Late Palmar de Troya anti-pope Peter II: I don't think that mitre is photoshopped!
There is a whole area of life on the fringes of the Catholic Church which remains a mystery to the majority of the faithful - providentially for the most part. One of the more unusual of these alternative lives has to be the whole area of the anti-popes - yes, my dear friends we do have more than a few pretenders to the Chair of Peter still knocking around. St Hippolytus has a lot to answer for.
Well I was scanning the net when a link on Fr Gabriel Burke's fine blog led me to this post which tells us that the pope of the Palmar de Troya sect died last July - that slipped under the radar.
For those not initiated into the weird and wonderful world of schismatic traditionalists, the Palmar de Troya sect was founded in 1975 by Clemente Dominguez who claimed he was having visions of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His alleged revelations led him to re-establish the seat of the papacy in the local village and he claimed God had chosen him as the new pope - it seems Pope Paul VI had been kidnapped and, I think, was supposed to dead and replaced by an impostor - or something like that.
Anyway Dominguez proclaimed himself Pope Gregory XVII and reigned happily until 2005 when he died and was replaced (without a conclave) by his right hand man, Manuel Corral, who styled himself Peter II - no presumptions there I see. I see Peter II has proclaimed his predecessor a saint. Well, poor old Peter II popped his clogs on the 15th July last, and following another conclave, another gentleman has succeeded to the papacy of Palmar de Troya: Sergio Maria who calls himself Gregory XVIII.
That's it in a nutshell, but if you want to hear more just hop on your virtual surfboard and take a trip through the more psychedelic corridors of the net. Among the colourful characters you will meet is Pope Pius XIII, a former Capuchin priest who got himself elected in a log cabin up in Washington State in the US - although I think the poor man is dead now.
Anyway whether you do or not, spare a thought for all these people and say a prayer. Thanks to the craziness of the post-Conciliar period they fell in between the cracks and were led astray. Many of them hanker after a glorious past which probably never existed outside their nostalgia and seek to set right the problems the Church is facing by their retreat into the world of fantasy: if only everyone else followed them, then everything would be alright, or so they think.
All of this should be a salutory lesson to us: we must stay humble and faithful, and pray the Lord preserves our wits.