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Anonymous M. wrote:

Hi, guys —

Let me give you some background information:

I was informed during a Baptismal Class that my child's name was Okay. The Deacon stated that he needed to look it up. The reason being that the "Catholic faith frowns upon Muslim names."

I told him I have never heard such a thing and I wanted some clarification so we would better understand where he was coming from since he was speaking on behalf of our faith. I also inquired into where he got his information from. The questioning didn't go over very well.

We were even accused of naming our child such a name to embarrass the Church which I would not do thereby placing a stigma on him. We asked, who informed him to inform us. He stated that someone within our religion has but refused to give any more information. It was suggested that we write a formal grievance letter to the local diocese but by doing so it may bring an unwelcoming atmosphere for us. By the way, the origin of my children's names are Hebrew, Basque, and Latin.

So, my questions are:

  • Does the Catholic Church frown upon Muslim names?
  • What is the issue with names given at Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation?
  • If their given names are Saint names, why should they be changed?

Thank you.

Anonymous M.

  { Does the Church frown upon Muslim names and why give different names at these sacraments? }

Mike replied:

Hi, A.M. —

There was some missing information in your original question which makes it hard to answer.

You said:
I was informed during a Baptismal Class that my child's name was Okay.

  • What is your child's name?

You said:
The reason being that the Catholic faith frowns upon Muslim names.
.
.

  • Does the Catholic Church frown upon Muslim names?

I can understand the Deacon's concern. In Christian theology the relationship between The Lord God and his children is a "Loving Father-Son" relationship. In Muslim theology, this would be heresy; a "Father-Son" relationship would not be allowed.

Only a "Master-Slave" relationship would be allowed in Muslim theology.

If your child's name is a foreign-language [Muslim] translation of an anti-Christian sediment,
any non-fluent Muslim-speaking Christian Deacon would be obliged not to allow this.

Example:

If your child's Muslim name translates to English into words like:

  • Master-Slave
  • Sin
  • The Devil
  • I hate Christians
  • I hate Catholics
  • or something that is not in accord with Catholic teaching and theology . . .

It would not be allowed. I am not implying that you would use malicious words for your child;
I'm trying to give you some reasoning why the deacon would need to check things out.

You said:

  • What is the issue with names given at Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation?
  • If their given names are Saint names, why should they be changed?

There are only two times where a name is given:

  1. at Baptism, and
  2. at Confirmation (the Confirmation name is not meant to replace the Baptismal name.)

    It is usually the name of a special saint that will help and assist the Confirmation candidate in proclaiming the Gospel.

This portion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church should help. If your children are named after saints, there is no reason at all why the deacon should be questioning anything about the name.

III. The Christian Name

2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) In Baptism, the Lord's name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The "baptismal name" can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue.

"Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment." (Code of Canon Law, Canon 855)

The good news is that more and more, I am hearing about positive Catholic-Muslim faith-sharing meetings going on at the Vatican.

I think the key is understanding the big theological differences between the two faiths.

If you can tell us your children's name that would help.

Mike

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