Cardinal Timothy Dolan told NY1 Monday evening that said he was surprised to hear of Pope Benedict XVI's wish to retire.
Vatican spokesmen confirmed Monday morning that the 85-year-old pontiff is retiring at the end of the month because he no longer has the "strength of body and mind" to fulfill his papal duties.
Speaking at the New York Athletic Club in Midtown, Dolan said he would rather remain archbishop of New York than become the next pontiff.
Dolan will be among the cardinals selecting the next pope in Rome. The process is expected to take place sometime in mid-March and Dolan admitted he is a rookie, as he was only elevated to cardinal last year by Benedict.
Asked what his chances are at succeeding Benedict, Dolan said he "wouldn't bet the house on it."
The cardinal said he will miss having Benedict as the leader of the Catholic Church.
"I think his legacy is that he's been a remarkably erudite, holy, shy but engaging man who has been able to enhance the credibility of the church's message in its ongoing dialogue and engagement with culture," Dolan said. "That will probably be it."
Dolan said he hoped the next pontiff would be similar to Benedict but show more vigor.
Benedict is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.