by Marco Corvaglia
§ 1. A Surprising Connection
If one asked a connoisseur of Medjugorje what the two most characteristic and recurring expressions in the messages of the Gospa are, he would certainly answer this way: the threefold exhortation "Pray, pray, pray", and the thanks the Madonna usually addresses to the faithful, with the formula "Thank you for having responded to my call".
In June of 2011, continuing my research on Medjugorje and its origins, I have been faced with an unexpected discovery. In fact, these (and various other) elements typical of Medjugorje were previously characteristic of the messages given in Palmar de Troya (a few years before the beginning of Medjugorje) by Clemente Domínguez, a "seer" who declared himself pope, "excommunicated" John Paul II and founded a schismatic church (which still exists): the Palmarian Catholic Church.
It is necessary to provide a summary of the grotesque Palmarian events.
§ 2. Palmar de Troya: The Origins
On 30 March 1968 four girls from the rural village of Palmar de Troya, Spain, asserted that they saw the Madonna or, more exactly, "Our Lady of Mount Carmel", just like the other four Spanish girls from Garabandal (where Conchita had her last apparition on 13 November 1965, with a wide media response: on the side, a picture of that day).
A few weeks after the beginning of the Palmar phenomenon, the four girls no longer had "visions", but these continued for another group of "seers". As Gerard R. Alfaro wrote in April 1975, "the chief of them is, without doubt, Clemente Domínguez" [El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales trasmitidos a Clemente Domínguez Gómez (with a foreword by Gerard R. Alfaro), Difusora Mariana Argentina, 1976, p.12].
Clemente was a twenty-three year old accountant when, on 30 September 1969, he claimed having had the first apparition (of Jesus and Padre Pio).
§ 3. The Insane Project of a Megalomaniac
From the beginning, Clemente had two goals clearly linked each other: to attract large numbers of pilgrims to Palmar and then to begin the schism.
On 6 January 1970 he gave this message (coming from - he said - the Immaculate Conception) to the devotees of Palmar:
There will come a day when this place will be filled with pilgrims from all nations [...]. My children, you are in the place of the biggest apparitions in the world. There has never existed nor will there ever exist [another like this].
[El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales trasmitidos a Clemente Domínguez Gómez (with a foreword by Gerard R. Alfaro), Difusora Mariana Argentina, 1976, pp.64-65]
On 18 May 1970, the Archbishop of Seville, José María Bueno Monreal, described the phenomenon of Palmar de Troya as an effect of "superstition and mass hysteria" [M.M. Molina, Los Secretos del Palmar de Troya. Historia de una herejía, Arcopress, Córdoba, 2006, p. 60].
Disregarding that, Clemente began an endless series of trips, at first national and then international, to spread the knowledge of Palmar.
In 1973 an English print edition of his messages came out (by M.S. McKeown, Selected Messages of Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady Given to Clemente Dominguez Gomez, S.D. Montgomery, Gransha Park, Belfast, 1973).
On 8 August 1974, the "seer," during a “missionary journey" of his, also reached the former Yugoslavia, arriving to Zagreb, Croatia [cf. El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales trasmitidos a Clemente Domínguez Gómez (with a foreword by Gerard R. Alfaro), Difusora Mariana Argentina, 1976, p. 485].
As we are reminded by a reporter, on 12 October 1975 (the feast of Our Lady of El Pilar, patron of Spain) in Palmar de Troya "the flow of foreign pilgrims was remarkable [...]. Among them, many priests" [J.G. Burón, El enigma de El Palmar de Troya, Editorial Personas, Barcelona, 1976, p.15].
Clemente, in his messages, foretold the forthcoming refounding of the Catholic Church, which had been, by then, corrupted.
Jesus to Clemente, 9 March 1972:
Freemasonry and Communism have well infiltrated the Vatican.
[El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales trasmitidos a Clemente Domínguez Gómez (with a foreword by Gerard R. Alfaro), Difusora Mariana Argentina, 1976, p. 219]
In this way he obtained the favor of the religious Right, very strong at that time in Spain, which was subject to the military regime of dictator Francisco Franco.
In a first phase, the messages safeguarded the Pope, Paul VI, who was presented in fact (though in a paranoid way) as a victim of the intrigues of the Vatican hierarchy.
Jesus to Clemente, 7 August, 1971:
Let everybody pray for the Pope, and love him, he is my Vicar on Earth. The culprit of the evil that exists is not him, but those who are inside the Vatican, who have put his back against the wall and falsify the papal documents.
[Ibid., p. 163]
Jesus to Clemente, 30 September 1975:
When the Pope says something that goes against the Tradition, that is not the Pope: they have obliged him to say it. THE POPE IS UNDER TERRIBLE PRESSURES IN THE VATICAN. AND NOW I CAN FRANKLY TELL IT TO YOU. THE POPE VERY OFTEN ACTS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS [capitalized in the original]. Very often they put drugs even in the food of the poor Pope. And now I will tell you more, something terrible, abominable. Do you know where they also put the drugs for the poor Pope? In the wine to be consecrated! [...]
Recently, as someone knows, he publicly said harsh words against the Spanish State. But it was not the Pope. Drugs did it.
[Ibid., pp. 605-606]
The seeming (and embarrassing) support to Paul VI, however, was only an expedient not to lose the sympathies of the Catholics loyal to the Pope in charge.
As a matter of fact, the messages given by Clemente foretold from the beginning the forthcoming creation of a “Palmarian” Church, with another pope.
Jesus to Clemente, 15 March 1970:
When my Vicar will die, a schism will happen.
[Ibid., p. 75]
The Madonna to Clemente, 25 April 1971:
Oh, my children, soon the Vicar of Christ, the martyr of the Vatican, Paul VI, the son of my heart, will end his mission, and after there will be an Antipope. Many faithful will believe that the Antipope is the true Pope.
[Ibid., p. 146]
§ 4. From the Planned Schism to the Achieved Schism
Donations poured in and Clemente, with his message of 30 May 1975 (attributed to Jesus), called for beginning the "construction of the Sanctuary." It was built in the following years, and became the basilica of the schismatic Palmarian Church (in the picture).
On 1 January 1976, Clemente, although having received no theological formation, was ordained a priest, by Msgr. Pierre Martin Ngò-Dinh-Thuc (in the picture), a follower of his movement and Archbishop of Bulla Regia.
A few days later, the "seer" said that the Madonna had asked that some bishops be ordained in Palmar. The first of them, of course, was Clemente himself.
The Madonna to Clemente, 10 January 1976:
Those who tonight have to be consecrated bishops, are, in order:
First, this poor sinner who is transmitting the words in my name, my son Clemente...
[El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales, Volume II, Difusora Mariana Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1979, p.30]
So Msgr. Ngò-Dinh-Thuc conferred on him also the episcopal ordination. And Clemente, within ten days, passed from being an unemployed accountant to being a bishop.
Of course, he was immediately excommunicated by the Catholic Church [cf. letter from the papal nuncio in Spain, Mgr. Luigi Dadaglio, of 15 January 1976, in C. de la Lama, El Palmar de Troya. Milagro S.A., Efe Ediciones, Madrid, 1976, pp. 205-206].
Clemente tried to defend himself using the system typical of all the religious sects, when they feel in danger: demonization of the opponent and victimization.
Jesus to Clemente, 4 August 1976:
In these moments, my dear son, Satan is enraged against you, with a fury so terrible that, if he could, he would strangle you.
[El Palmar de Troya. Mensajes sobrenaturales, Volume II, Difusora Mariana Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1979, p.80]
On 6 August 1978, the very day of the death of Paul VI, Clemente Domínguez (who was making a "missionary journey" in Bogotá, Colombia) proclaimed himself pope, taking the name of Gregory XVII.
After that, as already announced since 1971, the schismatics of Palmar de Troya called the newly elected John Paul I Antipope (then they "excommunicated" John Paul II).
Jesus to Clemente, 6 August 1978:
My dear son, now, with the Apostles Peter and Paul, I am putting on your head the Holy Tiara. [...] The conclave will soon be organized in Rome that will elect the Antipope. [...] ONLY SIMPLE AND HUMBLE HEARTS WILL RECOGNIZE WHICH IS THE TRUE POPE: POPE GREGORY XVII [capitalized in the original].
Clemente was the pope of his schismatic Church until his death in 2005, when he left as his successor, chosen by himself, his friend Manuel Alonso Corral, who took the name of Peter II. Modesty aside.
Now we can start to examine the indisputable connections between the messages given by Clemente and those, subsequent, given in Medjugorje.
This article continues on the page The First Inspiration of the Medjugorje Messages: Clemente Domínguez [Part 2]