Pope: Please Give Your Babies Christian Names

Traditional names 'indelible seal' of faith ... and Chelsea is a no-no
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2011 6:06 AM CST
Pope Benedict XVI blesses a child upon his arrival in the Sistine Chapel for a baptism ceremony, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011.    (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Offbeat baby names are getting more common every year, but Pope Benedict XVI is having none of it. The pontiff took time out from baptizing 21 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday to rail against the trend of giving babies names that don't come from saints or the Bible, Reuters reports—meaning handles like Crystal, Track, and Chelsea are no-nos. "Every baptized child acquires the character of the son of God, beginning with their Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit causes man to be born anew in the womb of the Church," he said.

A name, the pontiff said, was an "indelible seal" that set children off on a lifelong "journey of religious faith." Italian media gave the comments plenty of press, even though the vast majority of Italian children are still given saints' names, notes the National Post. It's a different story in countries like Australia, the US, and Canada, where researchers—noting that baby names get more unusual the further west you go—believe the popularity of uncommon names is linked to the frontier spirit.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |