A Los Angeles bishop has resigned after he revealed to his superiors that he has a secret family. Mexican-born Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, 60, is the father of two teenage children who live with their mother in another state, reports the BBC. LA Archbishop Jose Gomez said the archdiocese is offering the family "spiritual care," as well as funding to help with college costs. He called the situation "sad and difficult." Zavala's resignation has been accepted by the Vatican.
The popular, influential bishop has been known as a champion of immigration rights and social and economic justice. "He is a wonderful advocate for the marginalized communities—the outcasts," a co-worker told the Los Angeles Times. "It was his understanding of God and our faith—that there is a preferential love for those who are suffering and those who are going through difficult times." His resignation is bound to re-ignite a debate over celibacy for Catholic clerics. "It's self-evident—celibacy does not work," said Father Richard McBrien, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. (Read more celibacy stories.)