What name will the new pope choose? Some clues in this infographic

March 13, 2013

So the Vatican has released its white smoke, and the Catholic world's next pope is forthcoming. So now we're wondering, what name will he (and it will definitely be a "he") choose for himself? The choice is meant to be a symbolic expression of his approach to the office, so it does matter.

Here, from the Post's graphics team, is a word cloud of every pope name for the last 2,000 years. Some of them have obviously fallen out of favor ("Hilarious" is pretty great) but there are some observable trends and some names that have clearly become popular in recent times, by which I mean the last two to three centuries.


By the Washington Post

 

The text is a little small in this window so click on the image to enlarge.

Of course people are taking bets on which name he'll choose; Leo is the current favorite. Here's Reuters explaining why:

Leo - Latin for "lion" - tops a list of bets placed with Paddy Power, a Dublin bookmaker putting odds on the next pope, his name and age.

The name has a progressive ring because the last to choose it, Leo XIII, helped adapt the Church to modern thinking about the industrial age during his papacy from 1878 to 1903.

His encyclical "Rerum Novarum" (Of New Things) was the first on social justice and defended the rights of workers. It argued that both communism and capitalism were flawed and that the state must work for the common good of all its citizens.

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Max Fisher | March 13, 2013