Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clueless secular media comments on religion again

Yesterday,it was reported the Pope wanted the faithful to choose Christian names for their children.

I looked for the original comment on . I couldn't find it. It doesn't mean he didn't say it-- he might have ad libbed and it wasn't in the translator's prepared statement. In any case, to me it casts doubt on the story.

What I wanted to focus on was the numerous mistakes that reporters made on this subject.

For instance, the article in The Telegraph begins:

While names such as Sienna and Scarlett have become fashionable in recent years, Pope Benedict XVI called for a return to tradition.

Sienna is a perfectly acceptable Catholic name. It refers back to St. Catherine of Siena. Taking the place name made famous by a saint is perfectly Catholic. In French, Chantal is a popular name due to Ste. Jeanne de Chantal. Fatima is also popular because of Our Lady of Fatima.

I also suspect Scarlett is Catholic somehow. It refers to the "purple" worn by dignitaries-- makes me think of the dignity of Christ. Okay, it's a little bit of a stretch, but the point is you can get a lot more non-Catholic than "Scarlett". (Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind, the most famous Scarlett of them all, was a Catholic).

Another example, the Scottish Daily Record:

It came just hours after it was announced David and Victoria Beckham - whose sons are named Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz - are expecting their fourth child.

They might get away with Romeo - which in Latin means "pilgrim to Rome" - but the other two would be frowned on

Cruz? You mean the Spanish word for "cross?" That's not Catholic?

Another example:

In Italy, the name of a child has particular significance. Children are often named after saints, who are considered a guiding force in their lives.

The tradition, however, is increasingly under threat. Francesco Totti, the footballer, recently decided to call his daughter Chanel,

Chanel is a perfectly Catholic name. It's the name of St. Peter Chanel.

This proves once again that one should never trust the media when it comes to Catholic matters.

I bring up this story about names because it addresses one of my personal pet peeves: names that sound made up.

I think it's fine to not want a trendy name or a name that's too common. But I think names should have a pedigree of some sort. In Catholicism, they should be a name with a connection to the faith or the saints. In the wider society, I think it should be plausible-sounding name-- not just original for original sake. I get the feeling that some people try to appropriate social status by naming their kids after brand names or celebrities. I think it's tacky.

I also think that our name is something of a calling card. As names become less Christian, you may in the future be able to tell who's Catholic and who's not by one's name. There are thousands of names to choose from. There's no reason not to choose a name that reflects our faith.

Another point to keep in mind: names are a source of patron saints. The more names one has, the more patron saints one has. For a child, they can provide a role model and that offers guidance on the life of sanctity.