The Guardian, Cif Belief: The Vatican’s problem with fathers who are fathers

Gabino Zavala is far from being the first priest with children – the Catholic church has struggled with celibacy for centuries

Last week it emerged that Gabino Zavala, the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles for nearly 18 years, has a secret family. The existence of his two teenage children has been deemed a sufficiently “grave cause”, as defined by Canon 401 of the code of canon law, that he has been obliged to resign. Memories of other notable cases resurface: the Eamon Casey scandal of the early 90s, when revelations that he fathered a child two years before his episcopal appointment led to his resignation as Bishop of Galway; the more recent case of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, who had as many as six children (although accusations of paedophilia and incest make this alleged offence pale into insignificance). Zavala is hardly the first priest to break his vow of celibacy in such spectacular fashion, and in fact the church has struggled with the problem of “Fathers who are fathers” for centuries…

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