Whew! My head is spinning after yesterday’s post! You all had so many good thoughts! I do want to let you know that my computer (or WordPress?) has been acting up recently and I can’t always interact with the comments the way I want to — sometimes I’m not able to “like” them in the notifications, sometimes I miss them completely … just this morning I started writing down all the posts that had new comments so I could go back to each one to like all the comments (since the notifications thing wasn’t working) and decided I just can’t — it would take me all morning! But I love each one of your comments, I love all the feedback, I love that this blog is exactly what I hoped it would be when I started it — a searchable database of Catholic name info. You’re all the best! ❤
I also have some more thoughts on yesterday’s post, but I think I need to sit with it all for a while more and organize my thoughts. Stay tuned!
So this is the post I was going to post yesterday before I got sidetracked by Abby’s post. I was doing some name research the other day (you don’t say) ( 😉 ), chatting with some family members about family names, and one of my cousins said she thought, in reference to the many Marys in our family of a certain age (mostly born in the 40s, though there are a bunch of older relatives named Mary as well), that the Pope had told parents to name their daughters after Mary.
You know me, I was immediately like a prairie dog up on my hind legs, totally alert. How interesting! I’d never heard of such a thing — and I assume whatever truth there is to it, if any, is surely not an official statement but perhaps an informal comment, or perhaps something like, “Mary is a wonderful role model for your daughters” which got mistranslated into, “Name your daughters after Mary.” So I took to the internet, searching mostly for anything similar attributed to Pope Pius XII, who was Pope right when the women we were talking about were born and named (1939-1958), and who was pretty Marian, what with his Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and his definition of the dogma of the Assumption, but wasn’t able to find anything. My history-teacher friend and suggested maybe it was the local bishop and not the Pope, so I looked for info about him — also very devoted to Our Lady — but couldn’t find anything like what I was looking for. A priest friend suggested maybe Pope Benedict XV, who was Pope from 1914 to 1922 and who both instituted the old Code of Canon Law (1917), which said that Catholic parents must give their babies saints’ names and if a baby didn’t have a saint’s name the priest was to give one at baptism, and also authorized the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces, so he was namey *and* Marian, and I could see that being the source of this belief. But again, I wasn’t able to find anything official (I did find this interesting article while searching, which talks about naming requirements and practices among different groups, including Catholics. It’s not accurate Catholic-wise, but an interesting read nonetheless).
I also found this article, which says that “For very many years the Catholic Church in Ireland would not baptise a child unless the name chosen was that of a saint or, in the case of a girl, was a version of Mary,” but it doesn’t cite any official source — I’m thinking like any kind of Church documents or regulations that were actually written down and not just unwritten local custom. (Written local custom would be fine!)
Have any of you heard this idea before? Can you shed any light on all this?