Those dismayed by the selection of the very orthodox Joseph Ratzinger as pope might calm themselves by couching it in the rhetoric of Howard Dean and Paul Wellstone: The cardinals simply chose someone from the Roman Catholic wing of the Roman Catholic Church. (You could also boycott this blog about the new pontiff.) As pundits try to forecast the influence Benedict XVI will exert on the wider culture, they’ll no doubt comb through the writings of Benedict XV—including an encyclical in praise of Dante. The one thing I’d bet on, though, is more people naming their babies Benedict. And not a moment too soon. A Web site in which the Social Security Administration lists the most popular baby names over the years tells us that Benedict doesn’t even make it into the top 1,000 names for boys.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver
Photo: Arturo/Mari/Agence France Presse/Newscom