Bishop Zavala resigns after disclosing he is father of two children

Bishop Gabino Zavala (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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VATICAN CITY — Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala has resigned after disclosing to superiors that he was the father of two children.

The Vatican announced the bishop’s resignation today in a one-line statement that cited church law on resignation for illness or other serious reasons.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced the “sad and difficult” news in a letter to Catholics in the archdiocese. He said Bishop Zavala, who was auxiliary bishop for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, had informed him in early December that he was the father of two minor teenage children who live with their mother in another state.

Bishop Zavala told Archbishop Gomez that he had submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. Since that time, Bishop Zavala has not been in ministry and “will be living privately,” Archbishop Gomez said.

“The archdiocese has reached out to the mother and children to provide spiritual care as well as funding to assist the children with college costs. The family’s identity is not known to the public, and I wish to respect their right to privacy,” Archbishop Gomez said. He asked prayers for all those affected by the situation.

Here is the text of Archbishop Gomez’ letter:

January 4, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I have some sad and difficult information to share with you. Bishop Gabino Zavala, auxiliary bishop for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, informed me in early December that he is the father of two minor teenage children, who live with their mother in another state.

Bishop Zavala also told me that he submitted his resignation to the Holy Father in Rome, which was accepted. Since that time, he has not been in ministry and will be living privately.

The Archdiocese has reached out to the mother and children to provide spiritual care as well as funding to assist the children with college costs. The family’s identity is not known to the public, and I wish to respect their right to privacy.

Let us pray for all those impacted by this situation and for each other as we reflect on this letter.

May the Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, grant you peace.

Most Reverend José H. Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles

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