LOS ANGELES, California –Pope Benny has accepted a rare early resignation from a Los Angeles bishop who recently admitted to being the proud papa of two teenagers.
No, this is not The Onion. 60-year-old Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala tendered his resignation with the Catholic Church today under a code of canon law that lets bishops step down before the usual retirement age of 75 due to sickness or any other reason that may make them unfit for office – in this case, a violation of the Roman Catholic requirement of priesthood celibacy.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez was the whistleblower, saying that Zavala had told him last month that he was the father of two teenagers who lived in a different state with their mother. Not long after, Zavala gave his notice.
The archdiocese is playing fair, offering spiritual and financial help (for college) to the teenagers, according to Gomez’s letter posted to the blog of the Catholic News Service of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Though there are some exceptions, (Eastern rite priests, Anglican converts) celibacy is pretty much non-negotiable, and is thought to discourage many young men from joining the priesthood. But that didn’t stop Zavala. No sir.
In related news, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Cirilio Flores to take the reins of the San Diego diocese from Bishop Robert Brom when he retires. Brom is known for overseeing a $198.1 million settlement with 144 people who alleged sexual abuse at the hands of priests back in 2007, the second-largest abuse settlement since the early days of the scandal in 2002.
Catholic scandal celebrates it’s birthdays alongside sin itself, but in my mind, at least this Zavala guy chose to start a family instead of destroying one.What do you think? Are we going to be seeing more of this?