Predicting the Next Pope's Name

Eight years ago, I registered Pope Benedict XVI's domain name three weeks before he was selected pope. Because of this achievement in pontification, I was invited to be on the Today Show, where Katie Couric called me the popesquatter in front of millions of people.

This made me as big a celebrity as the Virgin Mary viaduct stain -- but it only lasted 36 hours. Just when I started getting used to all the attention and began making plans to hire a publicist and have my teeth capped, a woman fell on the ice singing the National Anthem and sucked up all my fame.

Today at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, 115 Cardinals will lock themselves in the Sistine Chapel and won't come out until they've chosen a new pope. Any male Catholic is eligible -- I'm hoping to get one or two votes in the first round -- and when they have reached a two-thirds majority to select someone, he is asked whether he'll take the job. If he says "accepto," he immediately announces his new name.

In the hopes of continuing my reign as popesquatter, I have the following names as dot-com domains:

  • Clement XV
  • Innocent XIV
  • John Paul III
  • Leo XIV
  • Paul VII
  • Pius XIII

Five of these are because I couldn't bring myself to drop them after the last pope-a-palooza. I acquired the sixth, John Paul III, for $75 in 2009.

The Irish betting site Paddy Power has Leo as the favorite at 3-to-1, followed by Peter at 2-to-1, Gregory at 6-to-1 and Pius at 8-to-1.

Don't pray for me to win, because it could be considered tampering.

I wish I had Joseph I, but some other popesquatter wants $1,695 for it. I'm tempted to buy it, but that's too expensive when you factor in the cost of a divorce once my wife finds out.

I like Joseph as a longshot, even though it has never been used before. Because Jesus' dad was a carpenter, Pope Joseph I would have instant working-class cred.

I acquired John Paul III because the Vatican has a tradition of picking a pope who differs from the last one, a sentiment they express with the saying "always follow a fat pope with a skinny pope." Pope John Paul II was charismatic, talented and universally popular -- choosing his name is like picking Justin Timberlake to host Saturday Night Live.

A reporter for the French edition of Slate asked me how much it cost to own these domains. At $13 a year apiece over eight years for six pontiffs, I've paid $624. I never did the math before. Good lord that's a waste of money.

In keeping with tradition, if I win I will issue a list of demands.

Update: Francis?


Shouldn't you also register the domain of Joan II?

Could we pretend that the new pope has been named and chose the name Innocent and go ahead with all the jokes and one liners right now? Please? NO really, I mean it

Dang. Someone already got and

In keeping with today's world How about Pope I PAD 1

Glad to see you're still in the race, Rogers! I'm betting on John Paul III, unless they elect an ultra-conservative, who would be Pius XIII.

Have you registered Tim Tebow I? You never know? Heard he's still out of work.

Tim can't be pope because he isn't Catholic.

If he was, he's first-ballot pope for sure.

If you had bet on Francis, you'd be one miracle on your way to sainthood.

You may find this article article of interest:

It says in part:

"CNN Vatican expert" John Allen "described the name selection as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."
New pope: Scenes from St. Peter's Square New pope: Scenes from St. Peter's Square
Pope will bring church 'back to basics'
Latin American catholics: So proud, happy
The numbers: How Francis became pope

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism," such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis of Assisi seem "irrepeatable -- that there can be only one Francis," he added.


Better luck next time, Rogers.

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