Society 14/10/2021

Former bishop of Solsona begins process to get married in a registry office

Xavier Novell resigned from his post in August for personal reasons and has already requested documents to get married in a registry office

2 min
Bishop Xavier Novell, in an archive image.

BarcelonaAfter surprising everyone last August by announcing that he was resigning as bishop of Solsona "for strictly personal reasons", Xavier Novell has already requested the necessary documentation to get married in a registry office with his partner, as reported today by the newspaper El Mundo. Novell, who has not yet given official explanations of the reasons for his resignation or his new personal situation, presented a request to get married at the Civil Registry of Súria (Bages) on October 7, according to an edict signed by the justice of the peace, Jaume Bransuela Alsina.

In the edict, and in compliance with Article 246 of the Civil Registry Regulations, the judge invites all persons who know of "any legal impediment" to the celebration of this civil marriage to express it in writing or orally in the court itself within fifteen days. The edict is dated October 7, so the deadline would expire on the 22nd.

Bishop Novell, a controversial character, unexpectedly resigned from the bishopric of Solsona in August and the Pope accepted his resignation on the 23rd. After a few days, the media attributed the bishop's resignation to the fact that he had a sentimental relationship with Sílvia Caballol, a psychologist and writer, expert in satanic themes, and that Novell, an exorcist in his diocese, had met her during a courses on the subject.

Although the archbishop of Barcelona and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Joan Josep Omella, asked for respect for the bishop's privacy and hoped that he would give explanations later about his situation, Novell maintains his silence and it is not known if he has asked the Vatican for his secularisation in order to be able to get married. The Vatican has not informed about whether the former bishop of Solsona has officially requested the dispensation of celibacy and changed to a secular status, according to the agency Efe.

The lack of information and explanations about Novell's resignation has encouraged all kinds of speculation and the case has become a media story, with journalists stationed at the place where he now lives, in an apartment in Manresa (Bages), to photograph him when he goes jogging every morning. The bishop of Vic, Romà Casanova, is administrating the diocese of Solsona until the Holy See appoints a new bishop, although many parishioners fear that, as it is a small diocese, the Pope may decide that it will disappear and it will be merged with Vic or Lleida.


Novell was a bishop who generated news from the beginning. First because when he was appointed to the post, in November 2010, he was only 41 years old and became the youngest prelate in the state. And then for stating opinions against homosexuality. In a Sunday gloss in 2017, he said he asked himself "whether the growing phenomenon of confusion in the sexual orientation of many teenage boys might not be due to the fact that, in Western culture, the father figure is symbolically absent, deviated, blurred".

He was also controversial with regards to the independence process. In 2013, for example, he banned the priests of Solsona from ringing the bells along the Via Catalana on the occasion of Catalonia Day and, instead, the following year he called for parishioners to participate in the independence vote.