Francis Konrad Maria Schuckardt (Hadrian VII 1978?/1984?-) was born in Seattle in 1937. He graduated from a Jesuit University in 1959 and briefly entered the priest seminary in Carthage, Missouri, which he had to leave due to illness. Thereafter, he worked as a high school teacher and was very active in the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, eventually becoming a member of its International Council. In the mid-1960s, however, Schuckardt was dismissed from the Blue Army for publically condemning Vatican II, and he became one of the first active sedevacantists in the United States.
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Gino Frediani (Immanuel I, 1974-1984) was born in 1913 and served as a parish priest in Gavinana in Italian Pistoia from the 1940s onwards. Beginning in 1973, he claimed to receive apparitions from Old Testament prophets. On 5 September 1973, he asserted that the prophet Habakkuk had placed a hand on his head saying that the Italian parish priest was chosen to fulfil a great universal mission: “to build a Holy Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”.
The Palmarian church evolved from a series of purported apparitions at Palmar de Troya in Spanish Andalusia from 1968 onwards. One of the seers, Clemente Domínguez Gómez and his brother in arms, Manuel Alonso Corral soon began to dominate the cult. The movement led by them became institutionalized. A religious order was founded, priests were ordained a bishops consecrated. At the death of Paul VI, in 1978, Clemente Domínguez testified that Christ had crowned him pope under the name Gregory XVII. The Holy See was moved to Palmar de Troya and the Holy Catholic Apostolic Palmarian Church was founded. The first pope was thus mystically elected, but he elected his successor Manuel Alonso (Peter II), who in his turn appointed Ginés Jesús Hernández Martínez (Gregory XVIII) his successor. When Gregory XVIII left the church in 2016 he was succeeded by the Swiss Markus Joseph Odermatt (Peter III)
For a detailed study on the Palmarian church, see my 2017 book A Pope of their Own: El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church
Without any doubt, the Legio Maria, founded in Kenya in the early 1960s, is the largest of the churches in this overview. Although it is very difficult to estimate the numbers of followers, some researchers state around one million followers, while some give even higher estimates. During its existence, it has had at least three popes. The founder, Simeo Ondeto could be included, too, but he was also considered the Messiah, and today they are two claimants to the Legio Maria papacy.
Gaston Tremblay (Gregory XVII, 1968-2011) was born in Rimouski, Quebec 1928 into a rather poor family. His father died when he was young, and his mother became a nun. At age sixteen, Tremblay moved to Montreal to join the Brothers of St. John, the Hospitalers. There he was renamed Brother Jean and worked with terminally ill patients. Around 1947, he began to receive apparitions, and in 1949, he claimed to have seen the face of a future pope in a vision.
The relations between the popes related to the Apostles of Infinite Love is a complicated matter. The first pope, Clement XV, asserted that he from 1950 onwards assisted Pius XII and that he continued to support John XXII under his pontificate. To him, both Pius and John were true popes, though enemies in the Curia hindered them from acting freely. In short, they needed help from Pope Clement.
First with the election of Paul VI, in 1963, Clement claimed that he was the only true pope, moving the Holy See to Clémery, the small French town where he lived. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Apostles were divided into several groups, and a Canadian cardinal declared that he had been divinely chosen to replace the founder and took the name (John) Gregory XVII. Several other splinter groups appeared, and after Clement’s death in 1974, at least two other men have claimed to be his papal successor. Continue reading “Modern Alternative Popes 2: Apostles of Infinite Love, France”