Following accusations that he was conducting a sexual relationship with his private secretary, the Bishop of Mallorca will dismiss the island’s faithful for the last time on Saturday at Palma Cathedral before officially resigning his post.
Having endured criticism from the Holy See and being told by the Archbishop of Spain that his position was ‘untenable’ in light of the lurid claims, Javier Salinas will step down as shepherd of the diocese, almost nine months after the allegations first surfaced.
The 68-year-old was openly confronted by Mariano de España, a well-known member of the Mallorcan aristocracy, who accused the Bishop in December of having a serious affair with his wife and Salinas’s secretary, Sonia Valenzuela.
España had hired a private detective who returned from his investigations armed with hundreds of photographs showing Valenzuela regularly entering the Bishop’s private home late at night.
The detective is said to have recorded 145 hours of telephone conversations between the pair apparently indicating an intimate relationship.
Both the Bishop and Ms Valenzuela have denied the claims but España has filed for divorce and the Vatican has had little patience with Salinas over the highly-publicised scandal.
An announcement from Rome on Saturday is not expected to allude to the real motives behind Salinas’s untimely departure, predictably detailing ‘health reasons’ as the cause.
After Saturday’s mass, Minorcan Sebastia Taltavull will become the new Bishop, having been airlifted from Barcelona at the Vatican’s hasty behest, an unusual move as it tries to restore order to the diocese.