by Alex Miller-Mignone
After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord. I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to act, even with inadequate instruments, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers.
On April 19, 2005, after one of the shortest conclaves in history, the College of Cardinals elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger the 265th successor to St. Peter, Pope of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. One of John Paul IIs closest friends and advisors, the new pope is at least as conservative, some might say reactionary, as the former pontiff. Ratzinger chose the style Benedict XVI for his pontificate.
Currently Dean of the College of Cardinals, to which position he was elected in 2002, Ratzinger was also head since 1981 of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which until 1908 was known under the rather more familiar name of the Grand Inquisition. In short, for over two decades it was Ratzingers responsibility to enforce conformity within the Church Universal. His style of leadership in this office can be intuited from the nicknames he acquired en route, such as the Enforcer, the Panzer Cardinal (an allusion to the famous German tanks of the Nazi war machine of which he was briefly a part), and Gods Rottweiler.
Born 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, the future Pope Benedict XVI came from peasant farmer stock, though his father was a police officer. He was a member of the Hitler Youth organization, though to be fair, membership was essentially compulsory at the time. And although he was called into service in the auxiliary anti-aircraft unit of the German army in the last months of World War II, he shortly deserted and was imprisoned in a POW camp.
Ordained 29 June 1951, Ratzinger was a professor of dogmatic theology and the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg until 1977, when he was installed as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and created Cardinal. On 25 November 1981 Pope John Paul II called him to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and he was elevated to be Dean of the College of Cardinals on 30 November 2002.
Benedict XVIs nativity shows a strong galactic focus. The Sun at 25 Aries is conjunct Black Hole Hades at 24 Aries, and forms a Galactic Grand Trine with natal Neptune at 24 Leo retrograde, and the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius. This is currently highlighted by transit Plutos recent retrograde station in March 2005, at 24 Sagittarius, reinforcing the third leg of the Grand Trine, as well as by an upcoming Lunar Eclipse of 17 October 2005, which at 24 Aries will conjoin the Sun. The Solar Eclipse of 8 April 2005 at 19 Aries, just days before his election as pope, also fell broadly conjunct his Sun, perhaps providing the impetus for his candidacy. Plutos trine to his Sun has certainly increased his authority and brought him into his power.
The Grand Trine is transformed into a Kite by the addition of Ratzingers natal Mars at 29 Gemini, conjunct the Quasar at 26 Gemini and opposed the Galactic Center. This martial energy may go far to explaining the rather militarist designations he has acquired in his nicknames, and his obvious zeal for the preservation of the dogma of the church.
Sun/Neptune/Galactic Center tied together indicate a strongly spiritual nature, with the implication of global importance due to the Galactic Center contact. John Paul IIs Sun was also tied to the Galactic Center in a major pattern, in his case a Yod. Neptunes retrograde status, however, indicates a conservative or reactionary stance on spiritual matters, and perhaps an inability to see differing points of view. Benedict XVI is on record as denigrating other religions, referring to Buddhism as autoerotic spirituality, offering transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations. He has also stated that Hinduism is a morally cruel religion of false hope, purporting to purify its adherents via a concept of reincarnation which he alleges resembles a continuous circle of hell.
Not exactly the words of a peacemaker and bridge-builder. His natal Mercury at 28 Pisces is roughly square the Galactic Center and exactly conjunct Black Hole Quetzalcoatl, indicating one whose words carry force, but can be extremely controversial.
Benedict XVI has been equally harsh in his condemnation of dissenters within the Catholic Church, and is one of the more stalwart proponents of the ban on condoms which could save many lives by reducing the spread of AIDS in Third World countries. He has offered support for the restriction of human rights for homosexuals, stating that the civil liberties of gays and lesbians may be legitimately limited, and has called Enlightenment ideals moral relativism, and equated them with Nazism.
Benedict XVI has also downplayed the importance of the sexual abuse scandal among priests in the US, stating that, I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of the Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.
A man who inspires controversy, a trait common among individuals with Black Hole Mercury, Benedict XVI has both supporters and detractors among his flock. R. Scott Angleby, professor of history at Notre Dame University, has opined that [Ratzingers] idea of church unity would be to achieve that unity through pruning the church, and purifying it of its supposed dissenters and outliers and liberals. Even supporters such as friend and Ignatius Press editor Reverend Joseph Fessio, publisher of 25 books by the new pope, concede the difficulties inherent in Benedicts positions: Cardinal Ratzinger will present the truthhe will not impose itbut some will dislike it, and may dislike him as a result. Benedict XVI himself has stated, everything falls apart without truth. Thanks to the 1870 Doctrine of Infallibility, Benedict will now be the man determining what that truth is.
As Cardinal, Ratzinger has already dipped his toes into the waters of American politics, when, following a summer 2004 visit from George W. Bush to the Vatican, Ratzinger issued an encyclical to all American bishops stating that they should refuse to distribute holy communion to any Catholic politician who had a record of consistently campaigning and voting for abortion rights. Bushs pick-up of 5 percentage points in the Catholic vote from 2000 to 2004, enough to have swung the election in key states like Ohio, may be based in part on that implied condemnation of John Kerry.
There is one further point of interest in Benedict XVIs astrological storyhe is the first Pope to have an astronomical body named for him. Asteroid Ratzinger, #8661, was named in his honor in 2000. Amazingly, this tiny lump of rock was positioned at 28 Pisces at Ratzingers birth, exactly conjunct his natal Mercury, 73 years before becoming his celestial namesake. At the time of his election as pope, asteroid Ratzinger was at 22 Pisces, thus Benedict XVI was experiencing a Ratzinger Return when he abjured the name which will continue to represent him in the heavens, while donning the mantle of his identity in history.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.