So, how would you pronounce this: Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckss- qlbb1116?  If you said: ALBIN, you win. (You also probably cheated.) This was a ba- by name that some parents wanted to inflict on their child. (Reader’s Digest version: They were angry at the government.)

Across the world, parents have been denied permission to name their child just any old name. There are various reasons for this.

First, copyright violation. Some parents wanted to name their child after brand names. So, “Lego” and “Ikea” were rejected. I have heard of people naming their child “Espn” and so I think there is a point here.

However, there are some legitimate names that didn’t make the cut in some places. For example: “Mercedes.”

Second, some names are tantamount to child abuse. Governments say that they are pro- tecting children from future ridicule and bul- lying. There may be a point here. Some countries have stopped parents from naming their child (ahem) “Cyanide,” “Judas” and “Robocop.” Although I agree that “Robocop” may not inspire bullying. Once again there are some legitimate names that were also nixed. “Peppermint” Patty and “Wolf” Blitzer would have to have other monikers.

Third, some are not allowed for cultural rea- sons. Iceland is particularly stuffy with this.

So “Harriet” had to be renamed

“Stulka” (literally “girl”),. And Camilla didn’t work because apparently the letter “C” is not

allowed. “Tom” did not work in Portugal be- cause they don’t allow nicknames. Sorry To- mas! And parents were not allowed to name their children “.” (pronounced: full stop) or “@.” Apparently punctuation is a no-no.

Even in California you cannot name a child Jose’ because accent or diacritical marks are not allowed. Sorry Jose.

There are more sinister reasons as well. The name “Sarah” is not allowed in Morocco be- cause it sounds too Hebraic. “Mecca,” “Islam,” and “Quran,” are not allowed in China. Take a wild guess why.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare mused: “What’s in a name?” Apparently, a lot. The name of God was so sacred that people dared not even utter it. (It gave them too much control over God.) Last month, our eighth graders got to choose a new Confir- mation name. I liked their choices. (winner: Sebastian – patron of athletes) No one picked Kevin (meaning: of noble birth), but that’s OK, St. Kevin was a bit off. Their names gave them a special, new and singu- lar identity and another patron to admire and imitate.

Thank goodness, no one picked Robocop. But there is a St. Albin…

Fr. Kevin

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