A Spanish Catholic bishop who supported conversion therapy and performed exorcisms resigned from the church last month—for an erotic fiction writer, BBC News reported Wednesday. Xavier Novell, who became Spain’s youngest bishop at 41, was a rising star within church leadership before his sudden departure, including meetings with several Vatican officials and Pope Francis. But he’s now leaving all that behind after falling for writer Silvia Caballol, who wrote The Hell of Gabriel’s Lust, among other books. BBC, citing Religión Digital, said the former bishop was now looking for a job as an agronomist.
Novell had come under fire by some Catholic officials for some of his extreme practices, which included the support of conversion therapy and exorcisms. Religión Digital reported Tuesday that Novell underwent the procedure himself as a means to “reaffirm his heterosexuality”—all before leaving the church. The church told BBC Novell’s reasons for leaving were “a strictly personal matter for him alone.”