Monday, December 2, 2013


To all you people who thought when they said
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum
that meant the new pope's Latin name was "Franciscum": It isn't. When you are saying what his Latin name is in English you must say it is Franciscus (nominative case). You say "Franciscum" (accusative case) only when you are speaking Latin and he is the direct object of your sentence (Habemus papam Franciscum = "We have a pope, Francis") or of a preposition such as ante (before Francis), ad (toward Francis), circum (around Francis), contra (against Francis), and so forth. Or perhaps if you gave the name to something neuter rather than masculine or feminine, such as an egg ("This is my pet ovum, Franciscum"). It also has, to English speakers, unpleasant and distracting letter sequences inside it, such as "scum". Don't do it.
Gianlorenzo Bernini, Monument to Pope Alexander VII, 1671-78. Uncredited photo via Turn Back to God.

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