Do monks and nuns legally change their names? What is the Pope's legal name in Germany?


#1

In orders where it's customary for monks and nuns to adopt new names, do they also legally change their name? Or do they still legally have their birth name? Couldn't that pose complications later on? Is there any scenario where they might still need to use their old legal name even after adopting the religious name? Also couldn't it cause some complications since multiple monks or nuns might have the same name? I can think of three different nuns with the name Teresa of Jesus.

I'd imagine that in the Vatican, the Holy Father is legally Benedict XVI. But when he chose that name, was his legal name insofar as his German citizenship was concerned also changed to Benedict XVI, or is he still Joseph Ratznger? The question applies to all popes of course, not just Benedict. Was John Paul II still Karol Wojtyla and so forth?


#2

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:294585"]
In orders where it's customary for monks and nuns to adopt new names, do they also legally change their name? Or do they still legally have their birth name? Couldn't that pose complications later on? Is there any scenario where they might still need to use their old legal name even after adopting the religious name? Also couldn't it cause some complications since multiple monks or nuns might have the same name? I can think of three different nuns with the name Teresa of Jesus.

I'd imagine that in the Vatican, the Holy Father is legally Benedict XVI. But when he chose that name, was his legal name insofar as his German citizenship was concerned also changed to Benedict XVI, or is he still Joseph Ratznger? The question applies to all popes of course, not just Benedict. Was John Paul II still Karol Wojtyla and so forth?

[/quote]

To my knowledge, monks and nuns who take on new religious names do not legally change their names, I'd assume the same thing for the Holy Father.

Most communities will not allow the same name to be had by two living members of the community.


#3

Don't know about the Holy Father, but in the community where I was a postulant and novice, the Sisters didn't change their legal names; but after their first profession, they were never called by those legal names again.

Good question.

Gertie


#4

I have a patient who is a nun. Her chart, insurance, driver's license are all in her birth name. Now that I'm Catholic I call her Sister Newname.


#5

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:294585"]
In orders where it's customary for monks and nuns to adopt new names, do they also legally change their name? Or do they still legally have their birth name? Couldn't that pose complications later on? Is there any scenario where they might still need to use their old legal name even after adopting the religious name? Also couldn't it cause some complications since multiple monks or nuns might have the same name? I can think of three different nuns with the name Teresa of Jesus.

I'd imagine that in the Vatican, the Holy Father is legally Benedict XVI. But when he chose that name, was his legal name insofar as his German citizenship was concerned also changed to Benedict XVI, or is he still Joseph Ratznger? The question applies to all popes of course, not just Benedict. Was John Paul II still Karol Wojtyla and so forth?

[/quote]

I do not know about Catholic monks and nuns, but I encounter this quite frequently in Orthodox Christianity. At my parish, which consists mostly of converts from Protestant churches, many people use their "Christian" name instead of their name in the world (unless the two happen to be the same). If their legal name is not the name of a saint when they convert, they choose one that is (like in Catholic confirmation). Many monks in Orthodoxy also have changed their names, and hagiography often will refer to monastic saints as "born in the world as [name]".

I usually have found that if a religious title is put before the religious person's name, there is more an openness to variations. People know that the person was not born with a "father," "sister," "O.P." etc. in their name. The difference between a legal name and a religious name might cause a slight snag, but once brought up, there should be no confusion. The religious person still will use the legal name for worldly records--e.g. bank accounts, driver's ID, taxes, etc.


#6

The name in religion is not a legal name change. On any legal documents the monk/nun/religious will use their legal name.


#7

What about the Pope though? For that matter, what about the Queen? I know she doesn't have a passport, so records are irrelevant in her case. Is it the same with the Pope? He probably doesn't need a passport either since they are probably issued in his name, the way our passports are issued in the name of the queen. I don't think he needs a German passport any more. It's probably detrimental for him to have one anyway, as it could subject him to EU law.


#8

[quote="SgtSchultz, post:7, topic:294585"]
What about the Pope though? For that matter, what about the Queen? I know she doesn't have a passport, so records are irrelevant in her case. Is it the same with the Pope? He probably doesn't need a passport either since they are probably issued in his name, the way our passports are issued in the name of the queen. I don't think he needs a German passport any more. It's probably detrimental for him to have one anyway, as it could subject him to EU law.

[/quote]

The Holy Father does have a passport - Vatican City passport number 1 is reserved for the Pope.


#9

[quote="SgtSchultz, post:7, topic:294585"]
What about the Pope though? For that matter, what about the Queen? I know she doesn't have a passport, so records are irrelevant in her case. Is it the same with the Pope? He probably doesn't need a passport either since they are probably issued in his name, the way our passports are issued in the name of the queen. I don't think he needs a German passport any more. It's probably detrimental for him to have one anyway, as it could subject him to EU law.

[/quote]

The Pope doesn't need a German passport per se, but he still would have German citizenship. Nobody has only Vatican citizenship -- it's always given as dual citizenship in addition to the person's home country's citizenship, and only for the duration that they'd have work relevant to it. Then if for some reason your citizenship with your home country would lapse, you'd be granted Italian citizenship.

In any case, the Vatican follows Italian law whenever specific Vatican law doesn't apply. Since Italy is part of the EU, then I guess that means the Vatican has to follow EU laws too, at least to some extent. Indeed, the Vatican currency is the Euro.

Are the intricacies of these laws fascinating, or am I just a big geek?


#10

[quote="PerfectTiming, post:2, topic:294585"]

Most communities will not allow the same name to be had by two living members of the community.

[/quote]

Thanks for the responses so far.

What would happen if a nun in one community had to be transferred to another community that happened to have a nun with the same name?


#11

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:10, topic:294585"]
Thanks for the responses so far.

What would happen if a nun in one community had to be transferred to another community that happened to have a nun with the same name?

[/quote]

Uasually what would happenn is the name would be modified. for example, I once knew a Fr. Gabriel of the Passionists whose name became Fr. Joseph Gabriel when he became part of a Benedictine community


#12

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:9, topic:294585"]
Nobody has only Vatican citizenship -- it's always given as dual citizenship in addition to the person's home country's citizenship, and only for the duration that they'd have work relevant to it.

[/quote]

Wait a minute. Citizenship isn't something that only applies to a period of work. Citizenship is much more than that. You don't give it up when a period of work ends. Residency maybe, or a work visa, but not citizenship -- that's seen as something that's "for life". Indeed, the final step in the immigration hierarchy in a country is attaining what is called "permanent residence".

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:9, topic:294585"]
In any case, the Vatican follows Italian law whenever specific Vatican law doesn't apply. Since Italy is part of the EU, then I guess that means the Vatican has to follow EU laws too, at least to some extent.

[/quote]

But the Vatican is a sovereign, independent nation state. Just because it is landlocked and surrounded by Italy doesn't mean it's part of Italy or the EU. The Vatican is not even in the EU. It has diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognises it as the legitimate heir to the name "China".

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:9, topic:294585"]
Indeed, the Vatican currency is the Euro.

[/quote]

So do other countries. This doesn't mean either they or the Vatican are part of the EU. Iceland was dabbling with the possibility of using the Canadian dollar for its currency. This wouldn't make it part of Canada.


#13

[quote="SgtSchultz, post:12, topic:294585"]
Wait a minute. Citizenship isn't something that only applies to a period of work. Citizenship is much more than that. You don't give it up when a period of work ends. Residency maybe, or a work visa, but not citizenship -- that's seen as something that's "for life". Indeed, the final step in the immigration hierarchy in a country is attaining what is called "permanent residence".

[/quote]

Not so. The Vatican has different rules for citizenship. See here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City#Citizenship

"citizenship of Vatican City is granted jus officii, namely on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment.
(...)
Anyone who loses Vatican citizenship and does not possess other citizenship automatically becomes an Italian citizen as judged by Italian law."


#14

Also I didn’t say the Vatican is part of the EU. What I said is that their laws make them subject to Italy’s laws, Italy’s laws are subject to the EU’s laws, so the Vatican is subject to the EU’s laws.

The Lateran Treaty:
vaticanstate.va/NR/rdonlyres/3F574885-EAD5-47E9-A547-C3717005E861/2528/LateranTreaty.pdf/
“Italy will provide within its territory for the punishment of crimes committed within Vatican City, except when the author of the crime will have taken refuge in Italian territory, in which event he will be certainly prosecuted according to the provisions of Italian laws.”

So if you commit a crime in the Vatican, you could be prosecuted according to Italian law. Even though it is an independent state, it’s still subject to Italian law wherever specific Vatican law doesn’t apply or object.

Also see here
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7807501.stm
"All Italian laws will be examined one by one before they are adopted. Under the Lateran treaties signed exactly 80 years ago between Italy and the Pope, and the Italian Parliamentary system, Italian laws were applied automatically."

The nature of Vatican sovereignty, citizenship and law are a bit quirky and are unique only to them.


#15

Interesting, I stand corrected!

So the Vatican needs to provide individual assent for all laws passed after the enactment of that treaty, right?

And being subject to Italian Law, in cases where there is no conflict with Vatican Law, still doesn't mean the Vatican needs to adhere to EU law, right?


#16

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