ReutersTue Jul 27, 2004
EL PALMAR DE TROYA, Spain - Pope John Paul II has a challenger.
Papal pretender "Gregorio XVII" is leader of a self-styled church in Spain who says God crowned him after Pope Paul VI's 1978 death, that Satan controls the Vatican and that the devil will crucify him at the start of an apocalyptic end of an era.
Church members say followers number several thousand and come from as far away as the Americas. But membership is clearly dwarfed by the 1 billion Roman Catholics around the world who recognize John Paul as head of the church.
Followers call 58-year-old Gregorio the last pope, and say he will be crucified. An electronic information package handed out at the church shows gory pictures of Gregorio with bleeding wounds in the hands, torso and forehead similar to those of Christ on the cross.
"At the end of his reign the anti-Christ appears and he will put the pope to death, he will crucify him, and then Christ will appear and destroy the anti-Christ and a new era will begin," a middle-aged Irish man told Reuters on his way to mass.
TBC [While Gregorio XVII is clearly a “pretender” the same can be said of John Paul II. There is no Biblical basis for the office of Pope.]