What better way to start a new blog than to say, “HABEMUS PAPAM!” We have a new Pope! Not just a new Pope, we have the first Jesuit pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope in more than 1,000 years to hail from outside of Europe, and the first Pope since the year 914 to use a saint’s name never chosen before.
With a new pope elected comes many questions from non-Catholics. Someone asked me why cardinals change their names when they become Pope. That was a good question because I thought it was just a tradition, but I did not know if there was any biblical significance. So I did a little research.
It turns out that it is just a tradition that began with Pope John II, born with the name Mercurius after the Roman god, Mercury. When elevated to Pope in 533, he changed his name to John II and rid himself of the pagan god’s name.
Most popes since then have changed their names, but in the 10th century, it became customary for popes to take the name of saints or previous popes (or both). Every pope elected since the 16th century has done so.
And now our new pope, Pope Francis I took the name of St. Francis of Assisi. And quite fitting I might add. Much like St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis I chose to live a humble life as Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, a life of humility and commitment to the poor and sick.
How exciting to have a new Pope, a very humble leader to guide us in faith and the New Evangelization!
May God bless you,