Archbishop reacts to Pope's resignation

Posted at: 02/11/2013 9:31 PM
Updated at: 02/11/2013 9:33 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Archbishop Michael Sheehan held a news conference Monday afternoon in Albuquerque to talk about Pope Benedict's resignation announcement.

The Roman Catholic community of New Mexico was just as shocked as the rest of the world, Sheehan said.

"My phones and emails have all been very busy, and I think that it was a complete surprise to everyone," Sheehan said.

Sheehan last visited with Pope Benedict XVI back at the Vatican in May 2012, when he received a gold cross as a gift.  He wore it around his neck Monday.

"At that time, he was fully aware of what was going on and he was fully engaged with us in the discussions we had with him," Sheehan said.

Nearly 322,000 Catholics make up the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

"It is a shock, for me as a Catholic, that he would just resign," Rosemary Aragon said.  "I really didn't think that they could."

"I just thought it was kind of strange," Ted Sandoval said.  "I just was hoping it wasn't his health was too bad, he was sick or something."

Sheehan made it clear, the church supports the Pope's courage to step down and do what he thinks is best.  But his legacy will forever live on in our state.

"For us here in New Mexico, it was a very special thing for us when he canonized the Indian saint...this decision to canonize the first American Indian saint in the church was welcomed by the many Catholic Native Americans of New Mexico," Sheehan said.

The main difference Catholics will notice, starting at the end of the month when Pope Benedict XVI officially resigns, Sheehan said, his name will no longer be mentioned during mass until a new one is elected.