Solsona, Spain, Jan 4, 2022 / 17:39 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis on Monday appointed Bishop Francisco Simón Conesa Ferrer as Bishop of Solsona. The Spanish diocese had been vacated by the August 2021 resignation of its bishop, who has since attempted marriage.
Bishop Conesa was Bishop of Menorca from October 2016 until his transfer to Solsona. He is expected to being his ministry in Solsona in March.
Bishop Conesa told the faithful in Solsona in a Jan. 3 statement that he had “received the appointment with joy.”
“It’s certainly hard for me to leave Menorca, where I have found an extraordinary welcome from the beginning. During the five years that I have been here I have learned to love this land, its culture and, above all, its people. Now the Pope asks me to change course and be the pastor of your Diocese and I do so full of hope, trusting in the action of the Holy Spirit and also in his help.”
The prelate also referred to the actions of Bishop Novell, his predecessor: “With pain and bewilderment we have experienced the final phase of my predecessor’s episcopal ministry. We thank God for all the good things he did and we ask God to enlighten him in his new phase. The Apostolic Administrator appointed by the Holy Father also deserves thanks for the work he did.”
Finally, Bishop Conesa called on his faithful to pray for the task entrusted to him.
“Since I received the news of my appointment, I have been praying for all of you. Although I do not know you, I keep my Diocese of Solsona present in prayer and in my heart. I am well aware that without prayer it is impossible to carry out our mission. My ministry also needs your prayer. Please keep me in mind,” he said.
Bishop Conesa was born Aug. 25, 1961 in Elche, Spain. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Orihuela-Alicante Sept. 29, 1985. He holds doctorates in theology and in philosophy from the University of Navarra.
He was the vicar general of the Orihuela-Alicante diocese from 1998 to 2014.
He was a professor of philosophy and theology at the Orihuela-Alicante diocesan seminary; associate professor at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Navarra; Magisterial Canon of the cathedral in Orihuela; and rector of Saint Mary Basilica in Elche.
On October 27, 2016, he was appointed Bishop of Menorca, and he was consecrated a bishop Jan. 7, 2017.
He has been a member of the Bishops’ Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith for the Spanish Bishops’ Conference since 2017.
Bishop Xavier Novell i Gomà, 52, had resigned as Bishop of Solsona Aug. 23, 2021, citing “strictly personal reasons.”
The next month it was reported that Bishop Novell had moved to Manresa to live with Sílvia Caballol i Clemente, 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, 52, attempted marriage with Caballol Nov. 22 in a civil ceremony.
Those who are in holy orders invalidly attempt marriage, as do those bound by the bond of a prior marriage. A cleric who attempts marriage can be punished, even by dismissal from the clerical state.
Novell’s attempt at marriage resulted automatically in his suspension.
Bishop Romà Casanova i Casanova of Vic served as apostolic administrator of Solsona between Bishop Novell’s resignation and Bishop Conesa’s appointment.