Cardinal Lustiger Positions Himself for the Coming Conclave
The wheels of the Vatican’s Byzantine internal politics were spinning at a frenzied pace in the final weeks and days as Pope John Paul II slipped closer to death. Buried under the media barrage surrounding the Pope’s first hospitalization for breathing problems in early February was the Vatican’s announcement that Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger had retired from his position as Archbishop of Paris. The announcement came on Friday, February 11, 2005, on the day after the ailing Pope was released from Rome’s Gemelli hospital following ten days of emergency treatment.
In itself, Cardinal Lustiger’s resignation as Archbishop came as no surprise. At age 78, he is already three years beyond the mandatory retirement age for bishops, and his resignation was discussed at a meeting with the Pontiff in Rome last November. But the timing of the announcement was very significant. February 11th is a “date of infamy” in modern Church history. On February 11, 1929, the Vatican signed the Lateran Treaty with Benito Mussolini — a move which effectively aligned the Church with the Fascist dictatorship in exchange for recognition of Vatican City as a sovereign state. The Treaty also brought the Holy See a large monetary endowment that started it down the road toward the banking scandals of the 1970s — scandals which ultimately led to the assassination of Pope John Paul I and the election of his Polish successor.
On the tenth anniversary of the Lateran Treaty, February 11, 1939, Pope Pius XI was assassinated. The Pontiff was administered poisoned medications the night before in very much the same way that John Paul I was murdered. Ironically, the date of Pius’ demise fell exactly on the anniversary of his papal coronation 17 years earlier. This 17-year reign is the subject of one of Nostradamus’ most important prophecies:
After the See has been held for seventeen years,
It will change hands five times in a comparable period of time:
Then one will be elected at the same time [as another],
Who will not be too much in conformity with the Romans.
Century V, Quatrain 92
This Quatrain deals with the election of a successor to John Paul II, who is the last of the five successors to Pius XI mentioned in the second verse. Nostradamus foresees two competing claimants to the papal throne emerging out of the next Conclave. One of them will be an Antipope, who is referred to in St. Malachy’s prophecy as the “Glory of the Olive Tree”. In both the Old and New Testaments, the olive tree is a symbol of God’s chosen people, the Jews. Cardinal Lustiger is a Jew who converted to Catholicism at age 14 while hiding from the Nazis in the home of a Catholic family. He has said many times that, despite his religious conversion, he still considers himself to be a Jew.
The date of Lustiger’s “retirement” also corresponds to an important event in the liturgical calendar, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On February 11, 1858, an apparition of the Blessed Virgin made the first of 18 appearances at the grotto of Massabeille. In referring to the Antipope successor to John Paul II, Nostradamus uses a pun on the French word lourde, which means “heavy”:
Through the wild and open desert place,
Will come to roam the nephew of the great Pontiff:
Wearying the seven [hills of Rome] with his heavy [lourde] root,
Through those who afterwards will occupy the vacant See.
Century VI, Quatrain 82
A detailed analysis of this Quatrain can be found in my book (p. 232-239).
In what can only be considered a portent, the death of the sole surviving witness of the Fatima apparitions, Lucia dos Santos came on February 13, 2005. The passing of Sister Lucy at age 97 silences the last voice that might have revealed the words spoken in July 1917 by the Blessed Virgin, words which have come to be known as the Third Secret of Fatima. This is all the more ironic because the Third Secret deals with an unprecedented crisis in the Catholic Church to ensue after the death of John Paul II — the very crisis that is now upon us. (For further discussion of the Third Secret of Fatima, see Chapters Two and Three of my book.) Like earlier prophecies of St. Malachy and Nostradamus, the Third Secret envisions the election of an Antipope, a role which Cardinal Lustiger may be destined to fill.
Beyond its symbolic trappings, Lustiger’s announcement on February 11th was also clearly timed to coincide with the Pope’s health crisis and the open talk of his abdication among the Vatican hierarchy. Only a few days before his “retirement”, Lustiger waded into the middle of the debate by observing that canon law gives the Pope the option to step down. Lustiger’s “retirement” conveniently freed him of the day-to-day duties of Archbishop at a time when he was taking on the role of “stand-in” for the ailing Pontiff, as he did on January 27th at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
At the time of Cardinal Lustiger’s resignation, the Vatican was still faced with the potential dilemma of an incapacitated, possibly comatose Pontiff. An abdication under such circumstances would be controversial and might even precipitate a schism among those loyalists who would continue to recognize the ailing Pope. Therefore, it’s not unlikely that a contingency plan had been formulated to appoint a “regent” of sorts, a caretaker who would act on the Pontiff’s behalf and, in fact, be Pope in all but name. Cardinal Lustiger, a close confidant and protégé of John Paul, would have appeared well-suited to play this role. With the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, this contingency obviously became moot.
Nonetheless, Lustiger’s brief stint as the Pope’s “stand-in” can only have his enhanced his standing as a possible successor. His resignation from the duties of Archbishop also gives him greater freedom to focus on the pre-Conclave lobbying that so often determines the outcome of a papal election.
Assuming the Cardinal Lustiger’s efforts bear fruit, what kind of a Pontificate can we expect to see in the wake of his coronation? To help answer that question, I have prepared an astrological chart for Lustiger’s birth. His birth chart is intriguing on a number of levels, not the least of which is the persistent theme of a “shipwreck” of the Church under his leadership. His Ascendant (the horizon line when he was born) is the 11th degree of Cancer, for which the Sabian image is of a shipwreck during a tempest at sea. Just below his Ascendant in his First House are Castor and Pollux, stars mythically linked with shipwrecked sailors. Regarding the tenor of his Papacy, the most relevant indicators would be his Jupiter and his Tenth House. As to the former, Jupiter is at the 19th degree of Aquarius, for which the Sabian image again involves a sinking boat. In his Tenth House, we find Uranus conjoined with Scheat — an ill-omened star associated with disasters at sea, such as shipwrecks and drownings.
Continuing with the prevalent theme of shipwreck and drowning, his Uranus is positioned in the 28th degree of Pisces. The Sabian image for this degree depicts a drowning man who is often identified with St. Peter sinking beneath the waves of the tempest on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:28-31). Since Peter is the archetypal Pontiff, this image suggests a Papacy overwhelmed by a crisis of faith. This “sea of troubles” motif is further underscored by the location of Neptune at the 26th degree of Leo, associated with Sabian images of a struggling swimmer and an inverted triangle. The latter is a well-known symbol of the water element, which appears to be very disturbed in all of these images.
As analyzed in my book (p. 35-36), Nostradamus repeatedly uses the metaphor of a “shipwreck” to describe the coming crisis in the Catholic Church. In Century II, Quatrain 56, he refers to the power-hungry Opus Dei faction as “those of the shipwreck wishing to seize the Rock”, where the Rock obviously refers the legacy of St. Peter. And in Century V, Quatrain 31, he identifies the origin of the Antipope who will hand the Holy See over to this pernicious faction:
By the Attic land [France], the center of wisdom,
Which is at present the rose of the world:
Pontificate ruined, and its great preeminence
Submerged, a shipwreck amidst the waves.
Since Jean-Marie Lustiger is a French Cardinal, his astrological indicators seem to match Nostradamus’ prophecies quite nicely. His ability to cause this impending “shipwreck” of St. Peter’s bark is also something revealed in his birth chart. Most pertinent regarding his personality and emotions is the Moon, which is in the 30th degree of Capricorn. One of the Sabian images for this degree is the Pied Piper, a man with such a compelling, charismatic persona that he is literally able to lead great masses of people astray. While outwardly appearing innocent and humble, he exercises formidable power over others — a power he can choose to use for good or ill. A second Sabian image for this degree depicts a secret conference, suggesting his ties to the powerful secret society Opus Dei.
Also indicative of Lustiger’s magnetic personality is his Pluto in the First House. His iron will was forged at an early age during his bitter struggle for survival as a Jewish adolescent in Nazi-occupied France. He is a difficult man to know, as there is much more to him than meets the eye. Ironically, however, this enormous personal strength may ultimately prove to be his undoing. Pluto in the 16th degree of Cancer has the Sabian image of Samson overturning the columns of a temple. This suggests that, in his personal fall, he may drag down the Church with him. This “Achilles’ heel” tendency is reinforced by the “heel” star Alhena, rising just above his Ascendant. Alhena is also associated with the “mark of the Beast”, and thus points to the uneasy alliance between the Antipope and Antichrist.
The latter alliance appears in the chart as the nearly exact square aspect between Jupiter in the Seventh House and Mars in the Eleventh. This aspect reveals a tendency to embrace fanatical beliefs and to embark upon “holy crusades”. We might infer that the Antipope will be seduced in this direction by the warrior Antichrist, who will use religion as a smokescreen for his true motives. One of the Sabian images for the 19th degree of Taurus where Mars in found portrays the reappearance of a submerged continent. This suggests that discoveries relating to an antediluvian civilization — the race of Cain — may play a role in the religious “revelation” espoused by Antichrist. Mars is definitely an afflicting, disruptive, manipulative presence in this chart, with its opposition to Saturn presaging Antichrist’s knack for exploiting the emotional scars of Lustiger’s past.
We get the impression that, if not for this disastrous alliance with Antichrist, Lustiger would actually make a great Pope. As shown by the close conjunction between his Sun and Mercury, he is an immensely effective communicator, albeit that the opposition of this conjunction to Uranus betrays a tendency to impose his ideas on others, which may become a source of conflict. He is gifted with peerless organizational aptitude, as shown by Saturn’s trine with Uranus and sextile with the Sun/Mercury. His Moon is well aspected, indicating self-confidence, poise, charm (trine the Sun), imagination and magnetism (sextile Uranus). But Saturn’s square with Jupiter suggests that he will become a “victim of circumstance” — a potentially good man, but in the wrong place at the wrong time. All the wrong buttons get pushed, all the wrong notes get played on what otherwise might be a melodious instrument. Venus in his Third House shows him to be a genuine lover of the arts, with the soul of a poet. But Venus is also conjoined with the star Zosma, which again points to an “Achilles heel” in the form of an unhealed emotional wound. Given the persecution he and his family experienced during his youth, this is quite understandable.
In a chart utterly dominated by Earth signs, it’s as if the edifice of his life is washed away by a great tsunami wave of calamity. When Pope Leo the Great encountered Attila the Hun before the gates of Rome, it was Leo who dominated. But when Pope Leo XIV (the name I believe Lustiger will choose) encounters his Attila, it will not go that way. Instead, the earthbound Pope will be overwhelmed by the Beast of the Sea, as suggested by the Sabian image of the 22nd degree of Scorpio, where Lustiger’s Saturn abides. The image is of a torrent of falling water being swallowed by the sands below, which invokes the scene of Revelation 12:16:
…and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.