By Claire Gordon • 12 December 2021 • 15:22
CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Velez-Malaga
A controversial Spanish bishop has been formally stripped of his church powers after abandoning his clerical carer to marry a novelist known for her transgressive erotic novels, some of which contains references to Satanism. Xavier Novell i Gomà was Spain’s youngest ever bishop when he was appointed to the Catalan municipality of Solsona in 2010, aged just 41.
Novell has been a highly controversial member of the church, having supported and participated in so-called conversion therapies for gay people, and for being outspoken about his support for regional independence. He found himself at the centre of more controversy at the end of August 2021 as it was revealed that he had resigned from his post on what he termed “strictly personal grounds.”
It soon emerged that the reason he had left his post at the age of 52 was that he had fallen in love with a 38-year-old clinical psychologist named Silvia Caballol. Caballol had become a novelist known for her transgressive and erotic books in 2015. Sources say that the bishop confided in friends at the time, and said: “I’ve fallen in love with a woman, for the first time in my life, and I want to do things right.”
In a statement released on Saturday, the Spanish Episcopal Conference said that Novell had automatically forfeited his powers after marrying Caballol in a civil ceremony last month.
“As is public and well known, Monsignor Xavier Novell i Gomà, bishop emeritus of Solsona, commenced civil marriage with Doña Silvia Caballol y Clemente in Súria, Barcelona province, on 22 November,” it said.
The statement added that Novell was now forbidden, under canon law, from “exercising any of the rights and duties inherent to the episcopal office” and warned that “other possible consequences” could follow.
“This means that although Monsignor Xavier Novell i Gomà retains his title as bishop, he cannot undertake any of the functions that relate to that title. Accordingly, he is forbidden to administer the sacraments or engage in any teaching activity, whether public or private.”
Novell, who has a degree in agricultural engineering and who was ordained in 1997 before becoming Spain’s youngest ever bishop, is now reported to be working for a company that extracts and sells pig semen.
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