Pope John Paul 11 – a force for good but flawed

Pope John Paul 11, born 100 years ago today, is regarded as one of the ‘greats’ for helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually the rest of Europe, and significantly improving the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. But a Polish documentary on child abuse by Catholic clerics has put a damper on the centenary celebrations in his home country. The documentary maker has made waves with two films on the subject so far, seen millions of times on YouTube and says he will release a third on the “role of John Paul II in the dissimulation of crimes committed by priests”.  Although mouthing the right sentiments he was heavily criticised for discontinuing investigations into Marcial Maciel of the Legion of Christ, a major fundraiser for the Vatican, who was removed later after JP’s death for widespread abuse.

Pope John Paul 11 was generally regarded as conservative on abortion, contraception, the ordination of women and celibate clergy.

He was born 18 May 1920 5.30 pm Wadowice, Poland, started to study for the priesthood during World War 11 in an underground seminary and was involved in the escape of Polish Jews from the Nazis. His mother died in 1929, his father in 1941 and an older brother was also gone – all by the time he was twenty.

He had an intense, deeply buried and enduring and stubborn 8th house Taurus Sun conjunct a Gemini Moon. With his Moon on the focal point of a T Square to an autocratic Saturn in Virgo opposition Uranus, making him well-suited to a public life but not always practising what he preached. He had an ethereal, compassionate and optimistic Jupiter Neptune in Leo conjunct his Midheaven square a 7th house Venus in earthy Taurus. He could turn on the charm when needed; but he also had a dogmatic Pluto in the 9th so would dig his heels in when it came to discussions.

His Mars in Libra in the 12th was unaspected which would make him single-minded, uncompromising, driven to constant activity. Tierney remarks of an unaspected Mars that negative manifestations are likely to be unconscious – and given that he had two serious accidents during the war years and a near-terminal assassination attempt it may be his Mars drew ‘collisions’ towards him.

When he was shot in 1981 tr Pluto was exactly conjunct his Mars which is a classic high-risk influence. Tr Uranus was retrograding in opposition to his Sun; tr Saturn was square his Solar Arc Midheaven and Solar Arc was approaching the square to his Midheaven – a perfect storm of difficult aspects.

His Election chart did have a volatile and explosive Mars Uranus in the 7th and tr Pluto was exactly conjunct the Libra Sun when he was shot. That chart has Saturn in the 5th house of children, perhaps a hint from the start of an overly-rigid attitude towards the subject of child abuse.

His chart did fit well with the Vatican since his Sun was conjunct the Vatican Jupiter and Midheaven; with his Gemini Moon chiming with the Vatican New Moon in Gemini. The relationship chart had a composite New Moon suggesting a complementary relationship – more whole when together – with a ‘power-couple’ Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

The faithful may regard him as the greatest and he undoubtedly made a difference for the better in many areas – but history will point out his flaws and his rigidity on progressive reforms and child protection.

6 thoughts on “Pope John Paul 11 – a force for good but flawed

  1. I remember when Pope Paul VI died in June, 1978. Then, when John Paul II died a few months later. I had a book of jokes from Silesia (in Silesian dialect) and one of the punchlines was, “The Pope can only be an Italian.” After JPI died my first thought was, the next Pope will be a Pole. I immediately dismissed that thought, because the most beloved Polish Cardinal, Stefan Wyszyński, was too old. Just imagine, when Pope JPII was elected, the excitement in Poland, where I lived at the time! I went to my book of Silesian jokes and wrote “nieprawda!” (not true) on the joke about “Papież może być ino Włoch” (translation above). In Poland, we loved JPII because he (not Reagan, as some believe) was the catalyst for the end of Communism. As a bleeding heart liberal, I did not, and do not, agree with JPII’s ultraconservative views, but his papacy had great value to the Eastern Bloc and I acknowledge and am grateful for that.

  2. Pope John Paul II was truly a interesting and remarkable person. He traveled to so many different countries and he had a more enlightened and progressive views than many previous Popes. I’m from a Spaniard / Latinx Roman Catholic background but I’ve always been very secular. I gravitated towards New Age Thought by the time I was a teenager and now I’m in my late 30s and identify as a “New Age Secular Roman Catholic.”

    Pope John Paul II (as well as our current Pope Francis) make me thankful I was born into Roman Catholicism (I’m so thankful I was NOT born a Protestant) because our religion is full of great works of art, architecture, mysticism, intellect, unique ancient traditions.

    Anyway, Pope John Paul II died just one day after my birthday (my birthday is April 1st) in 2005. I was very disappointed when Pope Benedict XVI (whom I’ve never cared for) was coronated in his place.

    I was happy when Benedict abdicated though. Pope Francis (our first Latinx Pope) reminds me so much of Pope John Paul II and he’s an advocate for social justice.

  3. Didn’t he also save the life of many Jews from the Holocaust? That is also a huge part of who he was, for which he should be remembered.

  4. I saw him at a Vatican Audience back in 1994 at a mega audience with a Youth Group. Most were not Catholic, and the ones who were mostly weren’t appreciative of the moment, but there was a girl from Latvia, who was of Lithuanian/Polish orgin and deeply Catholic, and I was very angry at “cool kids” mocking her faith. Not to mention all the real pilgrims who weren’t there just because someone had pulled strings and got them not only to this exclusive event, but to Vatican Gardens (gorgeous) and some semiprivate rooms as well.

    Pope John Paul II himself seemed already frail, and now, thinking that he was “just” 74 seems incredible. He was also talking about the theological subject matter I probably disagreed with him the most, the role of women in congregation. I had seriously entertained the idea of studying theology up until a year before, and still had religious studies on my long list of possible majors, and felt passionately about patriarchy in organized religion.

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