Diocesan administrator: Spanish bishop's resignation 'perplexing', but his person must be respected

Bishop Xavier Novell Gomà Bishop Xavier Novell Gomà, Bishop Emeritus of Solsona. | Conferencia Episcopal Española via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The apostolic administrator of Solsona, Bishop Romà Casanova i Casanova of Vic, has addressed in his weekly letter the “anomalous” situation following the resignation of Bishop Xavier Novell Gomà as Bishop of Solsona.

Bishop Casanova said that "perplexity invaded our hearts" upon learning of the resignation of Bishop Novell. 

“To our pain over the loss of the one who courageously and with apostolic zeal led the diocese of Solsona for ten years, was added the avalanche of information” that indicated that “the personal reasons underlying the resignation were romantic. And that made the loss even more painful, because feelings of intense sorrow arose in our hearts,” Bishop Casanova said.

Bishop Casanova said some of the feelings people were experiencing were of "truncated fidelity," "abandoned fatherhood" and "shaken fraternity", because a bishop’s relationship with his diocese is "much more than the cold reality of a captain who makes things go as best as possible."

However, he stressed that "neither the perplexity nor the pain as a result of this resignation and his reasons cannot make us lose respect for his person, who, like everyone else, has his inalienable dignity."

The administrator said that the "media circus" surrounding Bishop Novell’s resignation "turned into a trash heap of information lacking respect for people’s privacy and personal history and that produces suffering in the closest circles, such as the family, and the diocese itself."

Bishop Casanova called for respect and asked the faithful "to flee from vain speculation," and said that “now is the hour of faith and trust in Him. The Lord never abandons his people. To come out of this we have to live out the communion that leads us to fraternity and trusting prayer. We need to hear the voice of the Lord and experience the strength of his hand that does not allow us to perish.”

Bishop Novell, 52, resigned Aug. 23 citing “strictly personal reasons.” The diocese announced that the decision was made freely and in accord with a canon which asks that a bishop “who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause … present his resignation from office.”

Various media broke the news Sept. 5 that Bishop Novell moved to Manresa to live with Silvia Caballol, 38, a psychologist and author of erotic novels with satanic overtones, some of them restricted to those 18 or older. 

Caballol is separated from her husband, and the mother of two. 

Bishop Novell was born in 1969 in Spain’s Lérida province.

He earned a degree in agricultural technical engineering from the University of Lleida, a bachelor's in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1997, and a doctorate in 2004.

He was ordained a priest of the Solsona diocese in 1997, and in 2010 he was consecrated a bishop and appointed ordinary of the same diocese.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.