Cardinal González Zumárraga was born in Pujili (Ecuador) on 18 March 1925. He was ordained on 29 July 1951 following studies at the San José seminary in Quito and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical University in Salamanca, Spain where he obtained a doctorate in canon law. He was made auxiliary bishop of Quito on 17 May 1969 (with the titular diocese of Tagarata) and was consecrated as bishop in Quito on 15 June 1969 by Cardinal Pablo Muñez Vega SJ, Archbishop of Quito. He was made Bishop of Machala on 30 June 1978 and then Coadjutor Archbishop of Quito on 28 June 1980. He succeeded to full governance of the Archdiocese on 1 June 1985.