New Mexicans React to Death of Former Santa Fe Archbishop Robert Sanchez

By Joe Vigil
January 20, 2012

[with video]

People prayed in the hometown of former Santa Fe Archbishop Robert Sanchez Friday night.

A small group gathered outside San Miguel Mission Church in Socorro to remember the 77-year-old who passed away on Friday.

Sanchez was baptized there and performed many baptisms at the church.

Gene Romero said her daughter was baptized by Sanchez in 1960.

Friday night Romero told KOB Eyewitness News 4, "My daughter was getting baptized when he first came back from Rome. And we named her after him. His name is Robert and we named her Roberta. She was 19-days-old at the time. He is going to be very well missed and I'm fortunate to have known him."

Pope Paul VI appointed Sanchez as the 10th Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1974.

He held the position for nearly 20 years.

Sanchez was the first Hispanic Bishop in the U.S.

The former Archbishop also became well known for a huge sex abuse scandal.

It was revealed that he covered up child sex abuse by priests.

In a court deposition, Sanchez said he did not understand sexual molestation of a child to be a crime.

He ended up resigning from his post in 1993.

But, after all these years his support base is still strong.

Socorro resident and former neighbor Mary Soto said, "I really respected him. I loved him. And I don't believe any of the stuff they said about him. Even if he committed something you have to be forgiven and forget about it because was a really good man."

According to our news partners at The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sanchez died Friday in Albuquerque after an undisclosed illness.


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