April CatholicMom column up today

My April column posted today on CatholicMom.com: Names “foreign to Christian sensibility.” You’ll recognize it as a slight retooling of this post, and I’m like 99.99% sure that when I wrote that original post Canon Law said “Christian sentiment” but when I went back to double check before submitting to CatholicMom, it was all “Christian sensibility.” Weird!



9 thoughts on “April CatholicMom column up today

  1. I’m sticking with Lucifer and other demonic names as the only names positively foreign to Christian sentiment/sensibility. Everything else may be taboo, in poor taste, or just odd, but not completely foreign to Christian sensibility in the same way.

    Commenters here often remark that they like the idea of using non-saints names because otherwise we won’t ever get any new ones. I think that’s a pretty valid point and therefore it would have to be extrapolated that the non-saints names would have to be considered NOT “foreign to Christian sentiment” to even be used. I’m not saying this very clearly, but I guess I mean, non-Christian names—even mythological names like Hera or Isis—should be ok.

    A name like Adolf is tarnished and taboo but not in and of itself foreign to Christian sensibility, since it has a long tradition of being used by Christians and is a saint’s name.

    Lilith to me is a mythological name (it’s not in the bible, and certainly the idea that she was Adam’s first wife contradicts the biblical creation account, Catholic theology, and science), so not explicitly any worse than another mythological name (even if tacky and in poor taste).

    Names of sinful people can be used otherwise we’d all have to be named Mary and Jesus. So that means Adam, Eve, Abraham, Jacob, Judah, David, Solomon…all of these should be ok.

    Those are my thoughts! They’ve developed quite a bit since you first posted about this.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, like I think Adolf is unusable. But I don’t think the name itself is fundamentally foreign to Christian sensibility.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! But I’d argue that when Canon Law says “names foreign to Christian sensibility” shouldn’t be used, it means both names that qualify at that place and point in time (temporarily foreign) as well as those that always will be, which makes sense of why the Church doesn’t provide a list of names that are foreign to Christian sensibility. I do think the list of “always will be” is very short, perhaps just the one name we’ve been discussing (I’m so done with saying it and typing it! I feel like dipping my hands in holy water!), but I also think the associations of time and place are important. I imagine that when a priest is considering whether the name of the baby in front of him to be baptized is foreign to Christian sensibility, he’s thinking of both temporary and forever. (Which makes it really subjective, of course … I heard recently of a priest who wouldn’t baptize a baby with the name Thaddeus because of some weird association he’d made between St. Jude Thaddeus and Judas Iscariot.)


      • (Obviously I don’t agree with his assessment that Thaddeus is problematic — it’s pretty ridiculous really and I think I’d take it to the bishop if I was that parent.)


  2. I think that if Hitler’s given name had been, say, Charles, that the first name would still be usable. People still use Joseph despite its reference to Stalin (and for that matter, Kony). Is it just that for English speakers, Adolf was rarer and so it became a first association for the name? Is Adolf usable today in any other countries (where people may have more associations with the name to dilute its association with Hitler)?


  3. There are so many wonderful names to use…It seems that if a person is genuinely trying to give submission of intellect to Church guidance, the prompting of the Holy Spirit would take care of questionable namings.

    Liked by 1 person

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