Victor Von Prentz (Linus II, 1994-2007?) is a South African, born in 1952 by parents of Irish and German background.  He studied at the seminary of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X in Winona, Minnesota in the late 1980s, but soon left SSPX. Thereafter, he became an independent traditionalist priest, allegedly ordained by an Ucraine bishop of the Byzantine rite and later ordained sub conditione by South African bishop Richard Bedingfeld of the Tridentine Latin-Rite church.

As regards Von Pentz’ papal claims there are a few quite detailed sources about the election, but almost nothing about his pontificate. The official story is that at a meeting in Spokane, Washington, a group of sedevacantists took the decision to convene a conclave in order to elect a pope. On 25 June 1994, this conclave was in fact held in Assisi, where Von Pentz was chosen pope. He accepted the office, took the name Linus II and was crowned on 29 June 1994. Shortly thereafter, the group tried to enter the Lateran basilica in Rome, but was hindered by the police.

One of the participants in the conclave, Brazilian Homero Johas provides some details about the event. He writes that Roberto Gorostiaga from Argentina took the initiative and financed most of the event, and that sedevacantist Bishop José López Gastón invited electors and led the conclave. The participants were Bishop Thomas C. Fouhy from New Zealand, Bishop Emmanuel Korab from the Czech Republic, Bishop José Franklin Urbina Aznar from Mexico, Bishop José López Gastón from the United States, Father Víctor Von Pentz from South Africa, José E. Cháves and Osvaldo Ancona, both from Mexico, Rudolf Gerstner from Germany, Elisabeth Gerstner from Great Britain, Homero and Ruth Johas from Brazil and Roberto Gorostiaga from Argentina. In his article, Johas claims that Von Pentz was very reluctant to accept the papacy, and afterwards held a very low profile.

Of the participants of the conclave, it could be interesting to look at the bishops’ apostolic succession. Thomas C. Fouhy was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1943. He worked in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States, but briefly left the priesthood after Vatican II. Later, he became a traditionalist priest who travelled around to various parts of the world, teaching and administering sacraments. He was consecrated a bishop in 1993 by Jean Gérard de la Passion Antoine Laurent Charles Roux, who in his turn claimed to be made a bishop by Archbishop Thuc, though this is a much questioned assertion. José López-Gastón was a Thuc-bishop through the Christian Marie Datesson line, consecrated in 1992 by Guy Jean Tau Johannes de Mamistra Oliveres. In 1993, he was consecrated sub conditione by Jean Gérard de la Passion Antoine Laurent Charles Roux.

Emmanuel Korab was first ordained and consecrated by a bishop in the Czech Old Catholic Church. In 1994, he was conditionally consecrated in 1994 by José Ramon Lopez-Gaston, and in 1999, he asserted to have been consecrated sub conditione by Pavel Maria Hnilica, a Slovak Roman Catholic bishop who ministered clandestinely in Czechoslovakia, but later lived in Italian exile. According to Korab, the consecration took place in the bishop’s home in the Vatican. The fourth of the bishops, who took part in the conclave in Assis, was José Franklin Urbina Aznar. He was consecrated in 1994 by José Ramón López Gastón.

In 1998, Pope Linus II moved to Hertfordshire in England, where his Byzantine Catholic Community was established. His contact person was a famous German traditionalist, Elisabeth Gerstner, who had been a conclavist at least since the mid-1970s and participated in his election. She died in 2005 and there are signs that by that time, she had distanced herself from Pope Linus.

Some sources state that Linus II was consecrated bishop by José Ramon Lopez-Gaston. Others claim that he, in fact, was consecrated by Arrigo Pintonello (1908-2001), the only Roman Catholic bishop who had voted against every single document of Vatican II and resigned from his office in 1971. Nevertheless, these claims were consistently denied by Pintorello. The group around Linus II, however, did not want to officially reveal the consecrator’s name as he was a Roman Catholic bishop, and they thought that his life would be threatened if the name was made public.

According to some sources, Linus II had groups of followers in England, Germany and Italian, but held a very low profile throughout the years, and even former followers were unsure whether he has resigned, and took the lack of response from him as a “yes”. As he did not answer the letters from Bishop Emmanuel Korab, from July 2007, Korab declared the Holy See vacant, and began to prepare a conclave.

References

Eberhard Heller, “Habemus Papam?”, Einsicht: Römisch-Katolische Zeitschrift 24:3 (1994)

Homero Johas, “La elección de Lino II”, http://fundacionsanvicenteferrer.blogspot.se/2013/08/la-eleccion-de-lino-ii.html

Unanswered letters from Emmanuel Korab to Linus II http://sursumcordablog.blogspot.com.ar/2013/05/emmanuel-korab-y-su-convocatoria-un.html

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