Father Answers Your Questions 

Question How does a new pope get his name?

Answer Should the new Pope choose to take a new name (it's not required that he do so), he chooses it for himself after accepting his election.

The custom of choosing a new name is thought to date to Pope John II, who chose "John" as his papal name because his birth name, "Mercurius," was the name of a pagan god.

St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base