Thursday, May 26

Xavier Novell left the Solsona bishopric due to a relationship with a psychologist

Bishop Xavier Novell greets the faithful at the Palau Episcopal de Solsona.

Bishop Xavier Novell greets the faithful at the Palau Episcopal de Solsona.

Xavier Novell surprised on August 23 by announcing his resignation as bishop of Solsona, in Lleida. He did it for “strictly personal” reasons, which he did not give more details about. Now, almost two weeks after the resignation, it has emerged that the reason was that The ex-bishop maintains a sentimental relationship with Silvia Caballol, a Bagenca psychologist and writer, According to the portal ‘Religión Digital’ and sources from the couple’s environment confirmed to ‘Regió 7’, which has also stated that they do not want to make statements in this regard.

The former and his partner have been together for 14 years. Novell, who at the age of 41, in 2010 became the youngest bishop in Spain, is now 52 years old while Caballol was born in 1983 in Súria (Bages).

The couple would be currently residing in Manresa and the former would already be looking for work in a Lleida cooperative since, apart from his religious training, he is an agronomist.

For her part, Caballol has a degree in psychology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), a university where she has also completed a postgraduate degree in Health Psychology. In addition, he has made forays into the literary world and has written at least two erotic-themed novels, one of them with satanic references. It is about ‘Amnesia Trilogy’ and ‘The Hell in Gabriel’s Lust’. One of the points where he presented this last title was during the Sant Jordi week in 2017 at the Súria library. Caballol is the mother of two children, the result of a relationship with a citizen of Morocco, where she also lived for a time.

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From now on, and by the fact of having a partner, it remains to be seen what relationship does Novell end up having with the bishopric, since although he resigned as bishop, he is currently a bishop emeritus and there is no record that he has abandoned the priesthood.

Novell submitted his resignation based on article 401.2 of the Code of Canon Law, which determines that the Holy See can accept the resignation of a bishop in “the case of illness or if for some other serious cause his capacity to carry out the position is diminished” . This fact, together with the “strictly personal” reasons alleged by the emeritus, did nothing more than sow doubts about what had led Novell to resign, a gesture that is not at all common in the Catholic Church. At first, possible reasons for the bishop’s health seemed ruled out, both for the curia of the Solsona bishopric and for the fact that the most common, in case of medical problems, is that the bishops request a temporary dispensation from office.

It had also been speculated that the reasons for the resignation included pressure from the LGTBI collective for their homophobic comments, pressure for their positioning towards the independence movement or simply, as confirmed this weekend, Novell’s willingness to start a new life as a couple, incompatible with the exercise as bishop.

A controversial bishop

During the years that Xavier Novell was bishop of Solsona, he had to face different controversies due to his position regarding homosexuality, abortion and also the national fact. When he was appointed more than a decade ago, he quickly became popular for his media appearances as the youngest bishop in the state at 41. He then took it upon himself to maintain this popularity among his parishioners with frequent visits to his parishes.

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Although, as a young man, Novell had expressed some opinions against the current, such as the possibility of voluntary celibacy or changing the role of women in the Church, in recent years he had made statements of a conservative tone, such as in his position on homosexuality , which made even the LGTBIQ community celebrate his resignation, and also with his criticism of abortion. On the other hand, Spanish bishops also reproached him for his position regarding the independence movement, since he himself announced that he would go to vote in the referendum on October 1, 2017.

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