The scandal surrounding Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala is a “difficult moment” for the life of the archdiocese and a time for prayer and conversion, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a Jan. 6 letter.
It is understandable for Catholics to feel “disappointed, confused and maybe angry,” the archbishop said in his letter to the faithful.
“I share some of these feelings and I feel a spiritual closeness to all of you in this time,” he added.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted Bishop Zavala’s resignation on Jan. 4 after the bishop admitted to fathering two teenage children who live in a state other than California with their mother.
Archbishop Gomez said the scandal should be seen as “an invitation to deeper conversion, a time of prayer and penance to purify the interior of our hearts.”
“Let us strive with new dedication to be more generous in our worship, more compassionate in our love, and more faithful in our commitment to Jesus and his Gospel,” he said. “Let us strive with new dedication to be more generous in our worship, more compassionate in our love, and more faithful in our commitment to Jesus and his Gospel.”
“The Church is human, but the Church is also divine and Jesus promised to be with his Church until the end of the age, nourishing us with his Word and sacraments and guiding us by his Holy Spirit.”
The 60-year-old Bishop Zavala oversaw the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, one of five regions in the archdiocese. He has not been in ministry since he submitted his resignation.
Archbishop Gomez on Jan. 4 said that the archdiocese has reached out to the bishop’s children and their mother to provide spiritual care and financial assistance for college.
In his Jan. 6 letter the archbishop also sought the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels.
“Through her prayers, may we make this a time when we renew our faith and love for her Son and for his Catholic Church.”