First, the real news. A Geordie (a person from Newcastle) has beaten the world underpants record by donning 211 pairs at once. He began with 40 inch pairs (large) and finished with 60 inch. He commented afterwards: "I felt like if I'd had more pants I could have carried on."
Click to Enlarge
The record-breaking event took place on Thursday evening in South Shields. I haven’t been able to find the time, but between 7.15 and 8.15 there was a Grand Trine between the Moon, Jupiter and the MC. The Moon was in Scorpio (gonads!) and expansive Jupiter is associated with record-breaking. As the evening progressed, Mars (drive) crossed the Midheaven (public event) in square to Venus in Taurus (beautiful clothing - ?)
Anyway, onto the Pope, who is making a counter-attack. His first response to the latest round of paedophile cover-up allegations, which are starting to home in on Himself, was to accuse his critics of gossip and backbiting. The Buddhist teacher I had in my misspent youth was, and is, just like this when he deigns to respond to personal criticism. It’s like these people think so highly of themselves, they are so above ordinary humanity, that they cannot take seriously criticism from petty worldlings. How can ordinary humans have the temerity to comment on one who has a hotline to Absolute Consciousness?
Round two of the counter-attack came from the Pope’s personal preacher Raniero Cantalamessa, who compared the criticism of the Church to anti-Semitism. It really does show that these ecclesiastical hierarchs think the criticisms are essentially baseless, because the whole point about anti-Semitism is that it is not based on anything the Jews have actually done, it is just racial prejudice. In the case of the Catholic Church, of course, the criticism is very much based on things they have done – not just the paedophile priests, but the institutional cover-up, and even tolerance of paedophilia, that has gone on.
To give the Vatican credit, they did say that Raniero Cantalamessa’s remarks did not represent its official view. But the comparison with anti-Semitism is so outrageous that this bland response amounts to a tacit approval. The head of Germany’s Council of Jews was quite right to call the remarks unprecedented "insolence”.
Fr Cantalamessa was born on 22 July 1934 in Italy. He has a very weakly aspected Mars at 4 Cancer. This is the planet to look at when someone is being belligerent. It is not well-integrated with the rest of his personality, so he may come to regret his remarks. Cancer is a tribal sign, so Fr Cantalamessa is defending his tribe, and being weakly aspected, his Mars can express itself, and did express itself, in a primitive way. Furthermore, Pluto is making an opposition by transit to his Mars, revealing and empowering the archaic nature of Fr Cantalamessa’s Mars. Both Pluto and Cancer can be very primitive in their expression.
The Pope’s Mars in pugilistic Gemini is also being activated by a transiting square from Uranus. It is natally square to Mercury, so he has had plenty of years to hone it (unlike Fr Cantalamessa, who isn’t very skilled with this planet.) Even so, accusing your critics of backbiting and gossip when there is a very clear case to answer is not very sophisticated, and shows the degree to which the Pope feels under attack.
I think the Catholic Church is a primitive institution, and some of its true colours are being revealed in the way it is responding to criticism.
This could be a terminal crisis for the Catholic Church. It is a huge issue. Rowan Williams, the head of the Anglican Church, recently commented on BBC Radio 4: "I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now. And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility - that's not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland."
I am sure the same situation must be arising wherever the paedophile scandal has come out. And of course it is not just about paedophiles. It is about the whole culture that has created so many of them. They are symptoms of a deeper sickness. The Church of course does not see it like that, and to that extent I think it will not be able to adapt and survive.
Since writing the above, a top Cardinal has referred to the "petty gossip" characterising the furore around the paedophile scandal, and the Pope managed not to refer to it directly in his Easter Sermon.
The Christian Era began on 1st January 1 AD, and it seems quite reasonable to me to draw up a chart for that moment as descriptive of how Christianity is faring at any given time.
Click to Enlarge
The Sun-Mars-Jupiter Angular t-square shows the evangelistic (Jupiter), crusading (Mars) yet conservative (Sun in Capricorn) nature of the beast. By transit, it is in for a hell of a time over the next few years as both Pluto and Uranus hard aspect this t-square. Pluto has come within 2 degrees of the Angles in the last month, and shows the deep crisis into which the Church is only just entering. The transits show that this crisis is not going to go away. Rather, it will deepen, and it is saying that the Catholic Church has to change or die. At present, it is choosing to die, and I cannot imagine any other course of action under the present Pope. If we look at the progressed chart for the Christian Era, there is a square from the Sun to Pluto that will be exact in one day (5th April 2010). The exactitude of this square tells us just how strong this challenge (square) to the power (Pluto) of the Church leadership (Sun) is. It emphasises that this crisis can only deepen.
It is fascinating to look back 500 years to the Reformation, which split the Church in two. It began in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his criticisms of the Church on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. That year Pluto was in early Capricorn, a couple of years short of an exact conjunction to the Christian Sun.
Of course it is not just the Catholic Church which is influenced by these transits, because the chart we are using is for the Christian Era itself. So we may expect convulsions in other Christian Churches, and that is certainly what we find in the Anglican Church (or Episcopalian Church as it is known in the US). There is currently a split between the US and African branches of the Church over the ordination of gay men that seems almost certain to split the Church in two.
As I wrote in my last post, Popegate, the Pope's Solar Return for 2014, combined with his transits, strongly indicate he will cease to be Pope that year. So I expect to see 4 years of an embattled, disintegrating Church, followed by some sort of rebirth, maybe of an institution that is a lot smaller and poorer, but that maybe has more sense and humility.
The chart for the Christian Era has some interesting aspect patterns, but I think I'll leave that for another posting.