason for Paschal III: The iconoclasts of today are the Liberals. Let’s have an iconodule.

  33. Geoffrey says:

    I chose “Benedict XVII”. I think it would be a wonderful way to honour Pope Benedict XVI, and to signal his own state mission… to basically continue the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II and properly and authentically interpret the Second Vatican Council.

    I don’t foresee a John Paul III, for almost the same reason that no one chooses to be called after St Peter. The shoes are just too big to fill!

  34. Traductora says:

    Well, that was fun! I picked “none of the above,” but I would sort of like a Pope Francis. I don’t want a Franciscan as pope, btw; so far as I know, there’s only one, and that’s Cdl O’Malley, whom I certainly don’t want. But Francis did receive the commission to rebuild the Church, the Franciscans did enormous missionary work, much more effective than virtually any other order (including the 16th-18th century Florida missions and the 18-19th century California missions), and were also very involved in the arts and in popular devotions, which I think need to be revived. So I’d like a Francis, but not necessarily a Franciscan!

  35. Do we get a prize for guessing right?

  36. Thomas S says:

    Funny, all this talk of Pope Francis I in light of the latest buzz. John Allen says the hot topic in Rome right now is Sean Patrick of Boston.

  37. I would like to see Pius X.2

  38. Legisperitus says:

    It won’t (or shouldn’t) be anything “The First” unless he chooses a double name. John Paul I only appended the ordinal number to make clear that he was neither John XXIV nor Paul VII.

  39. IgorFeitosa says:

    I am praying for a great pope like Leon or Gregory.

  40. sw85 says:

    Pope Francis sounds wonderful, for the reason mentioned at the beginning of this thread. Pray for Pope Francis! But Leo or Pius would be nice. Expect, instead, a John or Paul; not John Paul, whose rockstar legacy is still too strong.

  41. oldcanon2257 says:

    Too bad these days we don’t have any Dominican cardinal of St. Pius V’s caliber around. Otherwise it would be interesting to see the Jesuits shaking in their boots if the next pope happened to be Clement XV, O.P. :)

    While I’m fond of Dominicans of old, please, Lord, please do not let them elect Christoph Cardinal Schönborn.

    Perhaps Raymond Cardinal Burke could be Leo XIV (since his middle name is Leo, and his apostolic succession/episcopal lineage is from Leo XII).

    Any chance the Holy Father would say Mass in the Extraordinary Form before February 28?

  42. CharlesG says:

    How about Linus or Cletus? — they’re in the Canon! Or something exotic like Soter or Hormisdas…

  43. fvhale says:

    For fun, yes?
    I voted for Sixtus VI (and Sixtus V was a Franciscan).

    How much fun the headlines would be?

    “Sixtus Sextus axed us!” Cry Nuns on the Bus

    “Sixtus Sextus sacked us!” said Priests Supporting Women’s Ordination.

    “Sixtus Sextus saved us!” proclaimed lovers of liturgical reverence.

    The possibilities are endless.

    And, of course, befuddled apocalyptics will go apoplectic as they conflate Sixtus and Sextus and to reveal “666” the sign of the beast!

  44. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    I actually like the name Miltiades II a lot. It sounds no-nonsense and tough (due no doubt to sounding like ‘militant’). St Miltiades was also one of three African Popes, so it would be a good choice if one of the African cardinals were elected, as would be Gelasius III or Victor V (and yes, I know the Roman Province of Africa was north Africa, not sub-Saharan).

    I voted for Paschal III because of the time of year, though Anastasius V would also be good as ?????????? is the masculine form of ?????????, which means ‘resurrection’ in Greek.

  45. Voted for Pius XIII for return of Sense of the Sacred to Holy Mass and because Leo XIV is not listed. I would prefer Leo XIV for just as dire need for return of traditional roles in marriage.
    Linus II for veiling of women.

  46. O. Possum says:

    Marius2k4, how can I subscribe to your newsletter? :P

    I chose Pius, because, well, PIUS!

  47. Kerry says:

    Father, how about Pope Chesty I? Or Pope Puller I [OORAH!]

  48. Charivari Rob says:

    I voted ????

    In earlier conversations, I had been leaning towards Mark, Joseph, or Martin – all personal patrons. Nothing really rang with conviction for me, though.

    I had a small burst of realization reading the responses, actually when I saw Anita Moore’s heading. It reminded me of a priest of whom I was quite fond, one who was unafraid to call things as he saw them – which is a quality that would also be useful in a Pope. His name was James, and he was an OP.

    So, I think James or Dominic.

    Failing that, I’d say Cyprian.

  49. Shamrock says:

    I checked ????? thinking Pope Leo XIV hoping he would bring back the Leonine prayers at the end of mass. It was when those were universally dropped it seemed that evil escalated within the church and world. Even if the new pope is not a Leo, hopefully this will happen.

  50. charismatictrad says:

    I voted for Paul VII. Paul, first of all, is the Apostle to the Gentiles: fitting because in today’s day in age, we need to reevangelize the world (a running theme for both JPII and BXVI). Secondly, Pope Paul III called the Council of Trent to refute the heresy of Protestantism (a mode of thinking that the world has adopted towards the Church) and resulted in stricter rubrics for the Mass (hence, TRIDENTINE Mass). And, to tie it all together in a somewhat ironic fashion, Pope Paul VI is usually connected with Vatican II, which needs clarification both because it is ammo for Protestant-thinking “Catholics” and because it birthed the very unrestricted liturgy we know today.

  51. hmmm, how about a Pope Damasus II? or Pope Nicholas VI?..

  52. Jenice says:

    I picked Gregory, hoping that the next pope will love gregorian chant, and will go out to meet the barbarians and convert them. I would have picked Leo, but it wasn’t there. I love Leo XIII, and if my first choice for pope–Raymond Cardinal Burke–is elected, his middle name is Leo.

    There are many great comments on this question.

  53. thoscole says:

    I went with Gregory XVII, as the pontiffs that carried that name seem to have great significance considering what the Church faces today: St. Gregory I “the Great,” restorer of the liturgy and sacred music in the midst of the wreckage of post-Empire western Europe; St. Gregory VII, reformer of morals within the Church, and defender of her rights in the face of government overreach; Gregory XIII, who gave us our Gregorian calendar (as we need to reconcile the liturgical calendars of the West); and Gregory XVI, who vociferously resisted the errors of the modern world. In sum, a Gregory seems to be just what the Church needs!

  54. Imrahil says:

    I think the Pope will follow the example of our present Holy Father gloriously reigning, and pick a Pope from recent but not so recent past. He will pick a name that signifies tradition (as “Benedict” also did). He will pick a name all can agree on; and all can, at least, agree on Rerum Novarum.

    I think he will call himself Leo XIV.

    If the former surname of the Pope should be Burke, we will have the extraordinary event that a Pope takes his own (middle) name for papal name.

  55. jfk03 says:

    When Sviatoslav (patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) is elected pope, it is my prediction that he will take the name Volodymyr I. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  56. vox borealis says:

    The problem with Leo XIV is that the name has been used for at least one fictionalized hollywood movie pope—http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091895/

  57. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I would have voted Leo XIV, so I voted Stephen XI.

  58. DetJohn says:

    Cardinal Canizares Llovera as Benedict Joseph.

  59. disco says:

    I voted Pius XIII. I think a Benedictine creation will be elected and I think that he would choose to honor the popes Pii of relatively recent and oft blessed memory.

  60. Pius XIII got the most votes. Imagine my shock.

    My choice was Gregory, simply because I foresee the “new liturgical movement” going into overdrive. At least it came in second so far. Seeing the name Benedict come in third is, frankly, a disappointment. There will be a retired Bishop of Rome still with us (Deo volente) for awhile, perhaps retaining that name. Did anyone even think about that?

    Nah, didn’t think so. [What’s with the bile? So, you made your case with “Gregory”. Let’s see if others are convinced.]

  61. “The problem with Leo XIV is that the name has been used for at least one fictionalized hollywood movie pope …”

    Pius XIII is also the name of the dying pope in “Shoes of the Fisherman” (which you’d know if you got a close look at the ring and put a mirror up to the screen before they smash it), as well as the name of at least one antipope (still?) living in Montana.

    And there’s more, in at least one work of fiction which I have read in the last few years.

  62. Catholictothecore says:

    I voted Gregory XVII. Back in 2005 when the conclave was going on, I knew it in my bones the new Pope would choose the name Benedict XVI….and I was right. I’m going for a 2 out of 2 with Gregory XVII.

  63. Lori Pieper says:

    Of the names given, I chose Gregory, because, well, Gregory the Great just rocks! I just don’t see anyone choosing John Paul III. Who could follow him?

    I love Francis as well, as a sign of Church-building and of commitment to poverty and the poor. Not to mention devotion to the Eucharist and love for priests. There are at least two Franciscan cardinals, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, and Cardinal Hummes of Brazil, but a cardinal doesn’t need to be Franciscan to choose that name. You may remember that I am a Secular Franciscan, so a Pope choosing this name would put me in seventh heaven.

    Odd that there has never been a Pope Michael (other than that goofball who basically elected himself). But I think using the name of the archangel most powerful in war against Satan would be a powerful symbol. That would send a signal for sure.

  64. “bile:
    “1. A bitter, alkaline, brownish-yellow or greenish-yellow fluid that is secreted by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and discharged into the duodenum and aids in the emulsification, digestion, and absorption of fats. Also called gall.
    “2. Bitterness of temper; ill humor; irascibility.
    “3. Either of two bodily humors, black bile or yellow bile, in ancient and medieval physiology.”

    You got me there, Padre. I am indeed irascible. Duly noted.

  65. Lori Pieper says:

    Oops, meant to add: in our times, we need that.

  66. MKR says:

    I’m guessing “Pius X Strict Observance.”

  67. PA mom says:

    Pope Thomas? I was thinking of Aquinas, and how we could use so much more of that thoughtful, logical, certain knowledge and the ability to convey it within the modern world. Also signaling that it is time that universities were searching for Good and conveyed a thirst for Truth again.

  68. btb says:

    Alexander IX: (1) a sign of and supplication for God’s active role in his pontificate: the number 9 being the number of God, whose grace the Holy Father implicity pleads for with his choice of this name; (2) a sign of contradiction: Pope Alexander IX (9=God) being a cynosure of moral virtue as opposed to the libertinism of Alexander VI (6=Satan/the world), and indicating his implacable opposition to the homomafia within the Church and the moral turpitude of the world; (3) a sign indicating he will act decisively in the face of opposition: as “Alexander” the Holy Father will not simply be theoretically opposed to the smoke of Satan that has infiltrated the Church but will marshall the forces of Christ in the Church Militant and Triumphant to rout the heretical forces within the Church and initiate the moral re-conquest of the world, redolent to and yet opposite of the military conquest of the known world effected by the worlding, Alexander the Great.

  69. contrarian says:

    I chose Pius XIII–
    but at this point in my confusion and frustration regarding these things, it’s difficult for me to separate what I hope will happen from what I think really will come to pass. At the moment, what I hope to be true is actually the same as my dispassionate and ‘objective’ prediction as well. Though perhaps I’m living in la la land.

    As Miss Anita Moore says above, when a Pius is at the helm, playtime is over.
    Well said!

  70. joecct77 says:

    I voted for Pius XIII, but I wonder if Christopher or Joshua a no-no?

  71. mrsmontoya says:


  72. majuscule says:

    I voted for one that I was certain few would vote for. I was wrong.

    Pius XII was my first pope. And for those superstitious folk who think 13 is unlucky–pshaw!

    I’m for Pius XIII!

  73. Gus Barbarigo says:

    I love this post!

    Fr. Z, it’s great you suggested “Sylvester.” We need a new Constantine, to revive Catholicism in the civil sphere of law, politics, and popular culture. Who better than a Pope Sylvester to cultivate allied nations (as few as they might be), especially to fight persecution against the Church. And if one believes there will be a Great Monarch, who better to crown him!

    Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke as Leo XIV? I love it!

    Marius2k4, I like how you think! Please pray for the soul of Pope Innocent III; there was an apparition that he was/is in Purgatory.

    And don’t worry about “odd”sounding names. Who thinks “Benedict” is odd anymore? The Pope made the name part of the lives of people around the world, even the media; when it came to acceptance of more traditional aspects of the Church, he made converts; that’s what you get when you share Catholic culture with confidence!

  74. Melchisedech says:

    I chose Paul VII because there may be some bad connotations with the name Paul that may not be so positive. Some may have bad memories about Paul or his legacy and and new Paul would be able to heal such previous pains. Also, a Paul interpreting “Paul’s Council,” might be just what Holy Mother Church needs.

  75. fvhale says:

    If he takes Sylvester he will have to stop @pontifex.
    It would be a contradiction to be both Sylvester AND Tweety.

  76. friarpark says:

    I chose Pius XIII not to wreck the Pius clock, but I have come to to appreciate Pius XII in recent years and wish for a Pope like him. Perhaps I am too much influenced by yesterdays watching of the movie Pio XII (which on Netflix is listed as Pope Pius XII). I also like the number 13, always have. Not great reasons, but there they are.

  77. alanphipps says:

    Leo XIII pour moi. Followed by Gregory and Benedict XVII. Curious why Fr. Z mentioned Leo but didn’t include it in the list? And Sergius and Lucius are on the list?

  78. Crucesignata says:

    I chose Pius XIII… does anyone else really hope that the next Pope owns a pitbull? :)

  79. Jason Keener says:

    I would love to see a Pope Pius XIII, formerly known as Cardinal Burke. :-) Importantly, choosing the name Pius XIII would show the continuity between the Church of today and the pre-conciliar Church, which was, of course, last lead by Pope Pius XII. I’m also very fond of Pius IX, Pius X, and Pius XI. Pius XI spoke often and eloquently about the Kingship of Christ and the duty of even civil governments to recognize Christ’s reign, a much-needed thing in today’s corrupt and atheistic political atmosphere that thinks it can operate apart from Christ and the Gospel. The name “Pius” also reminds me of the great Pope Pius V who was known for his fierce orthodoxy and role in the Council of Trent.

    Pope Pius XIII it must be! :-)

  80. Athelstan says:

    I agree with others here: Leo XIV seems like a very likely name to me.

    Its most recent user remains highly thought of by virtually everyone; he was recent enough and successful enough not to be obscure; his name does not come with the baggage that other recent names may entail.

    Not that I wouldn’t mind another Pius, of course…

  81. alanphipps says:

    Yes, “Leo XIV” this is what I meant, but in fondness for Leo XIII, I inadvertently typed his name instead :-/

  82. Stumbler but trying says:

    Gregory XVII

    A fine and most fitting name. After doing a bit of research…this bit of information resonated with me:
    “The fourteen years of Gregory’s pontificate were marked by extraordinary vigor and activity. “He never rested”, writes a biographer, “he was always engaged in providing for the interests of his people, or in writing some composition worthy of the church, or in searching out the secrets of heaven by the grace of contemplation.”
    It was Gregory’s policy to watch with particular care over the election and discipline of the bishops. With wise toleration he was willing to recognize local deviations from Roman usage (e.g. in the ritual of baptism and confirmation), yet he was resolute to withstand any unauthorized usurpation of rights and privileges.”

  83. DrTenochtitlan says:

    I vote for Thomas I. In a world that is increasingly secular , skeptical, and atheistic, Thomas the Apostle serves as a good model that skeptics CAN come to know Christ and return to the church! St. Thomas More stood up to a leader interfering with the church. St. Thomas Aquinas was a great scholar and teacher. All of these would be great messages for the current era.

  84. JackG says:

    Michael. As in Archangel. Carries an assault weapon. Member of the Church Militant. Tough times ahead.

    Carry on.

  85. RMT says:

    Pope Moses I:

    Moses was the Law Giver
    Moses I would lay down the law and enforce it

  86. THREEHEARTS says:

    his name is michael and he will chose michael

  87. Animadversor says:

    Ioannes Maria.

  88. UncleBlobb says:

    I chose Benedict, in spite of the inconvenience it would cause some, because I want the current Pope to continue, and can’t have him. I should have chosen ????? the First, perhaps, so I could say “Athanasius I”, for the obvious reasons, but also because I want my hero, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan to be elected, against all likelihood.

  89. Peter G says:

    I voted for Pius XIII but I have not forgotten that there has never been a Pope Pius that was not an Italian.

  90. Gustave Dedronez says:

    The suggestion of Pope Moses is pretty cool but of course not likely unfortunately.

  91. Bob B. says:

    I voted for a continuation of Benedict, whoever is elected will have big shoes to fill.
    Having said that, in the oft chance that the conclave comes to me and asks me to become pope (anyone remember the book, The Vicar of Christ?). if elected I promise…. to write my own “Dominus ac Redemptor,” put some teeth into Canon 915, get rid of some cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests who have looked the other way far too often, and so many other things. Wonder if this would make me take Clement or Pius?

  92. @UncleBlobb – I agree. Pope Athanasius I.

    It will be strange to get a new name, whatever it is. Benedict XVII and Athanasius I will be the easiest to tolerate until we’re used to it.

  93. chonak says:

    Urban II founded the Roman Curia, which needs to be taken in hand.

  94. Fr_Sotelo says:

    There already was a Boniface IX. My vote is for a Boniface X. The “X” after a name is cool, as is the name of the guy who published “Unam Sanctum.”

  95. Phil_NL says:

    Let’s approach it from a different direction: some names simply would have too much baggage, be it ad exteram or ad interam, or both. Some names simply make life more difficult for a future pope.

    So I think the following ones will be out:
    – Pius XIII. Externally, it makes a claim to one’s own moral acomplishments, or so it will be seen (equally out therefore: Innocent). Moreover, Pius XII is far from rehabilitated in the eyes of the media. And the syllabus of erros of Pius IX was hardly a success internally. If you’re going to lay down the law, you have to do so clearly, and such a syllabus is anything but. A teachers tells us what is true, and not a selection of what’s not.
    – John XXIV. Unless the next pope would be a considerable amount to the left of his two predecessors, this name would invoke endless comparisons about how number 23 of that name was a gentle soul, and #24 anything but.
    – John PauL III. Same problems of endless comparisons, but now because the next pope will be very unlikely to be able to match JPII in terms of both extravertness and travel. If only because there’s so much work to do in the Vatican itself.
    – Benedict XVII. Too confusing while his predecessor is alive, and while JPII would be a very hard act to follow in terms of engendering enthousiasm, Benedict would be equally hard to follow in terms of the astuteness of his teaching.
    – Boniface. For the very Unam Sanctam cited in some other comments. Like the syllabus of errors, you don’t want to have the church play the colelctive game: ‘what did he mean exactly, and how much wiggle room is there, as this clearly can be read in nonsensical ways’.

    Also just more trouble than it’s worth, even though for no ‘good’ reason: Sixtus VI (silliness), Urban (crusades reference), Victor (too smug), Julius (is the holy father to tear down the St Peter again? Moreover, anything that even smells of the Borgia era, even though Julius II was a fierce opponent of that family, wouldnt help just now).Last but not least: Peter. If only because of the nonsense surrounding St. Malachy’s supposed prophecy.

    This leaves a Clement, Leo or Gregory as remaning possiblities among the habitual names (the obvious advantage is that in none of these cases, it would be a clear reference to any outspoken predecesor with much lingering baggage (the SJ doesnt count that much anymore), as there are multiple to choose from and the problematic cases were long ago). Paul, if we get a liberal who doesn’t mind stepping on SSPX toes, would also have little against it.

    But to end on a positive note: I would say that Stephen, Martin and Joseph (as Timothy Mulligan suggested above, making it an instant favorite of mine) would be more likely.

  96. Nicholas, as a sign of how to “dialogue” with heretics.

  97. Jim of Bowie says:

    I voted Pius XIII and suggest a gold star for Louie.

  98. I voted ??? the first. Always thought Michael should get a run out. But attracted by Joseph as well. And as a few people have said, Gregory seems to be floating around. I can confidently predict it will not be Pius, Urban, Sixtux or any name that people would regard as funny, stuffy and old fashioned.

    Of course Pope Christopher has a nice ring to it – the bearer of Christ, and an ancient title for Mary all rolled into one.

  99. JonPatrick says:

    I chose Benedict XVII as I feel he will see himself as completing the unfinished work of the current Benedict. I don’t think having Benedict XVI still alive will be an issue as he will undoubtedly stay out of public life and be invisible in his monastery.

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  101. wmeyer says:

    I took Pius as my confirmation name, not because St. Pius is secondary patron of the archdiocese, but because the correctives applied by stalwart Popes Pius were necessary, and salutary.

    I voted Pius XIII because we need such a stalwart again, a man with strength and the best of formation, prepared to do battle for his Church with all the arrayed forces of evil which have overrun the world.

  102. beez says:

    The battles against the radical Mohammedans in Africa and the Near East are heating up terribly. This is the direction we need to face. Radical secularization is actually fueling the radical nature of Mohammedan clerics and stirring up anger in the people.

    By choosing Urban, the new Holy Father can signal to the world that the Church will no longer sit idly by while the “leaders” of the “free world” ignore the wholesale slaughter of Christians by Mohammedans while also calling the western nations to return to the Christian truths which, for all of their violence and anger, the radicals are correct in resisting and resenting.

  103. James says:

    Much of this depends on who gets elected, of course, but I went with Gregory XVII, presuming he will be someone after Benedict’s heart. The inspiration would be Gregory the Great – a missionary pope who almost single-handedly rebuilt the city of Rome (drawing ire from the Byzantine emperor), and who has so many ties to the liturgy. However, another source of inspiration would be Gregory VII, who famously forced Henry IV to travel to Canossa barefoot, after he had deposed and excommunicated Henry.

    I think our next pope will be dealing a lot more with “Henry types”, while also, Deo volente, continuing to “save the liturgy”.

  104. beez says:

    I left out a clause above…

    “…calling the western nations to return to the Christian truths [i][b] and reject the immoral libertinism[/b][/i] which, for all their violence and anger, the radicals are correct in resisting and resenting.”

  105. jesusthroughmary says:

    I also chose Gregory XVII, which I also think will be a reference to the continuance of the new liturgical reform.

    Were I (quod Deus avertat) to be elected Supreme Pontiff, I would be sorely tempted to take the regnal name Peter the Roman just to troll the world.

  106. inexcels says:

    I went with Innocent not based on any analysis, but for the trivial reason that it’s my favorite.

  107. sw85 says:

    Wait, people think we’ll actually see a Pope Pius XIII, in our lifetimes?

    Who do you all think would take this name? Which cardinal today who is likely to get more than seven votes would choose this name?

    Are we choosing based on reality or fantasy?

  108. stilicho says:

    Where’s Waldo?

  109. MBinSTL says:

    Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke gets the “white hat” and takes the name Francis – Pope Francis I, in honor of St. Francis de Sales. That’s my own personal “papal prophecy” :-D .

  110. BillyT92679 says:

    The point isn’t what we want him to take, but what he probably will take.

    Saying that, I think Leo is a very strong possibility. Enormously influential pope, loved across the political spectrum, great pedigree with the name overall.

    Pius isn’t going to happen. I doubt we ever see that name again.

  111. MWindsor says:

    Leo XIV – Today, the world needs a lion.

    Although, I have to admit I’m really fond of Clement or Pius too. And I’m not sure that Urban wouldn’t be appropriate.

  112. Mariana B. says:

    Pope Francis I! Rebuild My church.

  113. wolskerj says:

    Cardinal Arinze will choose the name John XXIV to emphasize the authentic reception by the Church of the teachings of Vatican II. (and yes, I know how old he is).

  114. SegoLily says:

    Wow, our cups runneth over with this delightful guessing game. Should have read the comments before voting! Sixtus Sextus is absolutely sublime for all the reasons given. Michael, Francis and Joseph are all brilliant choices as well. How about Pope Michael Francis Joseph I?

  115. The Masked Chicken says:

    My choice would be off-script. How about:

    Ikickbutts I

    The Chicken

  116. Legisperitus says:

    sw85: I agree. I’d love to see a Pius XIII and have it be Cardinal Ranjith, but what I see as actually plausible is a Clement XV, and someone choosing that name because it sounds… well, clement.

    Who would it be, then? Perhaps Cardinal Comastri.

  117. Fr AJ says:

    I’m predicting it will be Paul VII in honor of the Second Vatican Council’s anniversary.

  118. mike cliffson says:

    Coz the surprises may start here, laus Deo!
    In the words of the hym
    “God bless our Pope
    the Great. the Good.”

  119. Pingback: Today’s Catholic must-reads: 20/02/13 | CatholicHerald.co.uk

  120. John Fannon says:

    I chose Gregory as it is solid orthodox name and the name of some great Popes.

    There is a rumour going around the web that Joseph Cardinal Siri would have chosen Gregory, had he been elected as Pontiff.

    As has been put forward by other correspondents, Innocent and Boniface are good names. And remember the great Sylvester II.

    fvhale -love your 2 posts – LOL!

  121. mike cliffson says:

    Would people get any allusion to evangelization of Asia , beyond India?

  122. VexillaRegis says:

    Tricky question. The name Clemens is not at all peculiar or funny in Germany, while it may sound too “clement” in English. Hilarius/ Hilaire (Fr) just means happy. What you like depends on your cultural and linguistic background. However, Sixtus sextus /Sisto sesto/ Sixtus the sixth/ Sixtus der sechste/ , weeelll, no eh.

  123. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Chicken,

    We would need a latin translation of that, of course.

    Also, I think it is time that we consider ‘Philippus I’ as well. It’s time to correct the use of that name by an antipope. (Interstingly, many names of Apostles have not been used.That ‘Peter II’ would be rather pretentious makes that choice an obvious taboo, but why most of the others have been avoided, is a riddle to me)

  124. ljc says:

    Jack G and ThreeHearts,
    Clearly you haven’t heard of pope michael of Kansas.

  125. Charlotte Allen says:

    The name isn’t on the list, but I vote for Pope Conon II–a tough leader in a barbaric age.

  126. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Z, may I ask why you removed Linus from the list? [I wanted to.] It’s a common name for boys in our part of the World and nobody would think it’s oldfashioned or funny. Maybe there are connotations in the English speaking World that I have not heard of. :-)

    Anyway, there are other saint’s names like Maximilian(us) (after M Kolbe) and Hieronymus/Jerome- Jeremy/ Geronimo/ Jerôme that might apeal to a new Holy Father.

  127. EVERYONE: This is about what name the next Pope WILL choose, not just the name you would like the Pope to choose. Yes, there is a distinction.

  128. anniemw says:

    Athanasius I

  129. StJude says:

    Pope Innocent XIV ! No idea why.. but I like it.

  130. Legisperitus says:

    In these times, the name “Innocent” would be incessantly mocked by the media.

  131. anna 6 says:

    I am still so heartbroken about losing Benedict XVI, that a Pope Hilarius just might be the thing I need!

  132. The Masked Chicken says:

    Let’s see…using my amazing Futurscope, I predict that the next Pope will choose the name POILLIYT IV – yes, he used to be a codebreaker during the War.

    Actually, I don’t think the next pope will be as focused on Vatican II as the last few popes, so I’m thinking Clement XV.

    I still think that

    Pope Bvariscared I

    has a nice ring to it, but one would have to imagine a very wild celebration in the papal mansion for that to happen.

    As you can see, I’m not that worried about what the next pope will call himself. I’m just worried that the Church calls him that.

    The Chicken

  133. OrthodoxChick says:

    I voted for ????? the First, but I don’t know my Pope history too well. I was thinking David I would be a good name since the next Pope will continue the fight against the goliath of “the isms” (modernism, relativism, secularism, etc). I’ve never heard of a Pope David before so I think if the next Pope chose that name, he would be the first, but I could be wrong. I don’t think that the David from Holy Scripture is a saint, but I think there IS a Saint David, so maybe this papal name could pull double duty?

    If Leo had been included in the list, I probably would have leaned toward that…

  134. Andkaras says:

    Yoseph I -Defender of the family ,uniter of the east and west, turning the hearts of fathers back to their children and children’s back to their fathers.

  135. OrthodoxChick says:

    As soon as I hit the “post” button, the name of the next Pope came to me. Pope Raphael I (or Raffaele I, if the next Pope is from Italia, as I think he will be). What better name to honor Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy than by reinforcing the need for liturgical form through a.) the power of an archangel, and b.) the comfort of “the healer”?

  136. jaykay says:

    My feeling is that we will see another Pope in the mould of his immediate predecessors, and that therefore John XXIV is a strong runner, as it would send out a message and a warning viz:
    * continuity with the actuality (as opposed to the media version) of the previous four pontificates;
    * stressing, subtly but not too much, that playtime is definitively over (without using the “P” name) and the reform as originally intended, not the fantasy version, is very much going forward.

  137. frodo says:

    Benedict XVII would invoke a widespread spittle flecked nutty. I say do it. It would honor outgoing Benedict XVI and reinforce the unchanging nature of the Church.

  138. acricketchirps says:

    I had an easy time choosing the name. It was choosing a number I had difficulty with.

    Unrelated: There should probably be a new rule for posting comments on this blog: Transliterate all yer Greek!

  139. VexillaRegis says:

    Chicken: I also think Clemens / Clement / Clément /Clemente / Clemenzio XV is a possible post-post-Vat-II-choice for a newly-elected Papa/ Pope/ Papst/ pape/ papas/ paavi/ paave/ påve/ Aita Santuak (basque!) but it’s more likely that we will have a new Gregorius.

  140. Pope Athanasius I, aka Archbishop Schneider, would do just that – he’s close enough to the East to be able to talk to them, I imagine. He’d deal well with the SSPX, and sort out the liberals. He’d be a strong, young pope. We’ve had our first (and second) non-Italian in centuries. We’ve had our first resignation in centuries. Why not the first non-Cardinal in centuries? Yes, very unlikely, and maybe they will go for a middle-of-the-road pope to recover from too much excitement from non-Italians and Summorum Pontificum, or maybe they’ll see that the nuns on the bus need slowing down and we’ll get another Rottweiler, which we need. But Archbishop Schneider can’t be an unknown name to the electors. One vote in the first round and people will get the idea and he’ll grow till he gets a majority vote. As I said, unlikely.

    The voting didn’t work earlier, so I’ve voted now for Gregory. Gregory if he’s a conservative; John and/or Paul if he’s not and hopes to turn back Benedict XVI’s reforms; Clement if he’s meek and mild and smiles to both sides of the court (I may have that wrong). Gregory (and Pius) fits nicely with the Divine Liturgy of St Gregory, aka the Divine Liturgy of St Pius V, aka the Extraordinary Form. Even Athanasius wouldn’t be Athanasius, but Gregory, I think.

  141. Margaret says:

    Vexilla Regis– I don’t know what part of the world you’re in, but here in the US, the only association most people have with the name Linus is a cartoon character who carries a security blanket and believes in the Great Pumpkin… :)

  142. GordonB says:

    I know, Pope John Paul Benedict Gregory Pius I

  143. Mike Morrow says:

    If Cardinal Whoever, Pope Elect, intends a regression to a “modern” 1960s Vatican II mindset, I’d suggest “John Paul George Ringo” would be appropriate.

  144. Scott_Alt says:

    My guess is Cardinal Ouellet choosing the name Paul VII. I think Benedict will be thought off-limits since B16 will still be alive; John Paul off limits because of the grandiose stature of JP2. I also don’t think any contender would want to–at least at this time–stir up difficulty with Catholic-Jewish relations (unfair as that would be) by selecting Pius. Paul VII would be a nod to the 50th anniversary of Vatican II (properly understood in hermenutic of continuity terms), and in our current cultural enviornment a nod to the author of Humanae Vitae, which is now at its 45th anniversary.

  145. PA mom says:

    Apologies, Fr. Z, if it looks like we weren’t listening. I maintain my vote for ???, however. The mass communications thing raises different considerations. The name should not be too difficult for people to pronounce, timeless not stodgy, have proper gravitas but not sound self important, not have 3 or more roman numerals to mix up, and not be an instant punch line on Saturday Night Live ( innocent).
    ( now that I have said that, it will probably contain ALL of those elements…)

    I agree with Phil-NL that it is probably easier to rule out, than guess correctly, but this is fun.
    Love Joseph as a choice too.

  146. discipulus says:

    I’m praying that either Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ranjith will be elected Pope Pius XIII.

  147. Jbuntin says:

    I chose Stephen XI but, in reading the other posts, I really like the idea of Francis I. It has more positivity and love for the Chruch attached to it; not so much a statement of war on whatever…your peticular beef is at the moment.

  148. Amerikaner says:

    It would be neat to see something like Pope Angelus I

  149. albinus1 says:

    Another association of the name Francis would be with St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary to south and east Asia.

    Having said that, I suspect Gregory or Leo. But it really depends on the one who is chosen.


    I don’t think that the David from Holy Scripture is a saint, but I think there IS a Saint David, so maybe this papal name could pull double duty?

    Since my given name is David, I know that there is a St. David (actually Davy, or Taffy, or something like that; “David” is the closest Biblical approximation and is the form generally used by the non-Welsh)). He is the patron of Wales, and his feast is on March 1. I think King David of the Old Testament is considered a saint in the Catholic Church as well.

  150. VexillaRegis says:

    Margaret: Aha, so the *only* association with the name Linus in the US is Snoopy’s friend! I would say, that while that guy certainly is wellknown here in Scandinavia too, we have plenty of other Linuses to think of. :-)

  151. WesleyD says:

    I would have voted for Leo XIV too. Does this win as a write-in vote?

  152. friarpark says:

    @Mike Morrow a non-Catholic friend referred to B16 as Pope John Paul George Ringo on the Monday the Pope resigned.

    I also like the Benedict Joseph name that someone above suggested. Benedict Francis would work well too.

  153. Boniface says:

    People, the next pope will NOT choose the name Pius XIII. It would be very nice if he does, but the status of this name at the top of the reader poll choices makes me question my fellow readers’ powers of perception.

    I voted for Paul VII, but I equally think that Leo XIV, Gregory XVII, and Benedict XVII are likely choices. Why Paul VII? Because it signifies an interest in Vatican II – that is, recovering the “real” Vatican II, concluded by Paul VI, and also could be an homage to Paul VI’s recently declared “Venerable” status, with the cherry on top of signifying that this may well be a very trying papacy, as the new pope will continue to be battered by hostile forces inside and outside the Church, which caused the white martyrdom of Paul VI’s papacy. Additionally, as Fr. Z noted, is the name of the Apostle of the Gentiles, and the gentiles today need evangelizing more than ever (perhaps a little ironic inside joke to himself on the part of the new pope could be that we have millions of “gentiles” today who are in fact baptized Catholics – i.e. in Europe). Or, we might see some name we have not yet heard. Francis I is a very interesting idea… hadn’t thought of that one.

  154. flyfree432 says:

    I asked our bishop what name he would choose if he was elected. He said Augustine. :)

  155. St. Epaphras says:

    I voted for ???? the First because I couldn’t decide whether Paul VII or John XXIV would be more likely. Perhaps I need more faith.

  156. Gail F says:

    Lando II would show he was a Star Wars fan.

    Who knows what name it will be? I sure don’t, and so I didn’t vote.

  157. Kypapist says:

    Okay so I was kind of hoping for Gaspar del Bufalo I so we could have our own Raging Bull who would stampede all over the enemies of the Church. But I am inclined to believe we will get a holy man who will want to seek out a strong but peaceful path and therefore will choose John XXIV.

  158. trespinos says:

    I voted for a “First”, though the name alone is appropriate, no “First” is needed. But I digress. The name I want to see is a beautiful name, Matthew. I’m astounded that no one has ever chosen it; I’d be obliged to anyone who could give a plausible explanation why it hasn’t. In its favor, it sounds terrific in Italian, Spanish, and French as well. Papa Mateo! Papa Matteo! Pape Matthieu!

  159. Titus says:

    Leo XIV is the most compelling option, but it’s not an option here.

    There are several reasons.

    1. John, Paul, and John Paul are all, for good or ill, wrapped up with a very particular moment in Church history. That moment is still very much in people’s minds, and not always in a good way. (Poor Pope John, it’s not what he intended.) Since Benedict’s papacy was in many ways a time of adjusting the trajectories set by that moment, picking one of those names would be rather tactless.

    2. Benedict? But BXVI is still alive.

    3. Pius? Pius is awesome, but Pius XII remains (wrongfully) controversial and the name may appear a bit self-congratulatory, a la Innocent.

    4. But Leo. Leo is a great papal name, and it’s one of the few in modern history that isn’t “Clement” or otherwise in one of the above points. PLUS, Leo XIII succeeded a great but oppressed pope (Bl. Pius IX) and reigned over a time of economic upheaval. If the next pope doesn’t want to offend anyone and doesn’t want to go digging far back in history, he’ll take “Leo.”

  160. trespinos says:

    I should have added my reasoning. I think trying to convey a message with a name is a pretty pointless exercise. So, choose an unused name and let a thousand flowers of speculation bloom, and make sure that it’s euphonious when preceded by a chanted “Papa” in the Piazza. Matthew/Matteo fills the bill.

  161. mysticalrose says:

    Wow. I’m so UN- original. I, like several others, would have picked Petrus if it were listed, but instead picked Pius xiii. I think Potus, the Academy, and the UN among other entities are circulating a new modernism that will require a consistent and consolidated Catholic identity.

  162. Matt R says:

    trespinos, I agree. Picking Matthew or John is also appropriate because it ties the Evangelization of the ancient world to the New Evangelization.

  163. JMody says:

    First off, what’s with all you Pius fans dissing Blessed Pius XI, who wrote what may be some of the best encyclicals etc. of all recent popes — they are concise, they are direct, they address issues of the 20th (and 21st) century with which we are directly familiar (cult of the State/Marxism, false ecumenism, definition of marriage, etc.)? C’mon, man!

    Second, I about shorted out my computer spewing coffee over the idea of Clement XV “to get the attention of the Jesuits” — a very good one, indeed, Fr. Z. Or maybe Ignatius the First?

    Third, my vote — Julius IV. Like Julius II, he will impose sweeping interdicts on disloyal dioceses and nations. He will fly to Los Angeles and disembark a squad of Swiss Guards to grab Mahony by the ear and march him at halberd-point up the steps onto an Alitalia jet and go to the Vatican, where he will do one push-up for every note that Benedict plays on a piano. Then he’ll look at, oh, maybe Rio, or Vienna, or that guy down in Nigeria who was causing all the confusion about married clergy. And after only three or four jet trips, pour encourager les autres, a change will start to come over the bishops …

  164. pledbet424 says:

    I’d like Pius XIII, but some antipope in Montana has already taken it.

  165. Callistus I the first was the Catholic pope maligned by Hippolytus, the first anti-pope & the “patron saint” of liturgical reform. The second Eucharistic prayer is based on Hippolytus in what seems to me an example of what Pius XII called false archaism. Hippolytus looked down on Callistus, followed a “my way or the highway” approach to church authority and reminds me of many liturgists of the 70s and 80s who had an inflated opinion of their knowledge and importance.

  166. wecahill says:

    I would pick Thomas I… invoking St Thomas Aquinas, as a corrective to all the muddled thinking in the Church and the world; St Thomas More and St Thomas a Becket for the freedom and independence of the Church, and the courage to resist the coming persecution; and St Thomas the Apostle, apostle to a doubting world.

  167. wecahill says:

    Perhaps Cardinal Ranjith would take the name Thomas, in honor of the Apostle of India.

  168. Panterina says:

    I voted for “Other.” I’m going for Francis (named after the saint of Assisi). It’s very strange that no other Pope chose this name in the past.

  169. SegoLily says:

    Hilarious J Mody! If only…

  170. Garth says:

    I picked Gregory, but Leo is also a very strong choice.

    I also find it strange how limited the range of regnal names is. Most of the Apostles have gone unused; and there are so many very great saints that could be picked! I’d love to see a Pope Dominic or Thomas or Joseph or Francis or Augustine or…

  171. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Pope Benedict the XVII . obvious reasons. Was thinking-and wishful thinking -of course. IF a non cardinal could be elected Pope one Fr Mitch Pacwa would be wonderful. And he’s bi ritual. :)

  172. Juho says:

    My personal favourite would have been Adeodatus III :)

  173. Aegidius says:

    If all goes ill the next Pope will impose the name Potus I (Poto, Peut, Pote, Pöt, …) on himself, win his third American election, be awarded his second Peace Nobel prize and install heaven on earth.

    He might as well choose Aegidius I.

  174. priests wife says:

    for women of childbearing age: we are biased- we know that the new Pope’s name will be used for a new crop of little boys. There are lots of John-Pauls and now there are more Benedicts. So, I am hoping for Gregory…our son’s middle name because it is a family name for 8 generations (Romanian form)

  175. Joboww says:

    Im thinking Leo because it doesnt have the connotations of Pius (but I would love to see a Pius in my life time). But a close second is Paul for the “New” Evangelization

  176. pj frost says:

    I voted for Pope Stephen XI. The metamessage of courageous faith of Saint Stephen would be wonderful for our new pope. My dream name for the new pontiff would be Pope Stephen Pius I. What a great name combination that would be. It even sounds great. [Always think about how it would sound in Italian. That’s why there won’t be another Sixtus.] May God bless our new pope!!

  177. MouseTemplar says:

    My write in vote would be for Rafael I:

    One of the Seven who stand before God.

  178. pj frost says:

    I just checked with two professors of Italian and they both said that Pope Stephen Pius I sounds great in Italian. Both are Catholics and loved the name!!! Hey, cardinals of the future conclave, please consider this name.

  179. timelord says:

    I would like to see Pope Mark, Pope Michael, Pope Joseph or Pope Dominic

    If someone took the name Pope Josemaria, I think there would be a few cardiac arrests ;-) but why not

  180. Mrs. Bear says:

    If Cardinal Ouellet is elected – a great name would be Francois-Xavier – the secondary reason would be St. Francis Xavier the missionary but also another reason – look it up!

  181. Legisperitus says:

    Wouldn’t it be Stephen X rather than Stephen XI, since Pope-elect Stephen II is usually not counted these days?

    I could see Cardinal Erdo of Hungary taking this name if he were elected.

  182. robgat99 says:

    Pope PETER PAUL I?

  183. B.Questa says:

    Cardinal Dolan as Pope Patrick I.

  184. B.Questa says:

    Cardinal Dolan as Pope Patrick I

  185. Pingback: 7 Things: The Papacy | Truth & Charity The Intersection of Faith & Life

  186. VLL says:

    I voted for Martin VI– originally because I thought it would be something unexpected, and perhaps more subtle than the other popular choices. Yet there has been too much upheaval recently to choose something unprecedented. Something easy to pronounce, yet with long reaching history and consequences laid bare for those with eyes to see. Yes, wishful thinking perhaps. I’ve had some time to reflect, and something else– rather troubling occurs to me. (I voted a few days ago, but didn’t come back to post until now).

    There is a hidden but fairly distinctive problem with this name. After all, Martin V returned to Rome. We could still get our “Petrus Romanus” if Peter Cardinal Turkson chose Martin, since the previous Martin returned our Church to Rome after long (and painful) exile in France. Thanks to that episode I still wince at the name John. (Even though it’s been a perennial first name choice in my family for literally hundreds of years..dating back before they all drifted away from the Church)

    I’m not saying that fulfilling said prophesy is a goal, mind you, but the nomenclature could still work without having to use his own name as a Papal title. Though because of that [expletive deleted] prophesy, we might have nullified a Godly option for our Pope. We need a tough-as-nails pope who knows personally what persecution is– yet has an international appeal as a boon for our less stalwart brethren. Without all the apocalyptic seizures, this would be a harmonious and, indeed a reasonable choice. Martin doesn’t sound “Catholic cool” (I’d seriously love Pius or Sylvester– but I’m a realist, it won’t be what I want) but it would work.

    My only qualm is that I have *no* idea what Martin sounds like in Italian. I have a bad feeling that this is why the name hasn’t been used since Martin V’s return. Though if he wanted a Renaissance of love from the locals– this name would do it. It is my understanding that Martin V was beloved to an extreme degree by the Romans. Those with long memories would be ecstatic.

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