U.S. Catholic Bishop Who Resigned Fathered Two Children

Photo ~ Mexican-Americans celebrate Mass, led by San Gabriel Region Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on March 31, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. Catholic Bishop Who Resigned Fathered Two Children

VATICAN CITY Jan 4 (Reuters) - An assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles in the United States has resigned because he had a secret family, including two teenage children.

The Vatican said on Wednesday that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignation of Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop of the diocese which has been plagued by sexual scandals.

A brief Vatican announcement did not give the reason for Zavala's resignation, saying only that the pope had accepted it under the norm in canon (Church law) that says a bishop who is ill or otherwise unfit to carry out his duties should resign.

But Zavala's direct superior, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, has prepared a letter for the faithful in the archdiocese explaining the circumstances of the departure of Zavala, who was assistant bishop for the San Gabriel region of California.

In the letter, a draft of which was obtained from a Catholic Church source in Rome, Gomez said Zavala, 60, had informed him in early December that he was the father of two teenage children who live with their mother in another state. Reuters

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Bishop Zavala opposes the death penalty, supports young people, and is a long-time supporter of immigration reform, and although he is sometimes considered orthodox in his beliefs he has a long history of supporting controversial positions on homosexuality.

The Vatican had "no comment" on Bishop Gabino Zavala's resignation.