The youngest bishop in Spain has been suspended from carrying out his religious responsibilities as a result of his recent marriage to a psychologist and writer of satanic erotica.
A statement published by the Spanish Episcopal Conference describes Bishop Xavier Novell Gomà’s marriage to Silvia Caballol y Clemente on 22 November 2021 as a “serious act” and has resulted in his “automatic” suspension for breach of the Code of Canon Law.
Despite being allowed to retain the title of bishop, Mr Novell will no longer be permitted to perform any of his previous duties such as teaching and administering the sacraments.
According to reports published by Spanish news outlets around the time of the marriage ceremony, Ms Caballol, who is 14 years younger than 52-year-old Mr Novell, was pregnant.
Mr Novell was a high flier within the Catholic Church, and became Spain’s youngest bishop when he was appointed to the diocese of Solsona, Catalonia aged 41. He is known for his reported endorsement of gay conversion therapy and practise of exorcisms, as well as being a supporter of the Catalan independence movement.
Earlier this year, Mr Novell announced his resignation for “strictly personal reasons”, triggering a wave of speculation over his reasons for stepping down. A few weeks later, the bishop’s relationship with Ms Caballol was made public.
Mr Novell, who in addition to his doctorate in Theology holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering, has reportedly been working as an agronomist at the Spanish animal fertility company Semen Cardona.