SERGIO GINES, formerly known as Pope Gregory XVIII, has admitted that he is in love with the female employee of the Monachil City Council, a small community in the Granada Region.
Apparently the couple met 30 years ago and have only now been reunited after his resignation as Pope of the Palmarian Catholic Church in El Palmar de Troya, near Utrera in Andalucia.
The Palmarian Church itself enjoys a rather chequered history.
It was founded in the 1970’s as a result of apparitions of the Virgin Mary on the site of the then cathedral, but the church is considered to be a schismatic Catholic sect and is rejected by the official Catholic church due, in part, supposedly honouring ‘saints’ such as Franco.
Amongst other things, this religious community also believes that that the Pope of Rome has been excommunicated and that the position of the Holy See has, since 1978, been transferred to the See of El Palmar de Troya, a title that Gregory XVIII has stood down from.
The ex-pope has now relocated to move in with his fiancée. Their engagement allegedly caused uproar in the 7000-strong community and the couple have since stressed that they wish to live in peace and privacy.
This is not the first time that love has thwarted duty to a religious order. The fictional construct of lovers overcoming their bounds of faith and obligation have long been a staple in religious narrative, be it fact or legend. Saint Valentine apparently fell in love with a nun, and female Pope Joan allegedly gave birth to a son. However, in both cases, the story ended rather differently to the Palmarian Pope’s fairy tale happy ending: the former was buried alive and the latter was stoned to death.