A few weeks ago, Bishop Xavier Novell Gomà announced he was resigning from the Catholic Church. At 41, he became the youngest bishop in Spain — at 52 today, he’s still one of the youngest, so this is a loss for the Church — but he was also an outspoken advocate for Catalan independence, which made him controversial.
What was it that led to the resignation? His political activism? Some kind of scandal? No one knew. The Vatican simply said Novell resigned “for strictly personal reasons.”
Now we know the reason. And it’s so much better than we could have imagined: He stepped down because he fell in love with a divorced woman who writes erotic fiction with a Satanic twist.
But sources quoted by the Catholic publication Religion Digital this week confirmed rumours that Bishop Novell had embarked on a relationship with Silvia Caballol, a psychologist and writer of erotic novels, leading him to set aside his vow of celibacy.
He said he had “fallen in love” and “wanted to do the right thing”, according to reports, in reference to the relationship with the 38-year-old author of The Hell of Gabriel’s Lust and the erotic trilogy Amnesia.
To be fair, falling in love with a woman and wanting to pursue that relationship is the story. He chose love over singleness and celibacy — two pointless, archaic rules the Church forces priests to adhere to. The Satanic erotica is just a juicy detail that makes everything better.
Novell is hardly the first to do this — a famous FOX News priest made the same decision years ago — and he deserves credit for following his heart rather than being a hypocrite and pursuing a secret relationship as so many other priests have done.
Not all of his colleagues are handling the news well, though.
Church colleagues told Spanish media they believed Bishop Novell had been possessed by demons, with one saying this was “not a problem of celibacy but rather of infestation”.
Imagine how broken your brain must be when someone tells you he fell in love and your reaction is to blame Satan. One source told a reporter that Pope Francis recommended an exorcism… but that allegation is unreliable to begin with and seemingly out of character for the pope.
Before you treat Novell as a hero, though, you should know he conducted exorcisms for years and promoted gay conversion torture. So he promoted pointless and harmful forms of misinformation. But if leaving the Church hierarchy means he’s giving up on the other awful aspects of Catholicism, too, then this change is good for all parties.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to everyone for the link)