OK, so the legal system of Italy is clearly a bit unfamiliar to us Americans. A case in point is the most recent court order not only denying a family the right to name their child "Friday" but requiring that he be renamed "Gregory" (to read the article, click here).
But I was struck by the Reuters piece which explained, that "many priests insist that first names be of Christian origin."
As I said, such a court ruling would be unthinkable in America--at least as we know it now; but who knows how far political correctness will go? I could well imagine American courts a hundred years from now disallowing the names of saints, because, say, the court might think government would thereby be giving credence to the Christian religion, blah blah blah, and therefore "we insist that your child be renamed Mahmoud."
But I digress.
Part of me is actually a bit pleased with those Italian priests. And I think American clergymen would serve our people well by at least suggesting proper Christian names for their children.
The rage these days is to name your child something that sounds good; that has become the chief, and in some cases, only, criterion. So we have names like "Atari," "Kreeshawn," "Charrday," and other ghetto names, as some are wont to call them. Actually we shouldn't really be calling them ghetto names, because the truth is that if you'd like to do a search for a name like this for your little darling, you could just check out the roster of your favorite National Football League team. Those kids certainly don't live in the ghetto.
Whatever happened to names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah, Samuel, Paul, David, or Lois? Or even some post-biblical saint, like Gregory? The Italian court's choice wasn't bad, even if we'd say they went too far in requiring it. Or what about Leo, Anne, Lucy, Nicholas, or Martin? There's a reason, I say, that these kinds of names bespeak strength. They are the names of men and women of faith and character, something we will all do well to emulate.
And here's another old suggestion nobody thinks about any more: consider the date of your child's birth for a good suggestion as to his name. Expecting a child on December 26th? How about Stephen, or Stephanie? July 22nd? Mary, Magdalena, or Mario. April 21? Anselm.
Well, OK, that last one might also be considered taking things a bit far, but you get the idea.