Catholic Church On Naming

Current naming rules

“Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given.” (Canon Law no. 855)

“In Baptism, the Lord’s name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The ‘baptismal name’ can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2156)

Other helpful and interesting info

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2158 God calls each one by name.87 Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

2159 The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the mysterious and unique character of each person marked with God’s name will shine forth in splendor. “To him who conquers . . . I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.”88 “Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty- four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”89

Pope Francis: Amoris Laetitia no. 166 (“For God allows parents to choose the name by which he himself will call their child for all eternity.”)

Pope Benedict XVI: Jacob – Prayer: Battle of Faith, Call for Perserverance (includes discussion of the power of names in general and the changing of Jacob’s name in particular)

The Catholic EncyclopediaChristian Names (history of the “Christian name” requirement up to 1911)

Canon Law Made Easy: Do Catholic Children Have to be Given Saints’ Names? (further explanation of the current naming rules, by a canon lawyer)

What’s in a (Catholic) name? (interview with me, where I compile all of the above info)