In a letter posted on the Los Angeles archdiocese's Web site, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said Zavala, a 60-year-old native of Mexico who has been a priest since 1977, told him early last month he has two out-of-wedlock "minor teenage children, who live with their mother in another state."
"Bishop Zavala also told me that he submitted his resignation to the Holy Father [Pope Benedict XVI] in Rome, which was accepted," Gomez said. "Since that time, he has not been in ministry and will be living privately."
The Vatican also announced Zavala's resignation, citing church law on resignation for illnesses or other serious matters, the Catholic News Service reported.
"The archdiocese has reached out to the mother and children to provide spiritual care as well as funding to assist the children with college costs," Gomez's letter stated. "The family's identity is not known to the public, and I wish to respect their right to privacy."