Name Game

I’m a bit of a fan, given my dyed-in-the-wool Protestantism, but the unctuous coverage on CNN leaves me with an urge to say something irreverent.

So here’s hoping for Pope Lando II.

After all, the chances of the new Pope bringing in a completely new name are pretty slim. (John Paul hardly counts, even for disco-era Italy.) But why not reach back into the treasury of barely used papal names?

John is so worn, the Roman numerals look like they could belong to the Super Bowl. And from the end of the Thirty Years’ War forward, it’s pretty much Benedict, Innocent, Clement. Wash, rinse, repeat. At least until the recent run on Pius, which zoomed from VI to XII from the time the US Declaration of Independence was signed until the last version emerged a bit singed from the middle of the twentieth century.

But further back, things were more varied. (Though I doubt we’ll see Martin VI, for 95 or so reasons.)

What’s the most recent name that doesn’t yet have a successor?


“A native of the Sabina, and the son of Taino, elected pope seemingly in July or August, 913; d. in February or March, 914, after a reign of a little over six months. Nothing more is known of him except that he was a worthy man, and granted a privilege to a church in his native Sabina.”

Pretty much tabula rasa. (And bonus points for Jedi ecumenism.)

Then we can round out the twenty-first century with Romanus II, Formosus II and Valentine II.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Life and tagged by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

5 thoughts on “Name Game

  1. Why not franchise the name out? Sell the name to the highest bidder, all proceeds going to tackle 3rd World Poverty. Pope Coca-Cola anyone?

  2. Well, I already suggested that if they’re meant to be doing God’s will then they could just as easily choose the new Pope by a lottery draw, then when he’s selected his name could come at random from a list as a sort of bonus ball selection.

  3. The thing is, we on the outside have zero influence in this election and the picking of a name. Thank you nevertheless for an interesting academic exercise.

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