About That Bishop With The Two Children
In reading about Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, who resigned after acknowledging he had fathered two children, I recalled an encounter with that very same bishop a few years back that seems, in retrospect, all too predictive.
In April 2006, while doing research for my book, What's the Matter With California, I chanced upon a press conference Bishop Zavala was holding at the Downtown LA Cathedral. The good Bishop surrounded himself with about twenty chubby, confused-looking workers, most of them wearing T-Shirts that read, "Justice for janitors, SEIU local 1877." They were all part of what was called the "We Are America Coalition." The star speaker was one Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers.
The Bishop explained that on May 1, "International Worker's Day," the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would instruct its parishes to ring their church bells at 5 P.M. "as a symbol of solidarity" with workers and immigrants. I had absolutely no intention of saying anything at the press conference. But I could not resist the urge to inject a note of realism into the Q & A happy talk that followed the speeches.
"Bishop," I asked respectfully, "what do you say to those Catholics troubled by your alliance with these left leaning groups given their historic affection for abortion rights?"
The Bishop looked at me as if I had just peed on his shoes. "What are you talking about?" he scoffed. "This isn't about left or right. This is about justice."
"Bishop," I smiled, "May 1st? International Worker's Day?"
A few months later the unions repaid the Catholic Church for its support. The Los Angeles Times summarized the issue succinctly enough: "California's leading union organization, bucking organized labor's long-standing neutrality on the issue of abortion, is for the first time taking a strong stand in favor of abortion rights."
Specifically, the union asked its 2.1 million members to reject Proposition 85. This initiative would merely have required abortionists to honor the standards of ear-piercers and aspirin dispensers and get parents' permission before going to work on their daughters.
Spearheading the union assault on parental rights was none other than Dolores Huerta, star of the press conference I had attended at the Cathedral. As the Times noted, Huerta, "a Roman Catholic," had persuaded a pro-choice group to put its many interns to work passing out pro-abortion propaganda to the union delegates before the vote was taken. Huerta had obviously not gotten the memo that the Catholic Church considers abortion "murder."
The union support proved crucial in defeating Prop 85 by a narrow 53 to 47 margin. Word to bishops everywhere: Be careful who you get in bed with.