No Longer in Ministry and Living Privately

California Catholic Daily
January 5, 2012

Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 1994, has resigned his position after revealing to his superiors he had fathered two children, apparently while holding the auxiliary’s post.

In a one-sentence announcement issued yesterday, the Vatican press office said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted Bishop Zavala’s resignation.

“I have some sad and difficult information to share with you,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez in a brief statement issued by the archdiocese. “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,” said Archbishop Gomez. “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,” said the archbishop. “The family’s identity is not known to the public, and I wish to respect their right to privacy.”

According to a brief archdiocesan biography, Bishop Zavala, 60, was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and grew up in Los Angeles. He attended St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and was ordained a priest in 1977. After obtaining a degree in canon law from the Catholic University of America, he served on the archdiocesan tribunal. In 1992, Bishop Zavala became rector of St. John’s Seminary, and in 1994, Cardinal Roger Mahony ordained him auxiliary bishop for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region. The region covers East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys, and includes 66 parishes, 13 high schools, three hospitals and two missions.

In a separate statement yesterday, Archbishop Gomez said he had appointed Msgr. James Loughnane as Episcopal Vicar for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, effective immediately.

During his time as an LA auxiliary, Bishop Zavala developed a reputation as a supporter of organized labor and became deeply involved in the Catholic “peace movement.” He was also friendly towards gay and lesbian ministries in the archdiocese and nationally.

At the time of his resignation, he was nearing the end of his third three-year term as bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, the U.S. arm of the international anti-war movement of the same name. “Pax Christi USA rejects war, preparations for war, and every form of violence and domination,” says the group’s website. “It advocates primacy of conscience, economic and social justice, and respect for creation. Pax Christi USA commits itself to peace education and, with the help of its bishop members, promotes the gospel imperative of peacemaking as a priority in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

As recently as June 2011, Bishop Zavala wrote an editorial for the heterodox National Catholic Reporter in which he decried what he called an “unprecedented assault on workers’ rights now spreading across the country.”

“From Wisconsin to Ohio to New Hampshire, political leaders have demonized unions and stripped workers of basic rights that give them a voice at the bargaining table,” wrote Bishop Zavala. “Teachers, nurses and first responders are the victims of an ideological agenda that hurts hardworking Americans who simply want a voice on the job. This is nothing less than a moral failure that undermines values at the heart of our democracy and diverse faith traditions.”

In a June 2010 speech to the annual Catholic Media Association convention in New Orleans, Bishop Zavala took aim at the unwieldy Catholic blogosphere, saying he and his brother bishops were “very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of Magisterium and judge others in the Church. Such actions shatter the communion of the Church that we hold so precious.”

“But what does it mean not to ‘assume the role of Magisterium?’” asked blogger Matthew Warner, writing in the orthodox National Catholic Register. “It certainly doesn’t mean we can’t speak the truth with confidence. And if I am reiterating teaching from the Magisterium and trying to apply it to daily issues, I am not assuming the role of the Magisterium, I’m assuming my role as a practicing Catholic.”

Bishop Zavala was also an outspoken critic of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. At a Sept. 2010 meeting of Pax Christi USA in Washington, D.C., Bishop Zavala called for the immediate pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. "Despite all the claims by U.S. officials and the media, the situation in Afghanistan after nearly nine years of U.S.-led liberation is horrendous," Bishop Zavala told those attending the meeting.








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