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. ja-coffalotte

    The Church started Celibacy only to get the money, they have simply been a mechanism of control from the get go, religion is a joke. Tax them, jail the child molesters, shut them down.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      Thank you.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  2. clearfog

    Many popes had children. Maybe he should have been promoted.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      It's good to be the king.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    I support abortion and a woman's right to choose to use abortion as a sweet form of birth control on a regular basis. I support gay marriage.

    god does not exist. There is no proof that one does, and until the day comes when the giant Space Cop in the sky cartwheels down from the heavens like Chris Farley naked, then I'm not going to waste my time believing in that stupidity.

    If people want to kill puppies, that's their choice.


    10. 2 Kings 2:23-24
    Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

    9. Mark 14:51-52
    And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

    8. Deuteronomy 23:1
    He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

    7. Genesis 38:8-10
    Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.

    2. Judges 3:21-22
    And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out.


    January 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  4. bp

    Gingrinch and Santorum will find a way to blame Democrats and liberals for this, just as they did with pedophilia in Boston (Santorum) and the murder of children (Gingrinch).

    January 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • mike

      The bishop is as liberal as they come. One of the many Liberal Catholics.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  5. musings

    He doesn't sound like a bad guy, just someone without that "all important" celibacy calling. I think the Episcopalians should snap him up immediately. But the Catholics have no trouble hiring Episcopalian married priests – that's okay.
    As with a normal Methodist minister or something, the kids need to be educated. My husband is a professor. Because the university doesn't pay so much, they help us with college fees. Let's reform the Church and start acting like the American Protestant- Catholics we REALLY are, not some medieval hypocrisy.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  6. lilaclily

    When the church first began priest and vaticans had children outside of marriage all the time.
    Becoming a priest was a PC way to become a deadbeat dad.
    Vaticans are the only ones given the ability to legitimize their children in the church.
    I just don't understand why he resigned. It's not like this is anything new. Maybe the woman wanted him to go home to her and his children???

    January 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  7. Catholic Fantasies

    Wow, I guess this bishop's newly revealed family is all the fault of gays or celibacy or women or muslims or blacks or heretical politicians or Obama or children or the devil, take your pick. Fine example those Catholics, just fine as frog's hair. Maybe Rick Santorump can take his place?

    January 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  8. cindy

    That's a Catholic for you.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  9. ELH

    Pervert? No. Pedophile? No. Just a plain lying priest who would preach to others to do as he said, not as he did.

    The Catholic Church needs to come out of the Dark Ages and let their priests marry. Oh, yes, and also permit nuns the same privilege.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • musings

      "just a plain lying priest" is kind of a mean thing to say. Otherwise, you're right.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  10. agathokles

    I've wondered why so many avowed atheists seem to hang out on the "Belief" blog. What's up with that?

    January 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Squeeky

      Avowed atheist here. This is linked from the front page. I don't hang out here, I click in out of curiosity as to what the religocrits are up to from time tot time.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you care? Why shouldn't they? It's a free country, last time I checked.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Sure Tom, Tom. You're a firm believer in freedom, except when people believe in things that you don't agree with. Then it's your job to tell them they have to believe in what you believe in.


      What a stinking, vile hypocrite.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Catholic Fantasies

      because it's a riot reading about religious hypocrites

      January 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, herbie, what's wrong? Did your mommy forget to bake your favorite cookie?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      A family of 500 could live for a week on the food you consume per day. Just an interesting statistic I found.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where'd you find it? In your colon?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • The Central Scutinizer

      Tom Tom – Hey what's up? I am almost done with book two; awesome book. Once I finish the Dragon Tattoo books and am going to read Grishim’s new book. (got if for Christmas) Happy New Year!


      Silent Prayer

      Believe the Thief and brandish your weapon not
      He tells the truth and his eyes focus on the horizon
      He will say to you, the tornado is coming
      He will say to you, cross me not or die
      He will grab you and hold you and shed a tear with you
      But he will never help you
      The Thief takes and the Thief gives, but he does not tell you his plans
      He is deaf to your pleas
      He is deaf to all things living and dead


      January 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  11. Hannah

    People talk about how dirty this guy is and that he is a liar. It is true, but doing what comes naturally, having a relationship with a woman and having children. How can the catholic church say this is dirty and wrong. It is the church that is wrong. I am always sorry when I hear that is person was brought up catholic. it just means that they likely didn't have a chance to think for themselves.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • studdmuffins

      You're showing sure signs of a public education. I expect a more cheerful greeting next time I enter the store. Thanks.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  12. Juan Baptiste

    i think this guy also eat hot dog

    January 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  13. Erick

    I love how holy religious people think they and their ideas are....and I love when we get wind of their stinking, dirty laundry. What a bunch of hypocrites; all of them.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  14. Rich

    Great another lying priest. Pedafilies, pervs and just dumb old men. the pope hahahahahahahahahaha

    January 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • charlie

      not to mention hypocrital.... keeping his kids a secret, for christs' sake???

      January 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  15. Emigdio Alvarez

    better to have kids than to sleep with kids.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • agathokles

      Unfortunately, it's not "either/or."

      January 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Thorn Birds!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  17. The Central Scutinizer

    The church should really cut this guy some slack. He is from East L.A., he had to have some kids for body guards. Have you been to East L.A.???

    January 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  18. AvdBerg

    In a letter released by Cardinal Sean Peter O’ Malley he expressed his sorrow for the abuse that has taken place, is the sorrow of the world which worketh death, while Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10). That is the same as the Pope praying for peace at Christmas and Easter time but there never is any (Matthew 15:9; 18:20), as they don’t know or are able to understand that even Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9; 1 John 5:19).

    Unfortunately mankind prefers to follow after the spirit of darkness over light and this has now become their condemnation (John 3:19).

    Our Ministry, which is in Christ and according to the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), has reached out to CNN and key contacts for more than two years but they continue to spread lies and falsehood rather than a message of truth. Recently they even arranged to have all of our e-mails blocked to ensure we are no longer able to contact the writers and explain their deceptive articles. The purpose of our postings is to keep straight the way of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    For a better understanding of the issues that the Boston Archdiocese is facing we invite you to read the item ‘Boston Diocese names 250 priests’ listed as the second item on the Current Events page of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    We also do encourage you to read the articles ‘Boston University ~ School of Theology and Stonehill College’, ‘The Mystery Babylon’ and ‘Popes and the Princes of This World’.

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Catholic Fantasies

      is that all you people do is quote scripture? don't you have something better to do like feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or something more useful than praying?

      January 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Redleg

      The only problems the Vatican faces are that it is the only nation on earth that officially shelters pederasts. Everyone else at least condemns banging little boys.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • .....

      CULT ALERT – Don't bother going to their garbage website. They are LIARS and not christians.
      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      January 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  19. The Phist

    That was productive. I'm still not convinced having contemplated all of this information while destroying my toilet that this is relevant. To anything. At all.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for gods and other nonexistent things

    Prayer changes nothing.
    Prayer has wasted time throughout the course of history
    Prayer defines idiots.
    Prayer gives you lots of practice on your knees.
    To the master the bible says you can have many slaves.
    Prayer opens the bowels like high fiber Raisin Bran.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • scranton

      Why? If people wish to pray it is their prerogative. On your death bed you will be praying your butt off.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Dennis Fung

      Scranton: Pascal's Wager. Google it, read, and learn.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Catholic Fantasies

      here here!

      January 5, 2012 at 9:55 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.