Would you name your baby for the pope?

The name Francis was popular a century ago and has been on a downward trend since the 1920 but all that’s about to change according to some baby naming experts.

With the new Pope choosing Francis as his name, experts expect to see a huge uptick in parents choosing the name as well.

From Today Moms:

“The new pontiff will likely change that as he travels around the world, drawing huge crowds and prominent headlines. Variations such as Francisco, Francesca, Francine, Franny and Frank could also get a boost, according to Nameberry.”

“ ‘Popes are not thought to be major fashion influencers, but the significance and symbolic power of this name choice could definitely influence parents to consider all forms of Francis for their children,” said Pamela Redmond Satran, editor of Nameberry.com.”

“ ‘It’s a beautiful name with deep history and resonance and definitely worthy of consideration, even aside from the blessing of the pope.’ ”

Would you name your baby for the pope? Are you more attracted to the name Francis now than a week ago?

42 comments Add your comment


March 15th, 2013
6:02 am


March 15th, 2013
6:47 am

No I wouldn’t.

Mother of 2

March 15th, 2013
6:53 am

Popes choose their names after someone else, so why not? My children were named in memory of someone special to my husband and me. I hope that the new pope will be someone for whom people would want to name their children after.


March 15th, 2013
6:56 am

I don’t really see anyone other than a devout Catholic naming their child after the Pope.


March 15th, 2013
7:08 am


March 15th, 2013
7:19 am

That would never cross my mind. But then I’m methodist.


March 15th, 2013
7:25 am

I would like to see some of the older names come back. I cannot think of single Robert or William or David, nor an Elizabeth or Mary in my children’s classes. Sarah seems to be back in.

They have Zack, Hayden, Hayley and other names. Although admittedly mine children have names more aligned to this latter group. I had wanted Kathleen but their Dad vetoed it.


March 15th, 2013
7:45 am

It seems that every other kid these days is named either Madison or Brandon. Yawn. I’ll take a good ol’ fashioned name like Frank any day. As per thinkbabynames.com, Francis is ranked #127 out of 1,220 in boys’ names’ in popularity.

That said, I agree with George Carlin. You wanna know a good name? Eddy.

Real Life

March 15th, 2013
8:00 am

Our family has chosen to honor family members and close friends when naming children–my parents, my siblings and now the next generation. I am the exception in the fact I am partially named after a WWII general who commanded my father’s unit during the war. No one in the family has names on the current list of “top” names yet none of us stands out from the crowd with our names. I would not name a child after the Pope–this one or any pope. If a family member chooses a name that is similar or identical then there is usually a family/friend connection for that name. Maybe a better topic would be use this opportunity to ask why so many people feel the need to name their child after a celebrity, a world leader or to simply jump on the lasted fad names. Choosing a name for an infant is serious and ample thought should be given to the name you choose. Our family is Catholic and no-one is named after a Pope.


March 15th, 2013
8:03 am

catlady is right...

March 15th, 2013
8:14 am

…we ain’t Catholic so, NO…and my mom was named ‘Frances’ 85 years ago, and there weren’t no pope named ‘Francis’ at the time…


March 15th, 2013
8:35 am

I am really not impressed by the new head Chester of fooled.


March 15th, 2013
8:39 am


March 15th, 2013
9:35 am

People thought I was weird for naming my kid Benedict. . . .

Sk8ing Momma

March 15th, 2013
9:43 am

No, the thought of naming my child after the Pope, or any other non-family member for that matter, would never cross my mind.

Btw, there’s a Frances in a friend’s kindergarten class. She goes by Frankie. I think that’s a very cute for a girl, much better than Frances.


March 15th, 2013
11:20 am

We have cat named...

March 15th, 2013
11:26 am

…Frankie – he started out as “Frank” when given to us, but then had babies so we had to change his name…


March 15th, 2013
12:25 pm

Exciting topic.

I think the headline should read “Would you name your baby AFTER the pope?” Not “for the Pope”. I don’t think he really cares what you name your baby.


March 15th, 2013
1:13 pm

I’d actually name my kid “Pope”. Pope Harrison…..has a nice ring.


March 15th, 2013
1:18 pm

All of my father’s siblings have Saint’s names as middle names because my grandmother is a devout Catholic. I wouldn’t but I wouldn’t think naming a kid after the Pope any more odd than naming a kid for the actress, actor, President, musician, etc. of the week, which some do. And Francis is a whole lot better than some of the other foolery that some folks come up with. Plus, wouldn’t a Catholic kid rather be named for the Pope rather than a piece of fruit (somebody’s kid is named Apple) or something like Pilot Inspektor (Parker from Leverage named her kid this)? I would think it had meaning to that mother and father, the same as naming the kid after a friend and maybe more than just a name out of a baby book.

None of my names are “mine” alone. First name (Angele…not Angela) is my great grandmother’s. Denise is my cousin’s. Cecile’s is my grandmother’s. My mama named me after her grandmother because she liked the name not because she liked her grandmother so it’s not a sentimental value thing. But I like knowing that when I see my cousin Denise that she meant enough to my father to name his child after her. And I’m the only one that has any of my grandmother’s names so I feel kind of special :-) Plus I look just like her so I really feel connected to her.


March 15th, 2013
1:43 pm

Jarvis, you joke but I work with a guy whose name is Pope. He goes by Pete though. I wonder if his name is Pope Peter. I don’t think there has been a Pope Peter but doesn’t it sound like a real name? And we might be related…my last name is Harrison too. :-)


March 15th, 2013
1:49 pm

I don’t think I would name my kid after anyone who is currently alive — too many famous/important figures end up doing colossally stupid things. It would be nice to think that the pope would be a safe pick, but history shows that they don’t always live up to the trust placed in them.

Common Sense

March 15th, 2013
2:57 pm

“…everyone calls me Psych. Any of you guys call me Francis and I’ll kill ‘ya.”

“Lighten up Francis.”

K's Mom

March 15th, 2013
3:32 pm

We named our kids after family members and they neither have common names. I love old fashioned names. George was my top name for my second son, but my husband hated it, William was on the list too. We settled on my grandmother’s maiden name and my mom’s maiden name for his middle name. Our older son is named for my husband’s grandfather and he has my maiden name for a middle name. My husband insisted that our boys have good quarterback names and I insisted that they be believable if they become brain surgeons.

Maybe if we were Catholic we would have looked at Pope names for inspiration. I hate most top 10 names these days. Liam and Aiden are my two least favorite at the moment. My name is a very popular mid 70s name, but I was named for someone. After having 4-5 people with the same name in each of my grade school classes I swore my kids would have more individual names without going to the extreme of Pilot Inspektor or Apple!


March 15th, 2013
3:53 pm

No but I am not Catholic. I have an adult friend named Francine and a former student name Francie. Both are wonderful woman!


March 15th, 2013
5:29 pm

One thing bad about being a teacher is that you can have very bad associations with certain names.

I named my kids, and they have named theirs, with one or more family names. I like that.

I have a friend who named their son Jamison after their mattress. Thankfully they did not have a Sealy Posturepedic!

One year in the 80s I had 3 Jasons and 4 Stevens. Made it easy to learn the boys’ names!

As part of a grad assistant ship I had to create a data set with names of professors and their departments. Quite often I laughed out loud. A plant scientist named dr. Dirt for example!


March 15th, 2013
6:07 pm

I had no idea Catholics named babies after the Pope. Live and learn!


March 15th, 2013
6:36 pm

We might not but you can bet that babies in Mexico, Central and south America are being named for him by the hundreds. Knew a girl in Colombia who’s first name was Lady. After Lady Diana. so, nothing is out of bounds.


March 15th, 2013
9:01 pm

FCM: At my elementary school, we have William (and several Wills), Robert, several Elizabeths, several Mary ___s (none called simply “Mary,”), and a David. We also have several named Max, 2 named Louis, . Last year in kindergarten, we had a whole crop of boys ending in “ton” or “den”, etc — Layton, Layson, Hayden, Caden, Grayson, Holdon, Landen, Jayden. And then we had a mom have the nerve to tell the class parapro she was offended that she couldn’t remember her son’s name.


March 15th, 2013
10:47 pm

@common sense, too funny. No, would not name child after Pope as I’m not Catholic. Have many Catholics in family, none are named after Popes.

Side note on names, for those of you considering the name Jennifer….have a ton of Jennifers in the workplace and on email distribution. Only one of about 17 actually goes by Jennifer but all use a Jennifer derivative in their professional correspondence. Jen, Jenn, Jenny, Jenni, Jenna, Jeni. Jena. Extremely confusing. Please consider what you name your child and how they will present their name in the workplace.

AJC isn't me

March 16th, 2013
8:28 am

Yes, sure—why not?

AJC isn't me

March 16th, 2013
8:41 am

Say Theresa, would you ask your colleague Maureen Downey over on the Get Schooled blog — how many of the past ten Georgia Spelling Bee winners have been black? And how many home-schooled? The Bee is today’s discussion topic.

But asking her those questions apparently gets readers blacklisted. And I’m sincerely interested in knowing the answers.


March 16th, 2013
9:01 am

…how many winners have come from a public school…this year’s winner was from Weslyan and he was not even from India, though his final competitor was of India descent…

10:10 am

March 16th, 2013
10:14 am

I’m guessing the Spelling Bee answer isn’t favorable to Maureen’s liberal partisan agenda. So don’t hold your breath waiting for her feedback …

As for baby names, I’m guessing the mainstream media will use the new pope when convenient—but the name Francis will eventually come to evoke the media’s disdain for his Church and Christianity in general. So parents are advised to take that into consideration.


March 16th, 2013
10:57 am

If the Pope’s name was Steve, yes. Steve is the coolest name going. There are no dorks named Steve.


March 16th, 2013
11:16 am

Steve, I worked with a guy named Steve, and everyone agreed he was a dork. I’m sure you aren’t though – ha ha.


March 16th, 2013
11:19 am

If you name your kid Francis or Frances, he is going to get his a** kicked a lot in school and is likely just going to go by Frank or Psycho. Be a bit considerate. John, Paul, both good. Clement, Benedict, Pius – all no good.


March 16th, 2013
9:16 pm

Sure, but then we are Catholic. My daughter is named Ariana Marie… Ariana means “Holy” in Latin (we found that out AFTER she was born), but in essance we unintentially named our daughter “Holy Mary”. Our son is Aidan Asher, Asher is a name from the Bible and it means “happy”. He was almost named Sean Paul… John Paul II was the Pope at the time! But we didn’t like Paul all that much, so we decided against that one! LOL


March 16th, 2013
9:39 pm

Realist, that is a first. Everyone I know named Steve is cool as heck.

- Steve


March 16th, 2013
10:09 pm

My maternal grandparents’ first names, Mary and Joseph. Yes, they were Mary and Joseph. Paternal grandfather, Thomas Jefferson. Last names excluded. Love the names exclusively. Mary and Joseph have been passed along, separately. Thomas and derivative of Jefferson as well. No one in family has passed along Thomas Jefferson as a first and middle name, thankfully. If we were actually related, would be a different story.


March 17th, 2013
9:58 am

Maybe, just maybe, people will learn to spell it correctly: Francis for a male, Frances for a female!

Another comment

March 17th, 2013
3:43 pm

Catholic babies have traditionally had to have a Saint’s name in either their first or middle name, to be Baptized. Many of the Popes over time have been made Saints. The new Pope choose the name of a Saint so of course you are going to end up with children named after him that are Catholic.

Then again at confirmation the child who becomes an adult member of the church gets to choose there own Saint’s name at Confirmation. That is an interesting one to see what the young adults choose. The Arch Bishop in 20012 asked the first one or two people who choose each name questions about their Saint. he also asked why they choose they saint’s name. Since, so many choose some names, those young adults got harder questions about church history.