My name is Magnus Lundberg and I’m Professor of Church and Mission Studies at the Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. Though I teach World Christianity and Church History more broadly, my own research is focused on colonial Latin American church history. I also devote much time to the study of Catholic traditionalism and Fringe Catholicism, especially sedevacantist groups and modern alternative popes (“antipopes”).
Here, I publish research papers and drafts on topics that are of interest to me. Most of the articles will be in English, but some will be in Spanish or in my mother tongue, Swedish. Some of the texts have been published elsewhere (as books or articles), but here they will be available open-access. Some texts are written exclusively for this blog.
For more information on my research and publications, see the “about-section”
For my series of articles on the Palmarian church, see the Palmarian page
For my series of articles on modern alternative popes, see the Pope page
For articles and monographs on Latin American church history, see the Church and Mission Studies page
For a great non-academic interest of mine, see the fountain pen page (under construction).
Some of the available lists of twentieth-century papal claimants include a Julius Tischler, who asserted that he was Pope Peter II. Most lists do not include any details on him, while some note that he was born in 1908. To my knowledge, the only researcher who provides some information about the case is Joachim Bouflet, who briefly mentioned Tischler in his well-researched Faussaires de Dieu. Though he does not refer to any primary sources, Bouflet underlined that Julius Tischler was not a real name, but a pseudonym, and that he was not strictly a papal claimant, but a claimant to a future papacy; he would become the last pope.
The main source of Julius Tischler’s claims is his 336-page-book published in 1972: Der Handwerksgeselle: Der Vierte Seher von Fatima [The Journeyman: The Fourth Seer of Fatima.] It is a peculiar book. On the one hand, it is a very detailed autobiography about the author’s first fifteen years in life, following a strictly chronological outline. On the other, the author included many accounts of amazing spiritual experiences, which he seamlessly intertwined with the much more down-to-earth autobiographical narrative. Among other things, the author claimed that he was mystically present at Fatima when the Virgin appeared in 1917. In short, he was the fourth seer of Fatima. Moreover, he was the only of the children who received the second, most important part of the Virgin’s message in 1923. The author’s real name was Franz Engelhardt (or Ferenc Egerszegi) who was a Roman Catholic priest of Hungarian origin who was a parish priest in the diocese of Trier.
A preliminary version of my text on Tischler/Engelhardt is found here
Towards the end of 1927, a suspended Roman Catholic priest, Adam Anthony Oraczewski (1883‒1973) published a 60-page pamphlet in Kansas City, Missouri. It has a bold title, All in One True Faith and the front page features the author dressed in the papal white, declaring that since August 7, he was Adam II, Pope of the Holy Catholic Church.
Among the modern alternative popes, Polish-American Adam II is certainly among the least known and one of the earliest. He lived until he was 90, but we have relatively few sources to his life and even less on his papacy. However, thanks to the two booklets, a few newspaper articles, and some official records, it is possible to write a brief biography. Still, many lacunae and uncertainties remain. Therefore, any further information on Adam Anthony Oraczewski is most welcome.
The preliminary version of the biography is found here
A religious group known as the Palmarian Church plays a quite prominent role in Dan Brown’s most recent book Origin (2017.) Though Dan Brown’s Origin is a work of fiction, as in earlier works in the Robert Langdon series, he claims that the book is based on thorough research. Based on my long-time research into all things Palmarian, I have written an evaluation of the factual claims that Dan Brown makes about the Palmarian Church.
In the text, I first give a very short introduction to the history and teachings of the Palmarian Church to know what we are talking about. Then, I will say something about what “research” is or can be before I turn to my appraisal of Dan Brown’s assertions. There are statements that, indeed, are correct, while there are many claims that are wrong, half-wrong or at least very questionable. My conclusion is that there is nothing that indicates that Brown any individual research on the matter, let alone any thorough investigation, and has misunderstood several things in even the most easily available online sources.
Here you can read my text “Dan Brown and the Palmarian Church. Or What is this Thing Called Research”
Three years ago, I wrote a group profile on the Palmarian Church for the World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP), led by Professor David Bromley. The project website is a very useful resource for those who are looking for good and reliable information about a large number of religious groups, both big and small. It includes a growing number of “group profiles”, but also many other resources.
As readers of this website will know, there has been dramatic changes in the Palmarian Church in the last three years. Among many other things, Pope Gregory XVIII left the papacy and the church. He married and now he and his wife are in prison accused of attempted armed robbery. In short, it was necessary to write an updated profile.
You find the new text here.
In the recent 25th-anniversary issue of Immobilien Zeitschrift, a German magazine dedicated to the real estate business, there is an excellent article on the Palmarian Church, written by Friedhelm Feldhaus. You may think that a real estate magazine is not the most obvious place for such an article, but to some extent, it is focused on the construction of the huge basilica in El Palmar de Troya.
Friedhelm Feldhaus has done excellent research. He read much of the recent texts on the church, but he also went to El Palmar, entered the basilica and interviewed a number of people in the town and elsewhere. In short, the article provides the reader with an unusually good introduction to the history and current status of the Palmarians.
So if you read German, I really recommend the piece, and even if you don’t, look at the images. I have never seen a better picture of the whole church compound from above.
The full text is found here
On June 20, 2018, the Spanish journal El Confidencial published an extensive article on the Palmarian church, the development throughout the decades and the current situation: “Miedo y asco en el Palmar de Troya: el milenarismo va a llegar” . The article is written by Carlos Prieto and to a large extent built on my research and it includes an interview with me, too.
On June 10, 2018, began a new, bizarre chapter in the history of the Palmarian Catholic Church. The Palmarian ex-pope Ginés Jesús Hernández (earlier known as Gregory XVIII) and his wife, Nieves Triviño climbed over the high walls of the church compound at Palmar de Troya.
They were masked and armed, apparently planning to rob the cathedral, but were discovered by a Palmarian bishop who was outside the basilica. According to testimonies, Hernández threatened Bishop S with a knife. However, in the subsequent fight, Hernández was severely injured, while S and Nieves Triviño got less serious physical injuries.
It was on April 22, 2016, Gregory XVIII (sed. 2011-2016) resigned from the Palmarian papacy. He later claimed that he had lost the faith and that the whole church was a hoax. He left to live with Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. For details, see my book A Pope of Their Own, pp. 168‒177.
Here is a description of the events from June 10, 2018, onwards.
Continue reading “Ex-Pope and Wife Attempted to Rob Basilica (with links to articles)”