Sunday, June 26

Bishop Xavier Novell: Less Tinder and More Satan | Opinion

The emeritus bishop of Solsona, Xavier Novell, in a file image.
The emeritus bishop of Solsona, Xavier Novell, in a file image.

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Xavier Novell is a peculiar man even by the peculiar standards of his trade, which is to represent God on Earth. Ten years ago he acknowledged having been enfant terrible, exhausting expression, although only for fifteen days, and in those two weeks he asked a council for the end of celibacy. He told it in a fascinating interview that Luz Sánchez-Mellado did with him in EL PAÍS. Then the monsignor grew old because there are people who are only young for fifteen days, and little by little it began to become a public danger because of his position and the microphones he occupied. He treated the abortion of “one of the greatest genocides in history” and had the delusion of trying to “cure” homosexuality, for him a disease capable of being treated, through the endorsement and participation in “conversion therapies”. Now it is news for something refreshing: he has left his position as bishop, and has left the Catholic Church because he has fallen madly in love with a woman (writer). The reaction of the Church – without having read the books – has been to suspect that it is possessed by the devil, summarizing at a stroke the greatest of the institution’s problems: that no one ever thought that the devil had possessed Bishop Novell when he made his hateful speeches, but when he has known love.

The question is to know if the devil is stupid or the ecclesiastical authorities do not know anything. Xavier Novell and his circumstances is not a crazy and sensational story, but strict normality. What is absurd and sensational is that Novell, and others like Novell, buy into the message of Christ to the extreme of entering the Church, and from there working for a worse, battered and violent society that is built strictly on hatred. Novell may not have changed his mind, but at least, outside the Church, he will have no ascendancy over anyone or an institutional speaker with which to clothe them with his miter. So if you are demonized because in it the demon found a cozy place to rest, animated by Novell’s own exorcizer function (blacksmith’s house), the only thing we should regret is that the demon had not arrived sooner.

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The woman the bishop has fallen in love with is, for the rest, a writer of erotic novels, whatever that means, but apparently serious for the clergy and we suppose serious for Novell, who believes that against AIDS in Africa it What you have to practice is abstinence. Years ago he told this newspaper how the Holy Spirit got inside his body: “I felt it go down hard. I felt a tremor, a heat in my whole body that I had never felt before ”. He must have felt something like that when he fell in love, it is quite similar. What he did not do was withdraw, like that character in Faulkner: “I thought, then, of the thirty-year-old woman, symbol of the ancient and eternal serpent, and of the men who described her, and I understood in that instant the insurmountable abyss that it separates the lived from the printed; that those who are capable, act, and those who are not and suffer enough for not being, write about it. Then I stepped away ”.

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