Wednesday, April 5
You know, rather than getting one's knickers in a twist over all the great popes who don't get cool titles, why not call both both John Paul and Pius "the Great"? Both participated in pivotal points in the Twentieth Century. John Paul is already Leo to Pius's Gregory--one confronted barbarians from the east, the other helped enrich the Church's deposit of music and liturgy. (Pius also did a Leo and confronted barbarians from the north, but JP II also had Gregory's mystical and theological sensibilities in him, as well, so the comparison's not exact).
I'm serious, here.
I think we also need to expand the repetoire of Papal nicknames. There's only a few. JP II deserves his Great, but it might be nice to come up with some other titles just to flesh things out. So...
Liberius the Pretty Good but for Some Reason did not Make Sainthood (352-66)
Stephen (II) the Brief (752)
Lando the Forgotten (913-914; possibly retired to Cloud City)
John (XX) the-Not-Appearing-in-This-Film
Pius (II) the Poet (1458-1464)
Alexander (VI) the... We-Don't-Talk-about-him-in-Public-Anymore (1492-1503)
Marcellus (II), "As Seen on Palestrina!" (1555)
Pius (IV), No-not-him-But-the-Other-One (1559-65)
Pius (V) the Hammer of Liturgists (1566-72)
Gregory (XIII) the Hammer of...um...Inaccurate Calendar Thingies (or "the Bill Nye the Science Guy of the Counter-Reformation") (1572-85)
Urban (VII) the Generous (1590)
Gregory (XIV) the Shortlived (1590-91)
Leo (XI) the Really Shortlived (1605)
Urban (VIII) the Guy Who Put Bees Everywhere (1623-44)
Innocent (X) the Large Two-by-Four used to Whap People of Jansenism (1644-55)
Alexander (VII) the Often Confused with The Other Guy, but Who Did Nice Things and Liked Architecture (1655-67)
Clement (IX) the Smallish Ruler Used to Whap People's Knuckes, But Which Still Really Stings, of Jansenism (or, more seriously Clement (IX) the Friendly) (1667-69)
Pope Innocent (XI) the Vacuum-Cleaner of Nepotism (1676-89)
Innocent (XII) the Vacuum-Cleaner Special Attachment Nozzle, you know, the one to get the tough little dust-bunnies in the corners, of Jansenism (1691-1700)
Pius (VII), You Know, the One Who had to Put up with Napoleon (1800-23)
Pius (VIII) the Pressure-Washer of Liberalism (1829-30)
Pius (IX) the Prisoner (1846-1878)
Seriously speaking, it's funny that there are so few nicknames in Papal history. There's a couple "the Greats," one "the Good" and, oddly enough one "the Manly," bestowed rather sarcastically on one of the Johns during the early Middle Ages who let his sister boss him around. I guess it could be worse.