On February 19, 2020, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial published a long interview with Ginés Jesús Hernández. Between 2011 and 2016 he was Gregory XVIII, the pope of the Palmarian Catholic Church. In April 2016, he left the papacy and the church and moved to his girlfriend Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. Shortly after leaving El Palmar, he publicly claimed that the church was a hoax (see my summary of the events).
In June 2018, once again the couple made front-page news when the Spanish press reported that they had climbed over the high wall of the church compound in an attempt to rob the very centre of the Palmarian Church: the Basilica in El Palmar de Troya. In a subsequent fight, both two Palmarian bishops and the couple were wounded. Ginés Hernández was very severely injured, being stabbed in the chest. Still, he recovered and both he and his wife were prosecuted for armed robbery. In May 2019, they were sentenced to prison for six and five years respectively, but directly released on probation (see my summary of the events).
In his first, and according to himself last interview after being released from prison, Ginés Hernández (GH) gives his version of what happened in June 2018. Here, I summarise the contents of the article in El Confidencial.
According to GH, he and wife Nieves Triviño (NT) did not go to El Palmar de Troya to rob the basilica. He had been in contact with one of the Palmarian bishops, Fr. F, who stated that he wanted to leave the church and said that he would be able to provide GH with important information about the church’s inner affairs. GH has claimed that soon after he left the papacy, somebody broke into their apartment and stole a hard disk, where he kept much information about the church that he had collected throughout the years.
According to GH on June 10, 2018, he and NT arrived in El Palmar de Troya at about 6:30 AM. They had made plans to meet Fr. F and he told them that he had left the keys to the church compound near the Cruz Blanca, a large cross that is located just outside the compound. It used to be a meeting place for other seers at El Palmar who was not affiliated with the Palmarian Church. GH called Fr. F, who told him that it was not possible to meet until the evening. Therefore, the couple had to wait hidden behind the church compound.
At about 6:00 PM, GH and NT went into the compound using the keys and then entered the doors of the monastery, which was open. But instead of Fr. F, they met another bishop, Fr. S and soon three other bishops, A, J and L, came there. GH and NT realised that it was a trap and there was a fight between all of them. As a result, Fr. A broke his tibia and his left fibula, Fr. S received several injuries by a knife as did NT, while GH was very severely injured. According to his testimony, it was Fr. L who stabbed him in the chest using a cutter.
The journalist also asks GH about his experiences in prison. He states that he had a rather hard time, not knowing how long he would have to stay there, but that he was well treated by the other prisoners. When he was in prison, some policemen came questioning him about what he knew about violence, sexual abuse, suicide attempts and money laundry within the Palmarian church. GH tried to negotiate with the police. He said that he would tell them where the church kept its stash of weapons in exchange for a less severe verdict, but they turned down his offer
In the interview, GH claims that the Palmarians keep a lot of weapons but that they are not found on the compound any more. When he was the pope, he ordered that they should be moved elsewhere. According to him, the church owns a stash of rifles, machine guns, pistols, and lots of ammunition which they have acquired illegally.
GH denies that he stole any money when leaving the church though he had the keys to a security box that was found in the basement of the cathedral. At the time he left, there were about 300,000 Euros in cash in the security box, and the church had around 270,000 Euros on a bank account that he had access to. He also states that during his five years as the pontiff, the church spent about 6 million Euros to finish the works on the cathedral. In short, the Palmarian church handled large amounts of money, mainly cash.
When the journalist asks if he regrets something, GH states that he should have remained pope a few months longer, as he is convinced that he could have closed down the whole church. Still, he does not explain how he would have done it, but he is convinced that the Palmarian church soon will break down. He says that at least, there will be “a schism within the schism”, i.e., that the Palmarian church will split into smaller groups.