My father’s college diploma was written in Latin. It hung in a frame next to my mother’s diploma, which was also written in Latin. To me, the most recognizable Latin words were their first names: Franciscum and Alicia.
My jaw dropped when I heard the phrase “Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum” broadcast live around the world this afternoon. I knew immediately that it meant our new pontiff had chosen the name Pope Francis.
There has never been a Pope Francis before today. Many media outlets incorrectly assumed that there would be a Roman numeral I after the Pope’s name. It’s been 1,100 years since there was a Pope without a Roman numeral. 35 years ago, Pope John Paul I chose to put an I after his name, which was unusual. There’s no need to assign an I until there’s a II.
Despite the errors, I’m thankful that the media is providing as much coverage as they are. It gives viewers and readers an opportunity to learn more about the history of the church. Unfortunately, it also inspires some people to display their ignorance via social media.
One person I know posted, “Catholicism is not Christianity.” I bet that person would be surprised to see the large crucifix inside every Catholic church. They would probably also be confused by a column in USA Today titled “Why Evangelicals Should Care About New Pope.”
I get surprised by allegedly open-minded people who post disparaging remarks about Catholics. They would never post similar remarks about Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist people. Why not show respect to all faiths? At least Facebook allows me to hide their bigoted posts.