Former bishop marries after leaving church over a romantic relationship

Xavier Novell committed a canonical crime automatically stripping him of his title

Xavier Novell in February 2012 (by Mar Martí/CNA archive)
Xavier Novell in February 2012 (by Mar Martí/CNA archive) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 23, 2021 01:34 PM

After announcing his resignation on August 23, Xavier Novell, the former Bishop of Solsona in central Catalonia, married his partner on Monday evening.

Images shown on public Catalan broadcaster program Planta Baixa showed Novell and his partner, Sílvia Caballol, leaving a court in Súria, near the town of Solsona. 

Once married, Novell loses his bishop title as he has committed a canonical crime, meaning that he will not be able to officiate Mass, among other ecclesiastical duties, as stated by the Canon law of the Catholic Church. Despite the loss of his title, Novell stepped away from his duties a few months ago. 

The former bishop was not allowed to marry Caballol in a church as the Vatican has to approve the process, sources from Solsona’s bishopric told the Catalan News Agency (ACN). But, however, they do expect approval from the Vatican. 

The fallout started in summer when Novell stepped down citing "strictly personal reasons" following "a period of reflection, discernment and prayer." 

When his resignation was announced, Caballol was reported to be a writer with a focus on erotica and satanic subjects

Homophobic and anti-abortion rhetoric 

Novell was made bishop in 2010 at the age of 41, the youngest in Catalonia and Spain. He has made several statements during his tenure that have earned condemnation from LGBTQ and pro-choice groups. 

For example, in 2017 he said homosexuality could be linked to "the absence of a father figure," and in February he called abortion "the most serious and terrible genocide in humanity."