A priest or bishop who has not received a dispensation from the clerical state from the Vatican commits a canonical crime by contracting a civil marriage, which by virtue of his state as a vowed celibate is invalid from the canonical point of view.
Canon 194 of the Code of Canon Law stipulates that “the cleric who attempts to marry, even if only civilly,” will be “removed from ecclesiastical office.”
Canon 1394 adds that “a cleric who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae (immediate) suspension. If he does not repent after being warned and continues to give scandal, he can be punished gradually by privations or even by dismissal from the clerical state.”
After learning of Novell's intention to marry, Cardinal Juan José Omella, the archbishop of Barcelona, said Oct. 19 in an interview with Cadena SER radio in Catalonia that the bishop emeritus of Solsona "can only opt for a civil marriage, because he is still a bishop. And if he does this, he already knows what will come next. But I’m not entering into judgment and condemnation. This morbidness tastes very bad to me and that doesn’t help those who have faith."
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Novell as bishop on Aug. 23.
Shortly after, it was learned that the resignation had been motivated by the relationship between the bishop emeritus of Solsona and Silvia Caballol, 38, a divorced mother of two children from her previous marriage. In addition, the woman is the author of erotic novels with satanic overtones.