The power of Satan – or the power of a woman? A Hardline Catholic Bishop gives it all up for the love of a writer of occult-flavoured erotic fiction.
Some stories are just too hard for us to resist. Indeed, some seem as though they have occurred specifically to inspire a Reprobate write-up, and the tale of Spanish Catholic bishop Xavier Novell is one of them.
It has been reported that Novell – once Spain’s youngest bishop – aged 41 when he was enbishoped in 20120 – resigned his position for ‘personal reasons’ at the end of August. What might those reasons be? Well, apparently, he has engaged in a torrid affair (actually, we have no idea of the levels of passion involved, but under the circumstances, let’s go with ‘torrid’) with novelist and psychologist Silvia Caballol. What sort of novels does Ms. Caballol write? Glad you asked.
The 38-year-old author has written The Hell of Gabriel’s Lust – which we are told is about “the raw struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan, and between angels and demons” – and the erotic trilogy Amnesia, and her publisher describes her as “a dynamic and transgressive author who turns our ideas of morality and ethics upside down”. Well, she has certainly turned Novell’s ideas of morality and ethics upside down, it seems.
This is amusing enough in itself, but it gets better. Novell was – of course – an exorcist, and he met Caballol while researching demonology – apparently, she is an expert in Satanism. Oh, the irony. The affair, and Novell’s resignation, has led some in the Spanish church to believe that he himself has become possessed and is in need of an exorcism. “This is not a problem of celibacy but rather of infestation”, said one. Well, of course. Even meeting at the Vatican and with the Pope himself – where the supposedly liberal and modernist Catholic leader urged him to undergo an exorcism – have failed to sway the errant bishop from his path.
If Novell has been made to see the error of his ways, all for the good – and not a moment too soon. As well as carrying out psychologically damaging exorcisms on people who were mentally ill – or simply a bit too free-thinking for their religiously browbeaten families to handle – he was also a supporter of and participant in gay conversion therapy, something even the Catholic church now frowns upon but does not punish priests for carrying out. He was also a vocal opponent of abortion and euthanasia – but I guess that goes with the territory. If his discovery of the joys of sex has made him rethink his mediaeval ideas about demonic possession and the evils of homosexuality, all the better we say.
Of course, we might question why the Catholics of Spain seem more upset by a bishop renouncing his vows for the love of a scholar – even a Satanic scholar – than they are about the ongoing global abuse scandals that the church is mired in, but never mind. I’m sure even as I write this, they are praying for the immortal soul of Novell. Some of us, though, might think that it has just been saved, and his future will hopefully be more productive and decent than his past.
Thanks to Marc Morris for tipping us off about this.
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