Pope names


Someone told me today that there’s a finite number of names from which new popes may chose. Anyone ever heard this?



Technically, a pope can choose whatever name he wants–or he can just use his actual name. But, for many centuries, the pope has usually taken the name of a previous pope. So, as a practical sense, since there has only been a finite number of popes, there is a finite number of name choices.


Im pretty sure as an unwritten rule nobody can take “Peter”


Yeah, I think you’re right.


I think someone will take that name again someday. Saint Malachy predicted that the last pope will be Peter of Rome. So I would guess that the last pope would be Pope Peter II.

Here is a link about Saint Malachy and it also leads to his prophecies:


Go with God.



Well, rest assured. If I’m ever elected Pope, I’ll take the name Peter. :wink:


With respect, the “Prophecy” of St. Malachy is considered many to be a forgery. It did not emerge until several centuries after his death and was notably more accurate about “predicting” the Popes that came before its “discovery” than it has been about the popes who have come since.

I think alot of interest has arisen in him lately because Benedict is the last name on the list before the last. Also I will admit that there was a rather good match between this prediction and Benedict (well, sort of, I think it would have been more convincing if a Benedictine had actually been elected Pope).



It would be interesting if someone took the name Peter II, since this would test whether the Malachy Prophecy would be fullfilled, or discredited with finality.


I shudder to think what the world’s reaction would be. We already have people running around saying that the-end-of-the-world-is-happening-right-before-our-eyes-just-buy-my-book-and-I’ll-tell-you-how-to-read-all-the-clues-from-the-Bible-about-it-but-don’t-pay-any-attention-to-Jesus’-comment-that-no-man-knows-the-actual-date; can you imagine what would happen if a Peter II took the throne?


Early Christians had a beautiful prayer known as “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!” which was a prayer fervently asking the Lord to come back quickly and establish His Kingdom. They wouldn’t have shuddered at the prospect of a Peter II occupying the throne of St. Peter, but would have even joyfully welcomed the parousia.


Does Peter Jr count as Peter II?


[FONT=“Tahoma”]I also remember that Cardinal Luciani’s choice of John Paul I as his papal name was quite unprecendented. He took the names of two predecessors (John and Paul) and combined them as one, John Paul. This method of choosing names could become a trend in the future.[/FONT]


Of course … IF the naming of a Peter II were such a sign (there’s some question about the legitimacy of the prophecy; plus, even assuming the prophecy to be true, it doesn’t say “Peter II” – it could be Peter XXIII for all we know). I’m just commenting – mostly tongue in cheek – about the worldly reaction to a second Pope Peter.


It could be trend in the future, but it could also be a confusing one… after all, what happens when a Pope decides to take name of two predecessors who had themselves taken the name of two predecessors… Pope John Paul Benedict Pius :).



On the prophecies of St. Malachy, I have a book on them. I think it ws by TAN. I was asking about this before and no one seemed to know.

Where can I find out if its just a hoax?


True. The prophecy states that the last Pope is called Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome) and not Peter II, although the apparent hesitation or even avoidance in using Peter as a papal name by newly elected Popes as past history shows, would make it more statistically likely that any future Pope who finally decides to use the name Peter II could be the same individual as Petrus Romanus.

In any case the Malachy Prophecy is casually dismissed by many as a hoax.


Legally, there is nothing that could prevent a Pope from doing just that, although such a possibility is highly unlikely for reasons of practicality and convenience.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.