Q: When did popes, such as Pope Francis, begin to change their given names?
—Frank Ellis, Douglasville
A: Mercurius, who was named for the Roman god Mercury, changed his name to John II when he was elected pope in 535. “A pope named after a pagan god — that wasn’t going to go over, PR-wise,” Catholic church educator, historian and author Biagio Mazza told The Kansas City Star in March. Most popes since have changed their names, as did Pope Francis, an Argentine who changed his name from Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he was elected on March 13. Taking a new name has Biblical roots. Saul became Paul when he converted to Christianity and Jesus told Simon he would be known as Peter. “Ultimately, taking a new name signifies a new awareness, a new understanding of self,” Mazza told the Star.
Q: Did the University of Maryland pay the $52 million exit fee when it left the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten?
—R.W. Moore, Canton
A: Maryland and the ACC are engaged in a court battle over the $52.2 million exit fee. The ACC filed suit against the university in November and a North Carolina judge refused to dismiss it in February. Maryland sued the ACC in a Maryland court in January, calling the fee invalid, according to The Associated Press. ACC Commissioner John Swafford said in November that “there is the expectation that Maryland will fulfill its exit fee obligation.” The $52.2 million equals three times the ACC’s annual operating budget of $17.4 million.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email email@example.com (include name, phone and city).