By Marianne Medlin
Pope Benedict publicly accepted the resignation of Los Angeles auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala on Jan. 4, after the bishop admitted to fathering two children.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez called the news “sad and difficult” in a Jan. 4 letter to the faithful, explaining that Bishop Zavala informed him in early December that he is of the father of two teenage minor children who live in another state with their mother.
Since 60-year-old Bishop Zavala submitted his resignation to the Pope, he “has not been in ministry and will be living privately,” Archbishop Gomez said. Bishop Zavala oversaw the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, which is one of five in the archdiocese.
The archbishop noted that the Los Angeles archdiocese “has reached out to the mother and children to provide spiritual care as well as funding to assist the children with college costs.”
He emphasized that the family’s identity is unknown to the public, and that he wishes “to respect their right to privacy.”
Archbishop Gomez also announced in a separate Jan. 4 statement that he is appointing Monsignor James Loughnane – who has served the archdiocese for several decades – as episcopal vicar of the San Gabriel region.
“I am very grateful that he has accepted this appointment in this very challenging moment for our archdiocese,” he said in a letter to Catholics in the region. “I know you will welcome and support him as he begins his new duties.”