Holy Week in 2005 was a crucial time in the history of the Palmarian Church, as Gregory XVII died on March 21. In later years, he had become increasingly invisible in the life of the church and only appeared in Palmar de Troya on very special religious festivities, being carried in his gestatorial chair, tiara, miter or white biretta on his head. At his death, there was no conclave as he had already named Father Isidoro María his successor. The latter was crowned on March 24, taking Peter II as his papal name (ABC March 23, 24, 27, 2005). It is not known whether he regarded himself as Petrus Romanus, the last pope in the history, according to the prophecies of St. Malachy.
Here is a list of important events in the history of the Palmarian movement that became the Palmarian Catholic Church.
1968 (March 30): Four girls reported having seen a ”very beautiful lady” at the Alcaparrosa field, just outside Palmar de Troya, a town in Spanish Andalusia. The apparition took place by a mastic tree (lentisco), and the woman was identified as the Virgin Mary.
1968 (April onwards): Several other people, most of them women, claimed to have received apparitions at the site. The stories attracted large groups of people from the region, other parts of Spain, and from abroad.
1968 (October 15): Clemente Domínguez Gómez and his friend Manuel Alonso Corral from Seville visited Palmar de Troya for the first time.
1969 (July onwards) Clemente and Manuel began to travel frequently to Palmar de Troya.
1969 (August 15): Clemente fell in ecstasy by the mastic tree.
1969 (September 30): Clemente had his first vision (of Christ and Padre Pio).
1969 (December 15): Clemente had his first vision of the Virgin Mary.
Genom åren har jag sysslat en hel del med katolsk traditionalism, speciellt i den spanskspråkiga världen. 2015 skrev jag en kort artikel om en traditionalistisk kommunitet, en “helig stad”, som ligger i provinsen Michoacán i Mexiko och benämns Nueva Jerusalén, Nya Jerusalem. Den har sin grund i en serie uppenbarelser av jungfru Maria och en rad andra helgon från 1973 och framåt. Kommuniteten har många gånger varit skådeplatsen för, ibland våldsamma, sammandrabbningar mellan olika schatteringar och grupper av personer som ledarna uppfattar som heterodoxa har drivits ut. Trots detta har inte polismyndigheten eller andra delar av det mexikanska samhället ingripit.
Here is a select bibliography of published works on the Palmarian Catholic Church.
Alonso, Javier & Rafael Canales. 1976. El Palmar de Troya: Festival del integrismo. Madrid: Sedmay Ediciones.
Barrios, Manuel & María Teresa Garrido Conde. 1976. El apasionante misterio del Palmar de Troya. Barcelona: Planeta.
Beltrán y Bachero, José Carlos. 1989. “Unerlaubte bzw. ungültige Priester und Bischofsweihen in El Palmar de Troya.” Pp. 419-433 in Ius et historia: Festgabe für Rudolf Weigand zu seinem 60 Geburtstag. Würzburg: Echter.
Cadoret-Abeles, Anne. 1981. “Les apparitions du Palmar de Troya: Analyse antropologique d’un phénomène religieux.” Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez 17, 369-378.
Cebolla López, Fermín. 1976. El vidente ciego: Cisma sin teólogos en El Palmar de Troya. Bilbao: Editorial CLA.
Garrido Vázquez, Moisés. 2004. “El Palmar de Troya: 35 años de cisma.” Chapter 6 in El negocio de la Virgen, Madrid: Ediciones Nowtilus.
Garrido Vázquez, Moisés. 2008. “El Palmar de Troya: Cuatro décadas de integrismo mariano”, Misterios y fenómenos insólitos 84, 4-12. Accessed from on 12 August 2015
Gómez Burón, Joaquín & Antonio Martín Alonso 1976. El enigma de El Palmar de Troya, Barcelona: Editorial Personas.
Hall, Maria. 2015. Reparation: A Spiritual Journey, Haven Publishing, 2015.
“Roman Catholic Archives in Latin America: Status Quaestionis”
Published in SMT: Swedish Missiological Themes/ Svensk Missionstidskrift 95:1 (2007) – Special issue on Archives, Societal Amnesia and Survival.
The aim of this article is to give a brief overview of the current status of Roman Catholic archives in Latin America. It is an immense subject which hardly can be satisfactorily treated in a brief article. Here, I will therefore specifically focus on the case of Mexico. However, it should be indicated that the Mexican case is not entirely representative, as the current status of the Catholic archives there is better than in most other places in Latin America. It is, however, a good example of what can be done.
“Overcoming or Silencing Conflicts: The Catholic Church and the Building of the Costa Rican Welfare State”
Originally held as a lecture at the University of Groningen in 2006; lightly revised in 2016
In this article, I briefly analyse the role of religion in the construction of the Costa Rican society from the 1930s onwards. I focus on the relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Costa Rican government. It is always difficult to speak about the position of the church. To avoid hasty generalisations, I will therefore limit myself to the public statements made by the Costa Rican archbishops. Even more concretely, I am interested in the archbishops’ concern with what usually is called la cuestión social – the social issue. That is, their treatment of themes such as poverty and inequality.
Apart from my main research area (colonial Latin America) for many years I have done research on the Palmarian Catholic Church, a Spanish dissenter group or, if one prefers, a new religious movement. The church has a basis in purported apparitions of Christ, the Virgin Mary and many other saints at Andalusian Palmar de Troya from the late 1960s onwards. Through the 1970, the group around the leaders Clemente Domínguez and Manuel Alonso. A new religious order was founded, clerics were ordained and consecrated and in 1978, at the death of Pope Paul VI, Clemente Domínguez claimed that he was divinely elected pope. The church of Rome had apostatisized and the Holy See was moved to Palmar de Troya. I have published two articles on the church, its organization and beliefs. One is a briefer profile, while the other is a 60-page article. They can be consulted here: Articles about the Palmarian Church
“Modern Alternative Popes”
Article published online in 2015
The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) is arguably the most important event in modern Catholicism, and a major act on the twentieth-century religious scene at large. On several points, the conciliar fathers made changes in how the Catholic Church perceived the modern world. The language in the decrees was different from earlier councils’, and the bishops opened up for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, seeing at least “seeds of truth” in other religious traditions. The conciliar fathers also voted in favour of liberty of religion, as meaning something more than the right to practise Catholic faith. A very concrete effect of the Council was the introduction of the New Mass Order (Novus Ordo Missae) in 1969 that replaced the traditional Roman rite, decreed by Pius V in 1570. Apart from changes in content, under normal circumstances, the new mass should be read in the vernacular, not in Latin as before.
Though many Catholics welcomed the reforms of Vatican II, many did not. In the period just after the end of the Council, large numbers of priests and nuns were laicized, few new priest candidates entered the seminaries, and many laypeople did not recognize the church and the liturgy, which they had grown up with. In the post- conciliar era, there developed several traditionalist groups that criticized the reforms and in particular the introduction of the Novus Ordo. Their criticism could be more or less radical, and more or less activist.
Many stayed in their parishes and attended mass there, but remained faithful to traditional forms of devotions and paid much attention to modern Marian apparitions. The apocalyptic contents of many apparitions helped them understand the crisis they saw in church and society. They can be called Catholic Conservatives. Others joined traditionalist groups that were very critical of the developments and though that the Tridentine mass was the only legitimate, but still accepted the Roman popes and episcopacy. However, a much smaller group maintained that a true pope would never accept the radical changes of Vatican II, and therefore argued that the Holy See was vacant, as the pope and the curia had become heretics. A manifest heretic could not be pontiff. Furthermore, from the 1960s onwards some individuals claimed that they had been elected true popes, either by direct divine intervention or through alternative conclaves.
In this article, I will concentrate on people (males), who have claimed or still claim that they, and not the vastly more recognized popes in Rome, are the true pontiffs. I will refer to these men as papal claimants or alternative popes. From Rome’s perspective they are antipopes, while the papal claimants denounce the popes in Rome (and other alternative popes) as antipopes, who they think have nothing to do with the Catholic Church founded by Christ.
Read my full article “Modern Alternative Popes”, written in 2015 and only published online: Modern Alternative Popes