Xavier Novell, one of the youngest Catholic bishops in Spain and a rising star within the Church, has resigned after reportedly falling in love with an erotic-satanic author.
The 52-year-old argued he made the decision for "strictly personal reasons" causing a wave of speculation over his reasons for stepping down.
The Spanish Catholic Church said in a statement: "Bishop Novell took the decision after a time of reflection, discernment and prayer, at the end of which he spontaneously presented to the Holy Father his situation and his resignation of the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Solsona."
His decision was swiftly accepted by Pope Francis, who appointed a new bishop for the diocese straight away.
But local media is reporting Novell's decision might be linked to a possible relationship with author of erotic-satanic novels, Silvia Caballol, who he met while preparing to perform exorcisms in 2015, a job he took on himself after refusing to have an exorcist appointed to him.
The couple are reported to be living together in Manresa, a city located 50km from Solsona.
Silvia Caballol's well known titles are The Hell of Gabriel's Lust and the trilogy Amnesia.
Neither Novell nor Caballol have made any official comments about their alleged relationship. However, Spanish outlet Religion Digital has quoted the former bishop saying: "I have fallen in love and want to do things properly".
Novell's political views could have also influenced his resignation. He was previously banned from making any public statement on Catalonia's political situation after he published a picture of himself voting in the 2017 illegal independence referendum encouraging people to vote.
He also visited some of the nine independent political leaders who were imprisoned as a result of the referendum.