"Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two! But, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervor and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom."
As far as the Apostle James is concerned, I must say that I really like this last paragraph from a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop. It speaks much about the stuff of which saints and martyrs are made and doesn't shy away from pointing to the example of St. James, giving the primacy to Peter, a man himself with an earlier and inglorious history, who out of fear and self-interest denied Jesus three times on the night He was betrayed by Judas who went where such go out of despair.
James, obviously, is the one who leaves not cowardice but youthful ambition completely behind and we aren't exactly told how that came to be but that certainly it did.
Presiders over Churches need our prayers, more often than not that they might make that inexplicable and courageous comeback to the greater honor and glory of God. All's well that ends well, as the saying goes.