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January 5th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Bishop admits having children, resigns

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A Los Angeles Catholic bishop has resigned from the church after admitting he is the father of two teenage children, leaders said.

Bishop Gabino Zavala told Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez in early December about the children, and the pope accepted his resignation Wednesday.

The mother and the two children live outside of California, Gomez said in a letter in which he described the situation as "sad and difficult."

Zavala had not been in the ministry since he shared his secret, and will be living privately, Gomez said.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese has reached out to the mother to provide spiritual care and funding to help with the children's college costs, the letter said.

Zavala is a native of Guerrero, Mexico, and grew up in Los Angeles, according to the archdiocese website. He became a priest in 1977 and worked in East Los Angeles. Since 1994, he had been the auxiliary bishop for the San Gabriel Region.

He was also president of Pax Christi USA, a Catholic organization that advocates for peace, for the past nine years.

"Bishop Zavala consistently brought the power of the gospel to bear on issues like immigration, worker rights, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nuclear disarmament," Pax Christi USA said in a statement on its website.

"During this time of personal hardship, we offer our prayers for Bishop Zavala, his family, and all those affected by this news," the statement added.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Catholic Church

soundoff (426 Responses)
  1. Claire

    As a Catholic, I would be OUTRAGED at the Archdiocese funding the college costs of a priest's illegitimate children!! Let him go to work and support his kids like every other deadbeat father. This just p*sses me off!!!!

    January 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      Perhaps you should dunk your head in the toilet.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  2. Freethinker

    There were a lot of stories quoted from the Bible. Here's another one: In Numbers 31:1-47, Moses, following God's command to punish the Midianites, ordered his troups to kill all men, women (Including pregnant ones), children, elderly people, new born babies BUT specifically told them to spare the virgin girls/young women for themselves and for the priests' enjoyment. The Bible specifically states 16,000 virgins were “spared”. How on earth can any book be holy with stuff like this in it. And there are more than a 1000 (Yes, thousand) similar instances in the Bible. Please make it your 2012 new year resolution to read the whole Bible cover to cover and set yourself free.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Abudu Rahman

      True, yet the same people want to single out prophet Muhammad for marrying a 9 year old when the Torah, which preceded prophet Muhammad specifically says a girl can be or should be married when she reaches puberty. It was a common practice in that era for men to marry young girls once they reached puberty. It crossed the board in all religions. It tickles me when I hear ignoramuses criticize the prophet.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      And what is your point Freethinker?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • .....

      Uncouth Swain is really Lycidas.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Well duh...where have you been?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • .....

      because all you can do is ask questions trying to seem smart when the reality is you're an idiot with a pee brain, don't tilt your head now or it will fall out.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Lol....bring on the typical trollisms.

      I love it when pl get so easily irked. Especially when all it takes is the simpliest of questions that do it the best 🙂

      January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • .....

      "I love it when pl get so easily irked. Especially when all it takes is the simpliest of questions that do it the best "

      You're assumption is wrong. Try again, that will cause you to have to use that pee brain now.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      See...I was right again. 🙂
      You are a good pet troll, you know all the basic troll tricks.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ........

      "See...I was right again. 🙂
      You are a good pet troll, you know all the basic troll tricks."

      Nice assumption again, but you take the cake in trolling. Try again.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Try again"....that's an amateur troll trick. Boooooo. We expect that from Reality or Heavensent. y ou can do better.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • .........

      ""Try again"....that's an amateur troll trick. Boooooo. We expect that from Reality or Heavensent. y ou can do better."

      Try again.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • .........

      Hey ..... that was my line, no fair.

      Try again.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • .........

      surround sound trolling

      January 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • ....

      Hey try again

      January 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • ....

      @ what

      January 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  3. larry

    I was getting a new battery for the car when I read the story about the Bishop. It is bad when a celibate guy gets more action than you do.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Lagnaf

      very funny

      January 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  4. mike

    That's standard practice south of the border. Every small town near a farm had two bosses: the (white) owner of the farm and the town priest. The owner had one or more mistresses. Same as the priests. That same culture is being brought to this nation by waves of illegals and legal immigrants. I'm sure this must be true: "Bishop Zavala consistently brought the power of the gospel to bear on issues like immigration, worker rights", in other words liberal Catholicism = Communism.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Must be nice to have the whole world in black-and-white.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  5. Joe Sixpack

    Phew! I'm so glad this isn't the other thing.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Damien

      THAT was funny.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  6. frankoboyz

    god is dog spelled backwards

    January 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  7. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    1 Corinthians 7:32-38: I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry - it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • John H

      except that you have no clue what this means. You have no idea whatsoever.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      JMB, I think it's a fine idea for you to remain celibate.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      Jon,
      Congratulations. You found your middle name, again. Phew. I thought you lost it. You can join the pompous a$$ club again.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  8. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    Luke 18:29-30 Jesus said to the Apostles "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive an overabundant return..."

    January 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Violent Communion

      It is just plain stupid to believe in this drivel.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That's right, JMB! Stick to your guns. Please, please, remain celibate.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  9. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    Matthew 19:12 : When the disciples questioned Jesus about not marrying, He said "Some are incapable of marriage, because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."

    January 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      And your point is.........

      January 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And then there's some who can't get a woman to take him seriously because he quotes bible verses about celibacy.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  10. Dave McGuire

    When they said "admits having children" I thought they meant...well, something different. Patterns, y'know.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    Revelation 14:3-5: and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • vmprophet

      "It is these who have not defiled themselves with women"

      I hardly think it is defiling your self by getting married and having kids. Isn't the reason woman was made for man and man for woman? Why would God see it as defiling ones self to partake in what he intended in the first place?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      Revelation is the softest ply toilet paper.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Observer

      Yep. Paul said marriage is just for those who can't control their lust. That's really trashing marriage.

      – I Corinthians 7:1-2 “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’ But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have own husband.”

      January 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I find it amazing that anyone would take seriously ANYTHING said by a guy who fell of a horse and said he met a dead guy.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      "it is these who follow the Lamb"...
      So they're doin the sheeps, and THAT is better ?

      January 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  12. c

    It is sad that the Catholic Church does not permit priests to marry. Interesting that this guy has to resign, but pedophile priests are just transferred. :/

    January 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      Praise God.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Jim

      Amen brother Scutinizer

      January 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  13. rweber

    Sick Dog.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  14. rweber

    Sick Dog. Send him to Alaska.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  15. trace

    Good for them for offering help with the children's college.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Shelly

      Oh yeah, I'm SURE the parishioners are THRILLED that their donations are going to sending those kids to college. The priest should have a few more on the congregation... what the heck.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • maczula

      Pay for their education? No way. I was a single parent with three kids in Catholic school and they didn't help me even though I did pro bono work for them–the principal embezzled money from the afterschool program I paid to send my kids to. My husband cheated on me (and every other woman he's ever been with) yet people in my church treated me like I had done something wrong when he left me with a newborn. I am so done with these people.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Congratulations, maczula. On leaving the catholic church, not on your husband being a jerk.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  16. Redleg

    Oh, the irony! In Christian scripture Jesus is called "Rabbi". No unmarried man merited that until the 20th century. The first commandment to people was be fruitful and multiply.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • DN3

      Since when is that the first commandment?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • dalis

      First commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.

      In other words, you can't serve two masters.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  17. foy

    How medieval. On to the post-religious age.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  18. EdDifendre

    Ridiculous. Not that he has kids; that the vow of celibacy continues to be a part of wackatholicism. Get modern.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  19. Violent Communion

    Oh dear, he didn't pull out?

    January 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  20. ja-coffalotte

    Pope on a rope

    January 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.