All the commotion, what do I say, the novelon, of the bishop of Solsona, that tasty mixture of The thorn bird and The Exorcist, has made me rethink whether I was not wrong in abandoning my ecclesiastical vocation. And the thing is that as a child I wanted to be a priest, missionary branch, Biafra section (it is what has been asking for so many years of school for the Domund) and I left it when I discovered impulses, read my brunette cousin Raquel and the very blond Tesita Casanovas, who seemed to me incompatible with the call to be part of the clergy and the collar. If I find out about Monsignor Novell and his wide sleeve that even included dressing up as demons At the Patum de Berga he might have continued; maybe now she would wear cardinal purple and instead of this chronicle she would be helping to write encyclicals, or to write erotic-satanic novels with four hands. Who knows if he couldn’t even get to Pope, one like Jude Law’s Pius XIII in The Young Pope, ordering the miter at Tiffany and putting on the white cassock with 33 buttons (the age of Christ), the red shoes (from Prada) and the fisherman’s ring to the rhythm of Sexy and I know it de LMFAO.
Some will be surprised by my current profile that I ever wanted to be a priest: explorer, Egyptologist, aviator, Bengal spearman, okay, but heal… by God (and worth the expression), if I even have a snake. But the family environment was very conducive to awakening vocations: not that my parents were missionaries, is that they were the following; they militated in the secular section of the Dominicans with the conviction and determination that Hugo de Payns put into being a Templar.
Religious of all kinds, order and hierarchy passed through the house in Barcelona at any time. There was that priest of the Passionists of Santa Gemma who wore the blue Falange shirt under his cassock (he had been a military chaplain) and argued a lot with my father, who was very Vatican II, while he drank his brandy (I confused the priest with Otto Skorzeny, who was also known to Dad). And the dear Father Emilio Eyré Lamas, from Chantada, promoter of the sanctuary of the Virgin of Fátima in Centulle, who came from Galicia every year for Christmas to celebrate the Mass of the Rooster in the living room of the house and left me, a willing altar boy, ring the silver bell, which he did with relish and out of the script to force everyone to kneel, especially my grandmother who had the Medal of Sufferings for the Homeland, with the blue ribbon of prisoners in the red zone: grandmother suffers He suffers, he told me, thinking of the Child Martyr of Puente Genil.
Yes, I was a child of Misalito Regina and Lives of saints, confessional, Marian devotion and rosary. When I discovered that telling the priests that I wanted to be one of them told me to turn a blind eye to my natural thug in class and on the patio, it was the bicoca. And once a bishop, Monsignor Polachini, from the Venezuelan diocese of Guanare took me to school, at the time staying at home with a colleague, Monsignor Argimiro García, bishop of Coropiso, both on their way, precisely, to the Second Vatican Council (with my father’s personal messages for Paul VI). Seeing the authoritarian priests of the San Miguel school bowing before my bishop —by his first name Ángel Adolfo and a devotee of Our Lady of Coromoto—, respectfully kissing his ring and giving him the ball was a great pleasure; the visit also brought me new privileges.
As I said, my vocation disappeared when I woke up one morning my libido, exchanged the Missalito for Mama’s Moravian novels and also discovered that to go to the Congo it was more fun to be an anthropologist, naturalist, journalist or mercenary. The priests regretfully let me escape from their clutches when I was already one foot in the seminary. They would think that they had made a bad investment with me; I at least got the approval of organic chemistry and have done the first nine Fridays …
Returning to the bishop of Solsona and his passage to the dark side of the force, the other day we had a debate about the character with Josep Cuní and Emma Vilarasau (we are already a curious trio to think of as prelates). The actress was very critical and outraged with Monsignor de Montfalcó de Ossó (which sounds like a site of Valle Inclán), affecting his double standards. However, I have to thank him for the entertainment he has provided me with following his story. And it is that Xavier Novell with his mix of Ralph de Bricassart —the bishop climbs in love that Richard Chamberlain played in The thorn bird (1983) – and the anguished and later demonized Damien Karras from The Exorcist (1973) has led us to a world that we only believed possible in novels and cinema and not here next door, although you see how Montserrat is, which looks like the school of San Nicolas in the Bronx of Doubt,
The snooty (!) And wealthy Bricassart and the tormented and proletarian Karras both present characteristics of the strict (with his neighbor) bishop of Solsona: the former falls in love with the red-haired Meggie Cleary (Rachel Ward) putting his career on the line – which drives his influential and metemano Aunt Mary (Barbara Stanwyck) -, with a petting of very good Lord that lasts a whole miniseries and many restrictions; while the second, Jesuit, psychiatrist and occasional exorcist, has many doubts of faith and comes face to face with the devil. Karras has enough with the Evil One in the body of the adolescent contortionist Megan, but I sense in the novel and the film an erotic tension (sublimated in the midst of vomiting and prayers) with the girl’s mother, who played on screen Ellen Burstyn .
On horseback between Meggie and Pazuzu (the demon to be expelled), Sílvia Caballol, the psychologist, sexologist and writer (The Hell of Gabriel’s Lust, 2017) that has led the monsignor to the garden -of Gethsemane- and vice versa, he is no less character to round off a plot of which we still have many things to know: were they thinking of fleeing to Australia? The Da Vinci Code, The Demons of Loudun, The Fisherman’s Sandals, I Confess?, Did they sing in their illicit dawns Brother Jacques?
Be that as it may, I really wish you luck: the devil is happier, I imagine, because a bishop desertes (or a seminarian candidate is fired) than because a hundred sinners are condemned; and I cannot help launching from here a living sense for the triumph of defection, the unexpected victory of love, and of the flesh.
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Bishop Xavier Novell: The thorn bird nests in Solsona | Catalonia