When Spanish bishop Xavier Novell confessed to the Catholic Church hierarchy in Rome that he was “madly” in appreciate with a divorced lady, officers explained to him he was possessed by Satan — and ordered him to go through an rapid exorcism “to relaxed his troubled soul.”
Novell, 52 and a pointed out exorcist at his parish of Solsana in Spain’s Catalonia location, flatly refused. After all, he had the satan in frequent with his youthful paramour: an erotic novelist and psychologist he’d fulfilled at a demonology workshop.
Novell formally left the Catholic Church very last month for “strictly private causes.” These good reasons had been not disclosed until his scandalous romantic relationship with Silvia Caballol, 38, was disclosed this 7 days by Faith Digital.
The two fulfilled in 2015 at a workshop exactly where they ended up the two finding out demonology, which probes the existence of “fallen angels” and evil spirits. The BBC this 7 days referred to her get the job done as “Satanic-tinged.”
Caballol, who has a diploma in psychology and has dabbled in the study of yoga, sexology, Catholicism and Islam, was conducting analysis for her racy novels — which have been described as “a journey into obsession, madness and lust, pitting God from Satan.” Her publisher phone calls Caballol a “dynamic and transgressive creator [who] turns upside down our thoughts of morality and ethics.”
Her most recent guide, “The Hell of Gabriel’s Lust: The First Cardinal Sin Towards Being” tells the story of a psychopathic prisoner who falls for the female prison psychologist treating him. The e book jacket duplicate compares the characters’ romance to “the battle among God and the Satan.”
“As if possessed by the demon of lust, I start off to suck and kiss her neck, her lips, her breasts and her shoulders,” Caballol writes in the 2017 novel. She goes on to describe numerous sexual intercourse scenes in bodice-ripping depth: “Our bodies were incandescent and energized and our sex was infected and palpitating.”
Now she is dwelling with a male who as soon as claimed in an job interview: “Why are folks so obsessed by intercourse that if they do not have it every single working day they can not breathe?”
Certainly, Caballol’s heavy-respiratory erotica is a long way from Novell’s pious everyday living as one particular of Spain’s most hardline clerics. But then all over again, his fundamentalism may perhaps have been developed as a backlash versus his have lust.
“I have fallen in really like with a woman for the initially time in my everyday living, and I want to do points proper,” Novell instructed Religion Electronic this week.
That statement wasn’t entirely precise, on the other hand. When Novell was appointed bishop of the rural archdiocese in Catalonia, overseeing 51 priests, in 2010, the handsome prelate confessed that he’d been in enjoy prior to. Rumors immediately circulated that he experienced seduced some of the younger women of all ages who experienced labored for him in the past.
In 2011, Novell advised a Spanish newspaper that, at 22, he had fallen in enjoy with a girl and needed to marry her soon just after getting into a seminary. He instantly proposed marriage, incorporating that the sexual pressure he felt was so fraught that “the lady still left me nervous.” At the time, he even campaigned to finish celibacy for Catholic priests.
“I informed every person I wanted to marry this stunning female and have lots of little ones,” he informed El Pais. But religion overruled appreciate. “The strategy would not go away my head, until finally I reported, ‘Lord, allow me to see clearly.’ And I observed it.” God “strongly embraced” him, he explained, and he was shortly on the “right path.”
The episode strengthened his devotion to Christ — and turned him into a fundamentalist and self-confessed autocrat.
“Here, I’m in demand,” he instructed the newspaper about how he governed his parish of 139,000 after he became Spain’s youngest bishop at 41.
At a time when the Church was turning out to be extra progressive soon after Pope Francis took above the Vatican leadership in 2013, Novell ongoing to uphold its most hardline teachings.
In an job interview, he reported that contraception was ruining the family members in Spain and essential to be stopped. He railed towards abortion, likening it to “one of the worst genocides in background.”
Novell claimed that the way to finish AIDS in Africa was abstinence. He thought in “conversion therapy” to “treat” homosexuality, and experienced conducted a number of workshops at his possess parish, according to push stories.
Also controversially, he supported Catalonian nationalism, becoming the only prelate in Spain to back a daring shift for independence in 2017.
“I am Catalan,” he told the El Pais reporter. “But I am not a Catalan bishop or a Spanish bishop. I am only a bishop. If there are Catalan trustworthy, I will congratulate them and if there are professional-Spain supporters, who want to do away with Catalan autonomy, and they triumph, so be it. At the end of the working day, Christ has manufactured us all brothers.”
Novell’s separatist politics did not sit properly with Church elders. In Spain, Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez referred to as the declaration of independence accepted by Catalonia’s regional parliament in 2017, “serious and disturbing.”
For decades, the Church hierarchy has had problems with the outspoken bishop, which is why quite a few claimed that he experienced been possessed by the satan when he confessed his connection with Caballol previous thirty day period.
‘The issue is not a problem of celibacy, but of infestation,” quipped a colleague, who echoed the Vatican’s perception that Novell needed an quick exorcism to handle his obsession to Caballol.
An additional claimed that Novell was subjected to “a Satanic action by the psychologist.”
Novell could have predicted his personal obsession. “My God, how blessed you’ve been Xavier, that no female has been in a position to have a hold on you,” he advised a Spanish reporter many yrs back. “If I ever develop into attracted to a lady whose form of wondering and executing elicits a sentiment of love from me, I know what I would need to do — by no means see her once more.”
It is not obvious how prolonged Caballol and Novell have been dwelling together in Manresa, an industrial city at the center of Catalonia the place households were being built all around Santa Maria de la Seu, an historical basilica.
The creator, who has not spoken publicly about her romance with the previous bishop, grew up in Barcelona, where by she also attended university. Her father ran a mechanic’s shop and her mom was a homemaker and a devoted Catholic, in accordance to Spanish news reviews.
She lived for a time in Morocco with her 1st spouse and has two youngsters.
Novell, who graduated with a diploma in agriculture just before coming into the priesthood, is reportedly on the lookout for perform in Manresa
Several in the church have sympathy for Novell. Dominican nun Lucia Caram named him “unbalanced” and a “broken toy.”
A latest column headlined “Less Tinder and Additional Satan” in El Pais blasted the Catholic Church for not cracking down on Novell’s “hateful” orthodoxy, and welcoming the departure of a hardliner from a place of management.
“The response of the Church — devoid of possessing examine any of [Caballol’s] guides — has been that he has been possessed by demons … but it has never transpired to them that the serious demonic possession happened when Novell pronounced his hateful sights,” wrote columnist Manuel Jabois this week. “Novell’s really like tale is not so sensational. What is sensational is that Novell and many others in the Church have been permitted to market a hateful and violent society.”
In the past, Novell has criticized numerous of his technology, contacting them “fragile” and with no morality. It is only via a marriage with God that encourages toughness of character, he stated.
But some in the Spanish Catholic Church check out his like affair with Caballol as the top weak spot. Bishop Ramon Casanova Casanova, who was temporarily assigned Novell’s parish at Solsana, explained the church would “continue to pray” for Novell.