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14 March 2013

Hoigh toime we had an Oirish Pope!

Don't the Cardinals know that it is St Patrick's week?

The linguistic point is that the new Papa has decided that he should be called “Francis I”. Why, the “I”? Isn't that a little presumptuous?
     How does he know there will be a Francis II or III? The Papacy might cease to exist next year, when the world ends following the nuclear war between China and Japan +America. Alternatively, fashions in names might change and we find the Vatican occupied for the next few peaceful millennia by people who prefer titles like Pope Luc, Pope Elvis, Pope Uhuru or, as was once suggested in Private Eye, by Pope John Paul George and Ringo.
     Logically, the new Pontiff should be referred to simply as Pope Francis until another Holy Father of that name comes along. Or am I being too Protestant in my thinking here?
     Likewise, but outside the religious sphere, I am always mystified as to why Russians talk about Paul I, who was Tsar for four years after Catherine II, until he was murdered with the connivance of his son, Alexander I. There has never been a second Tsar Paul, so why is the much vilified military martinet and right-on enemy of Napoleon still be referred to as “Pavel I”?
     Can any Russian historian help me on this ticklish point?

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