Archbishop Submits Resignation after Sex Allegations by Women

Associated Press
March 19, 1993

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The nation's first Hispanic archbishop submitted his resignation Friday amid accusations that he had sexual relationships with up to five women.

"It is my personal desire to thoroughly evaluate my life and ministry before God so that I may have a clear vision of my life and ministry for the future," Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez said in a letter released by the archdiocese.

Ron Wolf, chancellor of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, said Sanchez had asked Pope John Paul II for permission to resign from the post Sanchez had held since 1974.

On March 8, the archdiocese notified the Vatican of allegations that Sanchez had sexual relationships with as many as five women during the 1970s and early 1980s. Sanchez admitted having relationships with the women but did not say whether they involved sex, according to Wolf.

In a statement released by the archdiocese the next day, Sanchez asked forgiveness for any pain, harm and disappointment caused by the allegations. He has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations and has been in seclusion.

CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" plans to carry a report on Sanchez on Sunday, producer Ty Kim said. At least three women are expected to recount details of their relationships with the archbishop. The women will be clearly identified by name and face, Kim said.

Sanchez, who turns 59 Saturday, was a parish priest in 1974 when Pope Paul VI made him the surprise selection as archbishop of Santa Fe. The archdiocese covers 75,000 square miles, 90 parishes and 300,000 registered Catholics.

Among parishioners in Albuquerque, few had harsh words for the archbishop.

"I'm a sinner too," said 64-year-old Mary Cano. "He's just human; he's a man. We all make mistakes. Who are we to judge?"

In Santa Fe, visitors to St. Francis Cathedral were asked their reactions.

"I think it's good that he resigned," said Lelia Casey, a student at the University of New Mexico. "I feel like if you're going to set up dogmatism and you expect your parishioners to follow them, you should too.

"Priests should be able to marry. I believe that would cut down on some of the problems they're having."


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