Cardinal Daniel DiNardo talks about Pope's resignation

Pope Benedict XVI first pope to step down in 600 years

HOUSTON - In his first public comments since learning that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, head of the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston, said he was surprised by the announcement and a little saddened.

"At the same time, the Holy Father was very clear and precise on his reasons for resigning. They center of the very meaning of the Pope as governing the ship of St. Peter, the Church, and proclaiming the Gospel," said DiNardo. "These ministries involve strength of mind and body, that due to his advancing age, the Holy Fathers senses he can longer fulfill with the vigor required in today's age of rapid changes and questions of great relevance to the Faith,"

As a cardinal in the Catholic church, DiNardo will take part in a process, called a conclave, along with cardinals from around the world, to elect Pope Benedict's successor.

This will be DiNardo's first time assuming such an enormous responsibility.

"We want someone who has some stamina, because the work of the Holy Father is obviously intense," said DiNardo. "I don't know who is the running contender and even if I knew, I'd never tell," he said, sparking laughter in a room full of reporters and church officials.

The Houston area has an estimated 1.2 million Catholics and some said they would like to see DiNardo named to lead the church.

However, DiNardo dismissed that idea.

"I'm impressed that my name would be mentioned on any list, but I don't think that's likely," he said. "First of all, it's a question of experience. I've only been a cardinal a few years and it's unlikely that an American will be elected pope."

DiNardo said he doesn't have any specific details on a timetable to elect the new pope.  This is the first time in 600 years that a pope is stepping down.

"We pray for him and all the Church as the Cardinals now prepare to elect his successor in the weeks ahead.  May the Holy Spirit guide those efforts and may the prayers of the Mother of God assist us all in being in genuine communion with the Lord, with Peter, and will all members of the Church," said DiNardo. 

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