IDEAS UNSPOKEN, IMAGES SHOWN
This article conveys some strange facts I must introduce carefully.
Popes are not supposed to be gay, but historically numbers of them have been. Today some might say it shouldn’t be a problem, certainly no crime to their name, if we discovered they could still be gay - unless they were so “scandalously” with choirboys not safe near them. But if they were discreet, if it had been a case rather of one or two favourites, or romances, and they were assumed to be more or less celibate anyway, these milder pictures would pass - or would they?
As a biographical detail the sexual orientation of elderly pontiffs if not dismissed as unimportant could even be deemed (today at least) an advantage for understanding certain pastoral problems or the phenomenon of “gay spirituality”. I believe such a spirituality exists and can be positive and I have written at length on it by way of assessment. However, while precisely “pictures” suggestive of interests, dispositions or whatever in a pontiff might pass censorship barriers - the Italian press has recently dealt in images of Pope Benedict with a secretary they have dubbed, “Beautiful George” along with jokes about prada shoes, trendy accoutrements and arrays of handsome associates - meaningful words and ideas remain harder to admit. In two years I have never been able to put forward issues around gay spirituality with Pope Benedict mentioned as possibly relevant to the larger scheme of things. Easy public acceptance regarding whatever might be the truth about ruling popes still can’t be counted on.
With rank scandal to report there would be unstoppable interest, perhaps outrage. Given anything less spicy no matter what the facts and their potential to influence policies and attitudes these can finish closer guarded than Fort Knox, reference to them more scandalous than scandal itself. What then really is involved for the individual concerned and/or public attitudes to homosexuality more generally in thinking, imagining, or assuming any Pope could be gay?....
A PRIEST SURPRISES ME
When Pope Benedict was elected in ‘05 I was keen to look into what people and the skies (astrology) might be saying about the possibility this pontiff was the last in a long line as per a controversial, centuries old Prophecy of the Popes attributed to the Irish St Malachy. I was struck, as were even astrologers uninterested in the forecast, by a dangerous quality to Ratzinger’s natal pattern. It was in examining this that it struck me this person might actually be gay (even if he was pronouncing in ways more associated with internalized homophobia). While of course one can’t be 100% sure about such things with experience it’s often possible to tell with reasonable certainty.
Hesitatingly I mentioned my thoughts to a well connected priestly friend. He astonished me by laughing and exclaiming “but of course the Pope’s gay”. It seemed to me he could hardly hope to know for certain any more than I did myself. However he assured me that a friend, a top religion reporter, had drawn the conclusion from years of observation. I asked, if such was the friend’s conclusion, why he didn’t reveal it to the world since people’s lives and beliefs are being affected by someone whose approach to gay issues could be considered interested. Well, the reporter didn’t consider it discreet.
"Discretion” is what quite a few people and leaders of opinion seem to want to keep. Gay circles in Rome were soon expressing controversial opinions about the new Pope and a few statements appeared on the Net accordingly but curiously all such report, liable to be dismissed as gossip and rumour only, never got or gets beyond the smallest notice. The bearers of tales could report the likes of Reuters didn’t want to know. Nor seemingly did the gay media. While gossip for its own sake is unpleasant in this case it was almost as though:
a) Whatever the truth a Pope must be protected at all costs from the stain of being considered, in essence, gay, although today we are not supposed to consider it is this, and
b) while overt behaviour would make for interesting scandal a Pope couldn’t hope to escape, the more vital issue of a gay/queer disposition or spirituality at work remains forbidden territory. Do we really now consider sex such a be-all and end-all it’s more important than the mind it merely expresses?
The following is not a “discreet” article. It contains its own species of facts for consideration because, whether Pope Benedict is rightly deemed homosexual or not, what’s certain is that before and after papal election he has spoken against gay rights, acts, culture, and marriage etc as sin, folly, a threat to western society and considers the homosexual condition “objectively disordered”. So, whatever the personal truth, arguably his orientation should be more public property than it is.
Even so, I would emphasize I’m not trying to prove that Pope Benedict, if gay, is the conscious hypocrite some might like to make him, though I think in view of what’s proposed here he could be lacking in self awareness and understanding including about how "gay" and "queer" can be defined. (One assumes that the understanding from which Benedict – usually - pronounces on same sex issues is the “existential” one that certain acts alone are what make the gay person truly gay as opposed to the “essentialist” position that one has a disposition with psychological consequences no matter what one’s “acts” or lack of them. On the other hand if an innate disposition can be assumed in people – this is always disputed - Ratzinger would prefer none of it in holy orders, even if celibate, as being something too dangerous. Thus he would seem to be more extreme than many catholic clerics in this area).
It is possible for a person to hate and deny their inclinations rather than work with them as gay spirituality would recommend can usefully and successfully be done. While avoidance of self can be misguided in many cases (if one were a thief it obviously wouldn’t be) in fairness it is not necessarily hypocritical if the person is making efforts as they understand it.
AN ACADEMIC SURPRISES ME
In favour of a theory of a gay Ratzinger in denial I do have one troubling story come to me through academic associates and someone I have met, a former pupil of Ratzinger many years ago. This (straight male ) person dislikes Ratzinger to this day because the latter doggedly refused to address or even look at him the whole time he was his pupil. This remains inexplicable to the person concerned, but is it so unreadable ? This could represent a tale of a younger, perhaps more fanatic Ratzinger who today has got beyond such asceticism/custody of the eyes(?) behaviour. Someone who was actually a co-student of the young Ratzinger, maverick theologian, Uta Ranke-Heinemann, says somewhere that her classmate seemed to lack “all eros”. But perhaps he would do so only in the eyes of a heterosexual woman like herself? How might others perceive the enigmatic style with which Ratzinger has long puzzled at any rate male and female heterosexuals?
Since unlike these people I haven’t met Ratzinger and so can’t make personal judgements I shall expound here on all that I can know. This is some very striking data from the new style astrology which speaks in ways that even a layperson can understand and in this instance strangely, descriptively and almost amusingly seems determined against all statistical probability to make a gay point. The data (16.4.1927, Marktl, Germany, 4.15am CET) may even persuade you there’s more to astrology than modern skepticism had permitted you to think.
READING GAY SKIES
Ask the average astrologer if he can read gay orientation in a horoscope and he’ll probably tell you, no, though he/she may concede there are some pointers. The position of the planet Uranus is nonetheless deemed important and it’s long been known that certain aspects frequently crop up like the moon to this separative and gay linked planet. Moon/Uranus neatly reflects how gay males dissociate from the opposite sex. Even so, your astrologer probably won’t be using, and may not know of, a mathematically determined Part of Homosexuality (this writer has it conjunct his natal sun) and a collection of gay asteroids that help fix and describe matters more exactly with higher levels of probability.
And let’s be clear that however improbable the matter may seem, asteroids really work and very clearly so and not just for gays. For example, there’s an asteroid, Bali. Australia's Schapelle Corby, famously imprisoned in Bali, has Bali conjunct her natal Saturn, principle of restriction and sorrow. The pessimistic philosopher, Schopenhauer, whose name is a byword for pessimism, has his name exactly on the cusp of his ninth house of religion and philosophy. Innumerable meaningful coincidences of this sort regularly occur. They happen for Ratzinger too. Suggestive of his huge influence and powers of communication in the world, his urbi et orbi voice, the asteroid, Ratzinger (there actually is one!) conjuncts his Mercury (communication) from his first house of personal image. Also Benedix (his real latin name as Pope) conjuncts his Midheaven of destiny, reputation and career from within – of course ! - his ninth house of religion.
So asteroids work and they make for greater accuracy in navigating the still little charted area of gay astrology. So far the main gay/queer asteroids are Sappho, Ganymede, Antinous, Gaily, OscarWilde, Leatherman, Barney (relevant to a type of lesbianism through association with Natalie Barney, “Pope of the Lesbians”) and Fruits. Yes, even Fruits works. I have found it has something to do with strong camp/drag tendencies - the late radical activist, Harry Hay, who founded the Radical Faeries had it closely conjunct his Venus (where else?) and trashy film actor, Divine, had it rising in his natus (i.e. linked to his body image) and aspected to aggressive Mars besides, so he really pushed camp trash!
Objections that non gays may likewise show these asteroids significantly placed can be explained and dismissed. We aren’t surprised to find the likes of Radclyffe Hall (pioneer of modern lesbian fiction) with Sappho conjunct her Venus but straights can have Sappho prominent too. In that case they are likely to have gay friends or siblings or some life situation that makes homosexuality important for them.
Gaily, perhaps the preeminent gay asteroid (combining as it does English and French Gay/Gai with the gay letter L or Greek Lambda, the symbol of gay) can play double in the way just indicated. Australian gay activist and film maker, Tony Pitman, has Gaily suitably conjunct his sun. However, born the same day so too does his near time twin, American film star, “sexiest man alive” and noted lady’s man, Matthew McConaughey. The latter has nonetheless managed to be dogged by gay rumours for reasons we needn’t consider. But we would have to consider, since given the large array of asteroids evidence will always be certified by extreme accuracy of application and cumulatively, that at the earlier time of Pitman’s birth additionally the gay asteroid, Antinous (a form besides of Pitman’s true birth name, Anthony) was exactly rising on the horizon. So one might say Pope Benedict had enough evidence “cumulatively” to support alternative pictures.
POPE BENEDICT’S FATED HEAVENS
The first thing an astrologer would note is that Pope Benedict has controversy and gay associated Uranus rising in his first house of persona and temperament. More on this position presently but as to other planetary factors astrologers might take into account I shall ignore them for the more readable asteroid data.
• Pope Benedict’s sun at 23 Aries is conjunct the most gay of gay asteroids, Gaily at 25 Aries
• Sappho and OscarWilde, making close conjunction at 26 of Cancer, set up what’s called a square, a difficulty and tension aspect, to Benedict’s sun at 25 Aries reflecting his grave difficulties with and dislike of any gay outness and overt gay “culture” these being precisely the two chief gay culture asteroids.
• Fruits is in Benedict’s fourth sector of the home base within conjunction of its cusp. The Vatican (along with seminaries he has been linked with) is doubtless home to quite a few “men in drag” whom Benedict must meet on a daily basis.
• Benedict’s Ganymede, an asteroid much connected to gay spirituality, is in Virgo in the same degree as his sun, 23. This means it sets up a 150 degree quincunx aspect implying “adjustments must be made” which one would imagine they are! Ganymede is retrograding back towards Benedict’s descendant angle (i.e his chart’s relationship point) at 19 of Virgo – spiritual and ideal relationship is favoured!
• Gossip originally focused on a long time private secretary, the handsome Josef Clemens. Jose (Joseph) conjuncts Pope Benedict’s sun. Granted the pope may have a private cult of St Joseph. However….. though there’s no asteroid called Clemens, asteroids very much work by sense and sound-vibe (since the heavens aren’t English!) and there is an asteroid Clemence which when pronounced sounds like German Clemens. It falls in the seventh house of relationships and exactly opposite gay planet, Uranus, which can thus symbolize both some attraction and separation to someone called Clemens. And if there had been some element of separation it could have occurred when Clemens was raised to bishop.
• More recently even the Italian press has drawn attention to the good looking men around the pope and the ubiquitous presence of George Gaenswein, the current private secretary. Perhaps George should be called the Pope’s other face since asteroid, George is within minutes of a degree exactly on Ratzinger’s ascendant (personal image/face/ body ). Anyway, to see the Pope these days can often be to see George, who from his prominent position (determined by the birth time which fixes an ascension point ) ought to possess a degree of influence. This comment incidentally requires me to note that the Pope’s chart is super accurate time-wise and if one applies traditional (i.e. planetary) astrology, was suitably and dramatically aspected at the time of papal election.
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
Pope Benedict’s Uranus, the gay planet, stands in extremis. At 0 Aries, a cardinal sign, it’s very initiating in its potential and it’s on a world point (potential international influence and controversy for things Uranian). It makes difficulty square to Mars, the sex planet not to mention “ruler” of the Pope’s sun, itself conjunct the other world point at 0 Cancer. At ground level in the average chart any Mars square Uranus aspect could betoken a quirky person, accident prone or possibly even an out-of-control, “in your face” gay person which Benedict isn’t. He’s just a bit of-control and “in your face” in some opinions about gays. He certainly has some of the brilliance and quirkiness of prominent Uranus as it affects his academic record and views on a whole range of topics on which he can be an interesting and insightful thinker.
In my experience no sign has more dramatic problems with homosexuality - their own or other people’s - than the ultra patriarchal Aries whether it’s someone like singer Elton John who was years in denial or a writer like the Russian novelist, Gogol, who is believed to have had religious reasons to suicide over it. Benedict if he were gay could have more than one view and feeling about the condition he considers “intrinsically disordered”. His natal Part of Homosexuality, a Part which seems to have quite a lot to do with how gay people regard their orientation, falls in Gemini, sign of the double. It is in tension aspect to Benedict’s ascendant angle (self image in the world) which carries the dreamy, elusive Pisces (itself a sign at variance with the qualities of Aries and hence the basis of the quiet mystic with aggressive rottweiler personality combination that puzzles everyone about Ratzinger). If Pope Benedict had alternative orientation there could indeed be tensions and more than one opinion about what really constitutes “homosexuality” and how its acceptance or rejection would affect his already contested personal image…..
Or so it seems looking at this pattern of the heavens….But of course I’m not a journalist or academic who has met the Pope. And then there are people who would deny a Pope could ever be gay, just as there as there are also people who assert that astrology could not possibly be true despite the most obvious signs. We must all make up our minds on some things if we are not to be denied the option to do so in the way this site emphasizes too often still occurs today even and especially to those of us whose task as writers is supposed to be the questioning of common views.
Still, I should want to insist that I am not in the business of perceiving alternative orientations everywhere and attributing them to every cleric, still less to popes. And I don’t write with malice as I don’t personally think it matters if Pope Benedict is gay (though if he is he should deal with gay issues better). When I was asked back in ‘03 on Irish radio would I as an authority on gay spirituality be saying next I believed Pope John Paul was gay I was emphatic I didn’t believe so, and I didn’t. I do however believe Ratzinger is an interesting, even strange person….and the heavens endorse me for that idea at least. He even has asteroid Wunderlich (German, for strange or possibly queer and this Pope is, after all, German) conjunct the horizon at birth. It’s enough to make one exclaim with Alice in Wonderland “curiouser and curiouser”.