Pope Benedict talks baby names

Pope Benedict XVI mentioned baby names over the weekend. Well, maybe not baby names — baptismal names is more precise. In any case, here’s what he said while baptizing a 21 infants in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday:

Every baptism should ensure that the child is given a Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit will allow the person to blossom in the bosom of the Church. Do not give your children names that are not in the Christian calendar.

I’ve seen other church officials comment on this issue, but never the Pope himself. I wonder what sort of impact it will have on Catholic parents.

BONUS: Here are some interesting quotes I collected from news articles covering this story.

The first little examples of Mela (Italian for Apple) and Pesche (Peaches) are already up and walking, say the Italian newspapers, thanks to the decisions of Gwyneth Paltrow and Bob Geldof to pick names at the greengrocer.

Celebrity baby names in translation. Trippy.

Even leading politicians have chosen unusual names. The pugnacious Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa christened his three sons Geronimo, Lorenzo Cochis and Leonardo Apache.

Geronimo and Cochise were both Apache leaders.

[Names] banned in Portugal include Lolita, Maradona and Mona Lisa.

Diego Maradona (b. 1960) is a former pro soccer player from Argentina.

Another source mentioned something about a Sue Ellen trend in Italy during the 1980s, thanks to the popularity of American TV show Dallas, but I can’t locate the original article/link.

Sources: For heaven’s sake, Pope hopes to end trend for exotic names, Pope makes a plea to parents to give their children traditional names

2 thoughts on “Pope Benedict talks baby names

  1. Hi, I am from Italy and regarding the Sue Ellen trend, I think it’s a legend. While it may be true that some girls were named Sue Ellen in the 80’s after the tv show, I think they were only a few because I’ve never heard of anyone with that name, so I don’t know if it can be considered a trend, or at least not a big one.

    Also, this is the first time I hear about Mela and Pesche and I doubt it’s true, I read a lot of name blogs and forums and I’m sure I would’ve heard about it if it were true, I think the journalist is exaggerating.

    However, there are some italian celebrities that have given their children crazy/stupid names and some people are actually copying them.
    For example, one of Italy’s most famous football players, Francesco Totti, named his daughter Chanel in 2007 and I know other little girls named Chanel were born since then.
    Then there’s this tv presenter who named her daughter Swami back in 2000, claiming it was an indian name that means “love” (when it isn’t true at all) and now there are little girls called Swami.
    There are other examples, but what I think is unfair is how these people are allowed to give their kids crazy names just because they are celebrities while normal people can’t. There was this couple who were ordered by a judge to change their baby son’s name (Venerdì, “friday”) because it was considered ridiculous yet Chanel and Swami are ok?!
    Here in Italy you can’t even name your daughter Andrea since it is a boy’s name here even if it is feminine everywhere else, unless you give her a femimine middle name (and most italians don’t have a middle name at all.)

    So yeah there are kids with weird names out there but these names are not as widespread as some articles make them out to be.

    Sorry for my english I hope what I wrote makes sense xD

  2. Hi Chiara,

    Makes perfect sense! Thanks very much for your thoughts. It’s cool to hear someone’s real-life perspective on this (to balance out what we see in the news).

    That would bug me as well–that celebrities get to break the rules, while everyone else has to stick to them. Doesn’t seem fair at all. I wonder if any Italian government officials/politicians have been questioned about this directly.

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