Papal Domain Names

The upcoming election and (nearly) unprecedented abdication of Pope Benedict XVI raises several fascinating questions.  What if he changes his mind next week?  Can he withdraw his resignation? What do you call an ex-Pope?  Pope Emeritus?  Your Former Holiness?  It’s also worth noting that Benedict changed the rule on papal elections to require a 2/3 majority in the conclave.  John Paul II had instituted a rule that would (after a certain number of ballots) permit less than 2/3 of the eligible cardinals to elect a Pope.

From a trademark angle, a papal election means another free-for-all on possible papal domain names.  Last time around, somebody grabbed up every address that could be used if you assumed that the new Pope would pick a name that was chosen before.  He then donated Benedict XVI’s name to the Vatican–apparently he just wanted to keep the names out of the hands of a critic of Catholicism.  Perhaps the same guy is doing that now.  Nothing stops you from getting in on this gold rush though, unless the new Pope crosses us up and pick an entirely new name.

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3 Responses

  1. Shag from Brookline says:

    Would this be a pre-emption of the Domain of God?

  2. At, Sasha Volokh notes that the Code of Canon Law of 1978 says at Canon 188 “§4. A resignation can be revoked by the one resigning as long as it has not taken effect; once it has taken effect it cannot be revoked, but the one who resigned can obtain the office by some other title.”

  3. Shag from Brookline says:

    E. J. Dionne, Jr., in today’s WaPo suggests that perhaps a Nun might be chosen to head the Church. If so, the voting Cardinals might pre-empt the pre-empters of Papal Domain Names. How about “Joan I”? [This would be my personal choice for reasons I won’t mention.]