If the Roman Catholic Church has made few infallible dogmatic pronouncements, the Palmarian popes have made hundreds, if not thousands. During his first days as the pontiff, Gregory XVII promulgated a series of new Marian dogmas. Many of them had been discussed in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. In the Early Church, it was taught that the Mary was a (perpetual) virgin and the mother of God (theotokos). Thereafter, it would take a long time before the church made any other binding dogma on the Virgin. In 1854, the Holy See announced a new dogma, the Immaculate Conception, that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. Finally, in 1950, Pius XII infallibly dogmatized the Assumption of the Virgin: that Mary at her dormition (she did not die) was brought to heaven in body and soul (For a summary on Mariology, see Pelikan 1996; for details, see Marienlexikon 1988-1994).
Within weeks of its foundation in 1978, the Palmarian Church would develop this body of articles of faith at a rapid pace. For them, the Virgin has come to have an almost equal status with that of Christ. In short, it is a very Mario-centric theology. Among other things, the Virgin has been declared Co-mediatrix, Co-redemptrix and Co-reparatrix. None of these titles was unknown in the Roman Catholic tradition, but they had not been made dogmas. Other Palmarian teachings, however, are less traditional. According to Pope Gregory XVII, the soul of the Virgin was shaped before the creation of heaven and earth. In fact, it had existed in the mind of God eternally. Therefore, the pontiff declared Mary to be God’s “companion” in the creation of the world, that she in fact was a co-creator (PD 34; PKO, 5, 11).
As Mary, through the Immaculate Conception, was born into the world without original sin, the Palmarians teach that she did not have to suffer at all during her life. Nevertheless, she actively chose to suffer for the benefit of humanity. The Palmarian Catechism also teach that, in Old Testament times, the souls of Christ and the Virgin appeared as Melchisedech and Essenia, who were king and queen of Salem, present-day Jerusalem. They also claim to know that the Virgin was born in Jerusalem on 8 December 5180 years after the creation and at her “dormition” ascended to heaven, in body and soul on August 15 57 AD (PKO, 12, 16, 21).
While Christ is seen as the redeemer of humanity, the Palmarians declared Mary Co-redemptrix, since she suffered with Christ during his life and in his death on the cross. She gave her son’s life for the redemption of humanity in an act of obedience to God. While Christ gave his life through a bloody sacrifice, the Palmarian pope declared that the Virgin suffered an un-bloody martyrdom; she died a spiritual death beneath the cross. (DP 2; TM, chapter 34, volumes 131-139). Still, she is dependent on and secondary to her son, because he, but not she, is God. In the Palmarian Credo, it is stated:
“I believe that Mary is Co-redemptrix of mankind, because She united the pains and countless afflictions of Her life to the Sacred Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, not as mere co-operation, but as authentic suffering of the Passion (CP)”.
The title of Co-redemptrix has not been dogmatized by the Roman Catholic Church, even if many faithful have urged the Holy See to do just that. Several twentieth century pontiffs, however, have used the term or terms with a similar meaning. Thus, it is certainly not an original Palmarian doctrine of faith, though it has reached a more prominent position, making it an infallible doctrine.
According to the teachings of Pope Gregory XVII, the Virgin is universal Co-mediatrix, which means that she is the dispenser of all the graces won through the death and resurrection of the Lord. Christ is seen as the supreme mediator between God and humanity, but as he came to the world through the body of the Virgin Mary, and mixed his blood with hers, the faithful’s road to Christ goes through Mary (ad Jesum per Mariam), a phrase used by the French mystic Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. In Gregory XVII’s second pontifical document (1978), it is stated that this dogma is a direct consequence of the Virgin giving birth to Jesus Christ. Her mediation can be understood in two ways. First, she gave birth to Jesus Christ (the savior) and then she gathers humankind’s supplications and prayers and presents them before her son (DP 2; cf. PD 35). The Palmarian Credo reads:
“I believe that Mary Most Holy is Universal Mediatrix in the Dispensation of all graces, Suppliant Omnipotence — a privilege that She uses continuously, as is well proved at the marriage of Cana, when She hastened the hour of the first public miracle, or manifestation of the glory of Christ (CP).”
Elaborating on these ideas, Gregory XVII dogmatized that the Virgin is Co-reparatrix. This term has a similar meaning to that of Co-mediatrix, but it focuses on the reparing of the broken relationship between God and creation that followed the introduction of sin into the world. By the cross the Virgin suffered spiritually what Christ suffered in his body as to present an offering to God for the benefit of mankind (PD 35 and 45). The Palmarian Creed relates to the dogma in the following way:
“I believe that Mary is Co-reparatrix, because she suffered in Her spirit all the pains that Christ suffered in His flesh, offering to the Father the death of Her son and Her own spiritual death, thus accomplishing a Co-priestly mission with Christ (CP).”
After this, the Palmarians took one further step in declaring that both Christ and the Virgin Mary are present in the Eucharist, as she never left the side of Christ. It is also stated that her presence in the eucharist is in no was symbolical, but real. Not only the body and blood of Christ is present in the Eucharist, but also the Virgin, kneeling beside him. In one of the papal document this is explained in the following way:
“We teach as infallible doctrine that – – – [s]he who is able by grace really and truly to suffer the Sacred Passion of Christ, also by grace is able to be present in the Sacred Eucharist, since, at no moment has Mary ever been, or will be, removed from her Son. Now that, with sure and irrevocable faith, you know this presence of Mary in the Eucharist as Co-adjutrix of the Eucharistic Christ, you have, as a result, more strength to implore Mary, in order that, Mediatrix that she is, she obtain from God all your spiritual necessities, as well as the material if they do not oppose the spiritual. Her presence kneeling in the Eucharist shows her adoration of God and her Omnipotence, which is omnipotence of supplication (PD 45).”
Being born without sin, and not having committed a single sin during her lifetime, the Palmarians claimed that the Virgin did not need to be redemption through the death of Christ; she was “irredeemed”. Apart from that, they teach that if the Virgin had sinned even once, it would have been a contradiction of her being immaculately conceived (PD 31).
The Virgin and the End-times
Although the Palmarian Mariological definitions are many, Gregory XVII also defined the special role of the Virgin in the end-times. Through her many apparitions and particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth century, the Virgin had on many occasions, shown the faithful the road to Christ in order to escape perdition. Apparitions such as those in Paris (1830), La Salette (1846), Lourdes (1858), Fatima (1917), Ezkioga (1931-1933), Heroldsbach (1949-1952) and Garabandal (1961-1965) were essential, but Palmar de Troya was seen as the last and foremost Marian apparition, in which the Virgin made a final call to humanity “during these times of confusion, darkness, self-destruction and general apostasy.” In a 1980 decree, Gregory XVII made Our Lady of Palmar the advocate of the church. She would have her feast day on March 30, the date of her first apparition in 1968 (DP 27).
According to the Palmarians, the Virgin also appeared in other, more violent ways, in order to save Christendom. She had led Christian armies on many occasions and she was on Francisco Franco’s side in the Spanish civil war, which was looked upon as a crusade against communism. They claimed that the Virgin gave Spain “a saintly leader, Francisco Franco, Supreme Chief of the Holy Crusade against Communism” (DP 15, 44). In fact, to Pope Gregory, throughout history the Virgin has been the captain general of the Spanish army. Therefore, she will lead and assist the pope and the Palmarians in the final battles against Antichrist:
“You will find the Palm tree on many occasions throughout history leaning like the Tower of Pisa, but never vanquished,- because the Most Holy Virgin Mary, as exalted Commander in Chief of the armies, comes to the help of the Pope and obtains the great miracle of re-straightening the Palm Tree, and making her more beautiful than ever. After the wintry storm, spring returns, and adorns the Palm Tree with renewed beauty (PD 40).”
Gregory XVII looked upon himself as both the spiritual and secular leader of humanity and with the powerful help of the Virgin. He would lead a crusade for the Holy Land and throughout the world as the Caudillo of Tajo, a kind of apocalyptical Franco. In short, the Palmarian teachings on the Virgin can be divided into two main groups: Marian dogmatic definitions and teachings about the role of the Virgin in the mission of Palmar de Troya. The Virgin, as co-worker with Christ, became the main protagonist in the Palmarian fight against the modern (DP 29)