One could be forgiven, during the focus on the death of Pope John Paul II if they had not heard the news that a Spanish pretender to Rome had also died, and that Pope Peter II had been named.
Clemente Dominguez y Gomez (59), a Spaniard who during Holy Week died on March 22nd, named himself Pope Gregory XVII and head of the Roman Catholic Church following the death of the legitimate Pope Paul VI in 1978. This was in the wake of having received that same year what Dominguez called a personal revelation from the Virgin Mary.
Dominguez was head of one of the largest schismatic groups that had broken away from the Catholic Church following Vatican II.
He later declared Pope John Paul II an "anti-pope," stating the Vatican was controlled by Satan following the implementation of the Second Vatican Council and its heretical ecumenism. Among Dominguez´ other exploits were his beatification of Christopher Columbus and Spanish dictators Francisco Franco and Miguel Primo de Rivera, as well as the excommunication of the Spanish royal family.
Blind since the mid-1970s as a result of an automobile accident, the anti-pope Dominguez´ followers claim him as "the last true Pope of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy,” according to the prophecies of Saint Malachi. Dominguez´ Holy Palmarian Church has 150 clergy ranging from nuns to bishops and cardinals, as well as over 1,500 lay members in various parts of the world. Members of the Holy Palmarian Church are mostly non-Spaniards and include Americans, Australians, Britons, Germans and Swiss.
In 1969, Dominguez installed his followers in the southern Spanish town of Palmar de Troya, near Seville, a year after four teenaged girls claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in a nearby field. A legitimate Catholic bishop dismissed those apparitions as illusions. The girls, now in their 50s, are now said to wish to only forget the past and to have no connection with the Palmarian Church.
But that didn't stop Dominguez, who claimed within a period of five months to have seen not only Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, but also St. Joseph and other saints - not to mention a flock of angels dressed as Dominican friars. Dominguez always felt a special affinity for the Dominicans. Averring others observations of Dominguez´ antics, his own mother once described him as "a little touched in the head."
Following these visions, Dominguez received funds to buy the "La Alcaparrosa" ranch where the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared, and lay the foundation in 1975 for his own order "The Carmelites of the Holy Face." On January 1, 1976, nine days after founding his order, Dominguez was ordained a priest, along with Manuel Alonso Corral, Carmelo "The Dancer" Pacheco and others, by an elderly schismatic bishop from Vietnam, Pierre Martin Ngo-Dinh-Thuc.
Because of these unauthorized ordinations, Bishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc was excommunicated, although the controversial bishop's followers claim otherwise, saying that he had a secret mandate from deceased Pope Pius XI to consecrate whomever he wished as priest or bishop. Moving quickly, BishopNg-Dinh-Thuc consecrated Dominguez as bishop on January 11, 1976.
In reference to Ng-Dinh-Thuc´s actions, the Vatican issued a statement later that year that "the Church neither now recognizes nor will recognize their ordination" by him. Ng-Dinh-Thuc also later consecrated William Kamm as bishop. Kamm has been fingered as the leader of a doomsday cult in Australia and was charged there for having illicit sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl.
These developments did nothing, however, to sway Dominguez, who had himself crowned “pope” August 15, 1978 by four “cardinals” he had selected, thus founding the “One H