Married Priests? Bishop Who Fathered Teens Adds to Debate

By Abe Levy
San Antonio Express-News
January 4, 2012

Should the Catholic Church relax its celibacy requirement for its priests?

Those who say yes have more fodder for their argument in the case of a revered California bishop who admitted recently to fathering two children now teens.

Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala tendered his resignation to Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez formerly of San Antonio who accepted it.

Here's an article on it.

It's a shock to see this obvious faltering from the celibacy vows he took.

And Zavala was a common name circulated for promotion to have a diocese of his own whenever there was a vacancy. Many Hispanic priests and auxiliary bishops have been elevated in recent years, presumably to reflect the need for leaders of the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. Catholic Church.

And he was a leader in the national body of Catholic bishops, including serving as chair of its communications committee.

And who knows, at 60, he could have been tapped for higher positions had this news not been made public.

The Catholic Church does allow priests to be married if they converted from another Christian faith and receive approval from the hierarchy. But this is not the typical case for most U.S. priests who generally enter seminary and prepare to commit to never getting married.

Celibacy is described by most Catholics as a discipline that helps them focus on ministry. But cases like this latest one feed into the notion that marriage would not hurt a priest's ability to minister.

Ministry is already a busy lifestyle, they'd say. Marriage for some could help, especially since it has been allowed in the Catholic Church for priests in earlier centuries. Others have said marriage would curb pedophile problem.

What do you think?


Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.