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)

    ALL RELIGIOUS PEOPLE are as crooked as the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

    All of them use RELIGION as a disguise to appear good but I can see their tail sticking out from under their SHEEPSKIN.

    RELIGIOUS LEADERS are nothing but the LOG that is your BLIND EYES.

    REMOVE the LOG from your eyes and you can SEE THE TRUTH.

    Christ told you to 'HATE' those that forced you into RELIGION in Luke 14:26 but your pastor will trick you into thinking that God inspired His words in that verse 'OUT OF CONTEXT' and you should believe him but not the inspired word of God and you will BELIEVE YOUR PASTOR and the ones that Christ told you to 'HATE' in Luke 14:26. Read Matthew 19:29 and get out of DODGE.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  2. dr. perry fisher


    January 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  3. lee

    God said, "It is not good for man to be alone". So He created Eve, and married them. Maybe it is time for the Catholic Church to read the Bible and follow the teaching in it.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

      The only purpose that I know of to have a mate is to populate the earth. Eve got Adam kicked out of the Garden of Eden, Delilah got Samson's eyes burned out, a woman taught her daughter how to get John the Baptists head chopped off, God said women are to remain SILENT IN CHURCH in 1st Corinthians 14:34 but they will not SHUT UP and brainwash your children in 'NOT TO BELIEVE IN THE Holy Bible', women only defile men and the 144,000 that were not defiled by women will return with Christ as God said in Revelation 14:4. Do you think the inspired His words 'OUT OF CONTEXT' or is God just ignorant?

      All women want from man is his gold and for him to let them boss them around instead of God.

      God is head of Jesus, Jesus is head of man and MAN IS HEAD OF WOMEN. (UNLESS HE IS A WHIMP LIKE ADAM, SAMSON, RELIGIOUS PEOPLE and U). BYE!

      January 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  4. Raul

    If you decide to become a Catholic priest, then you know before hand, what are the rules, what you can or can not do. He made a mistake as any other human.
    I read many comments in this post that are so sad and inmature. If you do not understand what the Catholic Church is, refrain from posting comments with no fundament.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  5. BobZemko

    Ma, Ma, where's our Pa?
    He's in the rectory, HA HA HA

    January 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  6. ja mccusker

    as a born again catholic, here's my take- how can a priest offer martial help to couples, when he is not married himself? marriage is a blessing, not a sentence. and where have we forgotten forgiveness? go with GOD and forget all the other crap and yes I DO MEAN CRAP. love, forgive, and be happy. 76 and loving it.

    January 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  7. King James Bible Society

    "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
    One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." 1 Timothy 3

    January 9, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • Pumbaa

      The NT does not say a priest can not have a wife. This is entirely a rule made up by the Catholic Church. Those of the Jewish faith are encourage to marry and to have children. Maybe the reason for priests not to be married is to make them more unlike Jews?

      January 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Michael Sweeney

      Eh? You don't make any sense. This is utter gibberish......

      January 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • BloominIdiots

      And the reason for that is so any wealth gained by the priest gets bequeathed to the church when he dies. It's basically yet another way the church steals money.

      What a scam these churches are...really..

      Jesus advocated for people to rid themselves of wealth, not horde it... Shame on you phony Christians...

      January 11, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • vahjayjayaddict

      married priests were common in the catholic faith until the late middle ages when an unfortunate, for the Church, event came to happen in that priests were leaving their estates to their wives. generous parishioners were bequeathing significant gifts to priests, rather than the Church, in the hope of prayers for forgiveness of sins. a priest with no heirs leaves all of his worldly possessions to the Church, thus a convenient solution for the Catholic church. no wife means no heirs, and a nice inheritance of properties, to Sir Pope.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  8. Cuervo Jones

    "If I get too old to chase women, I might go to heaven".............................................Mohammed Ali

    January 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  9. Observer


    January 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  10. ronald

    To bear children is the will of God, the catholic church is wrong in thier stance to deny marriage and procreation among its preisthood.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • .

      Catholic ILLEGAL Alien Bishop Father's Two ILLEGIMATE Children.
      There, that's a more accurate headline.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  11. Creaturz

    Of all the tests given to those who wish to walk the path of the cloth, it seems willpower and morality seem lacking.

    January 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  12. Reality


    To all us overse-xed h-o-mo-sapiens:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:


    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'"

    January 7, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality repeat bull sh it

      January 7, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • loriey

      So now he can become an Episopalian Bishop...get married etc

      January 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Reality

      And after he becomes an Episcopalian priest, he can come back to the RCC as a Catholic priest !!!!. The absurdity of it all!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • rzzzll

      OMG you are an EEEDDIIOTT!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Reality

      See also the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports regarding the HPV epidemic and its association with or-al s-ex.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  13. AvdBerg

    The following is an excerpt from the article ‘The Mystery Babylon’ of the Book ‘A World Deceived’ and also listed on our website http://www.aworldeceived.ca

    “16. The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand Gregory VII in the year 1079 AD. Jesus imposed no such rules nor did any of the apostles. On the contrary, Peter was married and Paul states that bishops were to have one wife and could have children (1 Tim 3:5,12; Matt 8:14-15).”

    The doctrine of celibacy is strictly man-made and has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. The Bishop of Los Angeles is not a servant of God but a natural man who is a servant of sin (John 8:34) and who has transformed into an apostle of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    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 sensationalize news involving religious scandals 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 in order to 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 Los Angeles 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’, ‘Popes and the Princes of This World’ and ‘What is Sin’.

    To give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) that control the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the articles ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ and ‘Influence of the Media’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

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

    January 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • RCLM

      This is why the Catholic church is NOT a true Christian Church. They DO NOT follow the teachings of Christ. Hopefully this man finds a real Christian church to belong to and becomes a real man of God and a good Godly father to his children.

      January 7, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • Guess What


      What's your church? Ah, that one... well, the Catholics and around 30,000 other churches say that you are not a TRUE christian either...

      January 7, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • geraldh

      The doctrine of celibaby is man made? Really? Peter says to Jesus "then it is BETTER not to marry". Jesus says "To some this has been given for the sake of the kingdom of God". This is in Matt 19 for those keeping score. Also Paul speaks of the value of celibacy in 1 Cor 7. Where are your protestant celibates. Who are the 144,000 not defiled by women who were chaste in Rev 14? No celibacy is quite biblical. Jesus was celibate.

      January 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • geraldh

      As for priestly celibacy it is not a DOCTRINE. It is a discipline. Big difference. Your examples of Peter and Paul are negated by that difference. Paul was not married and it seems Peter's wife was likely dead as there is no mention of her in Mark 1. Peter lives with his brother Andrew. Odd if he was still married. But so what, there are and have always been married priests in the CC. Eastern Rite priests are often married. Even in the latin rite there are married priests. That someone was married is no arguement against Catholicism.

      January 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • geraldh

      As for Paul's words that a Bishop must be the husband of one wife, why didn't Paul say "a bishop must be married". Odd phrasing. If he meant that he should have said that. But the reality is that in the early church this was taken as both stating that a Bishop must not be divorce or to have engaged in polygamy. This makes much more sense.

      January 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • .....

      CULT ALERT – AvdB is a TROLL on this site, they are liars and are only here to sell their book and website. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      January 8, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Gratia

      Gerald, where in the Bible does it say celibacy is mandatory? How is it then that the Roman Church's practice is biblical? The truth is, Tradition trumps the Bible in the Roman Church.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. The Trend

    What a bombshell... a straight priest!!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  15. all hail me

    i'm the king of the world. prove me wrong!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • It's pronounced du-MAS

      There is no world. I win!

      January 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  16. Hypatia

    I much prefer the Renaissance popes. At least they sinned with fun and style, instead of one sordid little subterranean scandal after another.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • LOLZ


      January 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  17. momoya

    If you had to wear a hat like that one you'd be thinking about what to do with your 'manhood' all the time, too.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  18. Jennie Laurie

    Well, for a scandal in the Catholic church, this one is pretty good!

    January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  19. booboobear

    Dear non-religious folks, human have anatomical parts for procreation. Use them responsibly.
    Dear religious folks, humans have body parts specifically created for procreation. GOD made those parts. Why doesn't GOD exclude those parts for people who are going to become priests/priestesses? I mean, GOD had a plan, right? So GOD knew who will be priests/priestesses, right? It's GOD's will that this bishop had wife and kids, right? So, why is he ashamed of GOD's will? Is he questioning GOD's will? Isn't GOD's will justified? Just saying...

    January 6, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • David Johnson


      Do you think god has a penis? If so, on who does He use it?

      Do you think Mary was His first? Was there foreplay?

      Curious in Arizona

      January 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • momoya

      I don't see much "intelligent design" in installing a reproduction factory right next to a sewage facility.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  20. RightTurnClyde

    This is another one of the many reasons I do not believe in or go to denominational churches. The greatest thing we can do on this earth is to give another human being life. It is NOT a sin and is is not a shame. Churches have condemned the gift of life and parenthood for centuries. Scarlet letters, ostracizing, back alley ab-or-ti-ons, condemnation. At the same time (myself a veteran) there is battlefield pre-battle communion and post battle forgiveness. (battles that we did not individually seek to be in). Incongruous but oh so common to every church. Dam-n one thing and praise another (and then act righteous and saintly while doing the same thing).

    January 6, 2012 at 10:13 am |
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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.