MAY 2005 FEATURE ARTICLE
by Maya del Mar
Joseph Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI, is an Aries, the sign of the challenger. He was born on April 16, 1927 in a German hamlet near Munich. His moon is in the idealistic sign of Libra. (View chart.)
There was a time when there was a broad feeling of hope and exuberance throughout the Catholic Church. It was palpable in the Americas, where I live, and helped to give me hope for a better future. Im sure it did this for many others, Catholic or no. The American Conference of Bishops became a powerful group, who spoke out en masse against war, against nuclear weapons, and for social justice. I would cheer out loud as their statements came out on the front page of the paper.
Liberation theology, which is about promoting social justice, had spread like wildfire throughout Latin America. Occasionally I attended a service, and was happy to experience the fresh winds blowing through the Church, and the renewed participation, democracy, music, neighborliness, and passion for Christs example, all of which were like fresh air. (I was raised Catholic.)
This was all a result of Vatican II, which in 1962 opened up the Church to a new age of democratic participation. At that time, October 13, 1962, Sun was in Libra and Moon was in Aries, an exact reversal of the new Pope Benedicts chart.
(Eclipses this last year, and into April 2006, are occurring across the Aries-Libra polarity.)
And Joseph Ratzinger has been Pope John Pauls right hand, his instrument, his Aries hammer, in reversing Vatican II.
With sinking heart I watched the changes after Pope Paul was ordained. Liberal Bishops were gradually replaced, Pope John Paul frequently invoked the doctrine of infallibility regarding his pronouncements, and there was no more speaking out by the clergy in the United States. Parish priests, as well as bishops who supported them, were replaced or shut up in Latin America. Opus Dei, a right-wing Catholic lay group, which encourages self-flagellation, was instituted.
I watched this huge, influential Church, which under Vatican II was becoming a real church of the people, revert back to a closed, rigid, hierarchical institution under Pope Paul II. An iron curtain descended on the Catholic Church, behind which only the strictest orthodoxy was permitted. No one ever thought to question the connection between this denial of humanity, of life itself, and the sexual abuse which was rampant below the surface. Nor do they still.
Over the years, the name which I saw frequently cited in shutting up and replacing liberal Catholic clergy and professors was that of Joseph Ratzinger. He became well known as a doctrinal hard-liner, and evidence for that reputation was often in the papers.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, popularly known as the Inquisition, was disappearing under Vatican II. It was almost gone, but Pope Paul II revived it. He not only revived it, but he made it the most important of the Papal departments. And he named Cardinal Ratzinger as the prefect, the head. Like any good Aries, the Cardinal put much zeal into his job of maintaining orthodoxy in the Church.
All but two of the current cardinals who voted for Ratzinger owed their appointments to John Paul II.
This selection of supporting only the super-conservative impulse in the Church will continue by its own momentum. It is like the Republican chokehold on the political process in the United States. In both cases, renewed vigor, which is always necessary for viability, can only come from the grassroots.
What now? Catholics are trying to put a good face on this new Pope, but it sounds like many of them are very disappointed.
Jane Kramer, in the May 2, 2005, New Yorker, says that the Cardinals are talking now about cutting their losses for the advantages of a smaller, purer church. But Jane then reminds us that the early church was a place of risk and debate. And look how it grew!
The chart for the new Popes Inauguration is set for 10:00 a.m. in Rome, on April 24. At that time, the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse had begun. Pope Paul II was buried on the Aries Solar Eclipse, April 8. Joseph Odom pointed out to me that this current Aries Eclipse conjoined the polarity of the Vatican II chart. It is interesting that Pope Benedicts birthday is exactly between these two eclipse dates. This timing appears to presage the total eclipse of Vatican II.
Again, a parallel. The selection of GW Bush during the summer of 2000 was surrounded by Cancer-Capricorn eclipses, which is the major axis in the U.S. horoscope.
This is probably more evidence that the old order is indeed going, crumbling of its own top-heavy rigidity. But what a painful process! Sometimes, it feels like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as Dr. Feigl used to say.
The disintegration of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, seems very symbolic.