By Barbrara McAllister
Word of the Day: Clement
The word clement comes from the Latin clemens, meaning calm or mild. Weather can be clement or inclement depending on conditions. Acts can also be clement and judges inclined to clemency are lenient. The name Clement means merciful, and it was the name chosen by 14 popes, although some of them might not be remembered for their clemency. Pope Clement V helped crush the Knights Templar in the 1300s. Their trials were held before him and resulted in confessions of immorality and heresy thanks to gruesome interrogation tortures. The head templar and his associates were burned at the stake and the order was effectively disbanded.
In the 1500s, Pope Clement VII angered Henry VIII by refusing to declare Henry’s marriage to his first wife invalid so Henry could marry Anne Boleyn. It led to the beheading of Thomas More and the great religious split from the Catholic Church in England. In 1770, a more clement Pope Clement XIV awarded a papal order of knighthood to 14-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart after witnessing his musical brilliance.
In 2017 the name Clement was ranked at 3,075 in the US for boys on babycenter.com, a popular website that tracks baby names. By 2019 it dropped to 7,872. The name reached its height of popularity in 1891, when it was ranked at 275. From the first tracking in 1880 to 1944 it remained in the top 500 male names until eventually it declined in popularity.