Friday, January 16, 2004


As a rule, I can't stand all the speculation about the life expectancy of the Pope and whom his successor will be. It's just so much journalistic salivating over a story - trying to make news of potential news.

But then, not long ago during a sermon, Father was rambling on and on and, in the course of his wanderings, mentioned the tradition of Pope's picking names that will have some meaning for their Pontificate. On the way home in the car, my sister posited the question, "If you were going to be the next Pope, what name would you pick?"

(Once I got over the shock of her use of the word "if"...) I started brooding over the times and what name would make a good anchor for the next papacy. And then it occurred to me that nobody yet has ever chosen the name Joseph. I think that is weird and strange. Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church. He is one of the most beloved saints. He was the Just man in times of terrible trial. He was the protector of the Holy Family, and particularly the protector of the Child Jesus. He is revered as chaste. He was also silent.

Does anybody know why noone has yet been Pope Joseph? Is there some obscure ecclesial tradition I don't know about to forbid it? There have been a lot of Joseph's who were raised to the papacy, but they all changed their names once they were elected.

In this moment ... which the family is under such severe attack, and, which the Church has been so remiss in its defense of children, and, which the value of chastity has been almost completely lost, and, which a period of silence would be good to brood over all the volumes of words issued by John Paul II, and which a period of renewed and deepend devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church couldn't hurt, and finally, which it would be a powerful symbol to choose the name not of a previous cleric but of the father of a family, therefore,

If it was me, I would give my first blessing to the city and to the world as Pope Giuseppe I, or Papa Joe, for short. Any other nominations?

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