(I put all the giveaways in the mail this morning — look for them at the end of this week/beginning of next! And please let me know if yours doesn’t arrive!)
You’ve all likely heard the news by now, right? Beloved Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird — who actually had a whole bunch of babies named after him (name story given here, several noted in the comments here, and quite a few celeb babies who may or may not have been named for the character but there’s a high likelihood he was at least part of the inspiration) because of his goodness, and who inspired a baby name book (one of my faves: A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books by Lorilee Craker) — has been shown, in Harper Lee’s new book released today, Go Set a Watchman, to not be the virtuous man we all thought him to be. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read the novel, so all my info is coming from what I read in various places, but mostly here: Review: Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ Gives Atticus Finch a Dark Side.)
What a devastation for so many parents! My husband and I ourselves even considered Atticus when naming our boys, in large part because of the reputation of goodness and justice it carries because of the Mockingbird character. For us, however, a literary character, no matter how beloved, couldn’t have been the only reason to choose a name, and so I had cause years ago to look up whether Atticus is a saint’s name, and therein lies the balm for the parents of little Atticus-es: Atticus the Saint!
Parents who named their children for a good man in Atticus Finch can rest assured that St. Atticus is even better a person to be named for: he was real, for one thing, and has already finished the race and won the crown. From CatholicSaints.Info:
“Atticus supported the Macedonian heresy (i.e., the Holy Spirit is not God), opposed Saint John Chrysostom, and worked against him at the Council of Oak in 405. When John was exiled fromConstantinople, Atticus assumed the bishopric in 406. He eventually realized his error, repented his opposition, and submitted to Pope Innocent I‘s rulings. He remained as bishop, but a virtuous and orthodox one, and an opponent of heretics.”
His feast day is January 8. (I do believe he’s profiled in Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, Second Edition by Matthew Bunson, though I haven’t read it myself.) (It’s definitely on my wishlist!)
You know me — I have to have a good nickname figured out before deciding on a name — and Atticus confounded me for a while. I didn’t care for Atty because of its similarity to the feminine Addy (though I’ve seen some parents of Atticus-es saying they use Atty), but then in various places I’ve seen Ace, Gus, and Kit — all of which I think are great!
What do you all think of Atticus? Does the new Harper Lee novel tarnish it for you? If so, does its saintliness redeem it? Do you know anyone who named their son Atticus, and if so, what do they think of all this hubbub?