The quiet storm over Bishop Zavala and his family

National Catholic Reporter

by Joe Ferullo on Jan. 17, 2012 NCR Today

I was having some coffee with an old friend from a well-known Catholic family a few days ago when the subject of Bishop Gabino Zavala came up. Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Los Angeles archdiocese, resigned in early January when it was discovered he was the father of two teenaged children. But, my friend said, no one was talking about it.

She was right. The story had appeared dutifully in local and national newspapers the day of the resignation announcement, but that was it. There was no outrage, no beating the drums about the hypocrisy of celibacy, no linkage to the unending pedophilia scandals. The story just fizzled.

We ordered a second cup and worked over a few conspiracy theories: The new Los Angeles archbishop, Jose Gomez, pulled strings and silenced the press. This was unlikely.

Powerful allies of the well-regarded Zavala made back-door pleas to lower the temperature to local editors who also knew and respected the former bishop. A better theory, but still out there on the edge.

Our cynical side stoked, we tried this one: apathy. After more than a decade of tawdry scandal from every corner of the globe, this story just didn’t shock anybody. In fact, compared to some of the revelations of the last few years, it was downright tame.

But a better answer hit me: The story was just too sad.

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