Wilgefortis? Philemon? In Search of the Perfect Christian Name

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The Pope is advocating for Christian baby names. What’s a parent looking for a Christian moniker, but striving for something more unique than Mary, to do?

In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s statement earlier this week that “Every baptism should ensure that the child is given a Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit will allow the person to blossom in the bosom of the Church,” the BBC News Magazine has put together a list of “10 Christian names you don’t really hear.”

From Jezebel to Radbod, there’s no shortage of unpopular biblical/saintly names. Philemon, anyone? How about Achsah? Dorchas, however good a disciple she may have been, is a tough sell for English-speakers. True, with long life in mind, you may consider naming your son Methuselah, but that could be tempting fate. And surely the Pope can’t expect parents to name their daughters Wilgefortis, after the saint who supposedly grew facial hair in answer to her prayers?

(More on NewsFeed: “2010’s Most Popular Names: Sophia, Aiden and Isabella Top The List … Again.”)

Perhaps the Pope’s recent call will result in more Catherines, if not Wilgefortises. Though given that we’re living at a time when “people are naming their children after vampires,” it’s unlikely that even a starring role in a teen series would send Gomer to the top of the baby name list.