New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he was as startled as the rest of the world about Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign later this month due to failing health.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan (NBC)

Dolan says he feels a special bond with the pope because he was the one that appointed him archbishop of New York.

Dolan, speaking on the NBC's Today Show Monday, says he wears the ring and the cross the pope gave him.

“I’m as startled as the rest of you and as anxious to find out exactly what’s going on,” said the Cardinal on Today. “Except for prayer, I don’t know what else to do. I’ll await instruction with everyone else.”

The pope announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 because he's simply too infirm to carry on.

Dolan says the conclave to elect to a new pope would do well to look for the kinds of qualities Pope Benedict possessed: knowledge about the world, a theological depth, personal piety and linguistic talent.

“Boy, I love this pope,” the cardinal said. “The world looks to him with respect and affection.”

Dolan is considered a contender to be elected to succeed Pope Benedict.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report