Xavier Novell, a Catalan bishop and exorcist known for his ultraconservative views, has stepped down to be with his lover, Silvia Caballol, a divorced psychologist and writer of erotic, novels about the occult.
“I have fallen in love with a woman, for the first time in my life and I want to do things the right way,” Novell told a friend.
According to reports, the couple are living together in Manresa, fifty kilometres from Solsona.
The bishopric of Solsona has said that the resignation was due to “strictly personal reasons." However, some have speculated that he was under pressure from the church leadership because of his support for Catalan independence.
Lucía Caram, a nun based in Manresa, said that he does “not have good mental health or emotional balance”.
She told Spanish television and other media that Padre Novell’s extreme conservative views, which included ejecting young women wearing miniskirts from his church, reflected increasingly erratic behaviour, describing him as “out of his mind”. She also pointed out that the former bishop had taken part in so-called therapy sessions aimed at converting members of the LGBT community to heterosexuality.