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Rocky Takes Toronto


In one unforgettable week, Archbishop Thomas Collins’ installation brought visits to S+L from Halifax’s Archbishop Prendergast and Denver’s Archbishop Chaput (who was interviewed for an upcoming Witness). The installation itself was heavenly—and not just for the Catholic press. Collins impressed with his accessibility and candidness to print, radio and television.

But there was another installation attendee and S+L visitor you may not have yet heard about. Rocco Palmo is the author of Whispers in the Loggia, a blog reporting and speculating on church appointments and pronouncements. The Church hierarchy can seem shadowy and impenetrable without the kind of analysis ‘Rocky’ provides. He counts Archbishops as friends, translates Church-speak for the mainstream media and serves as The Tablet’s American correspondent. With such credentials, the novel fact of his age–24 years old–is quickly forgotten.

Rocky, a fixture in our offices all week, taught me a thing or two about enthusiasm. Perhaps due to his familiarity with Church leaders everywhere, he understood better than I the immense significance of Collins’ arrival—not just for Toronto, but for the whole Church in Canada. His enthusiasm palpable, he showed no trace of the cynicism one might expect from an expert in Church politics. He’s the kind of guy whose stories frequently end with “I was moved to tears”—and you believe it. Critics are ubiquitous; rare is he who can recognize what is truly good, then rejoice rowdily, fittingly.


  1. Mary Ann Herrington says:

    I found “Whispers” in a roundabout way. I write for a small daily newspaper in Western New York. My favorite story titled “The Cardinal Rule” detailed my meeting with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz in Krakow. It ran in my hometown paper, the Dunkirk Observer; the Am-Pol Eagle, a Polish weekly; and the Polish American Journal, a national monthly paper. But when I asked my home diocese, the Diocese of Buffalo,New York to run it in their newspaper, the Western New York Catholic, it was rejected because it did not suit their editorial purposes.

    I had a hard time dealing with the fact that my story would be snatched up by secular newspapers but rejected by the diocesan one. I wrote to my email buddy, Michael Paulson, who is the religious reporter for the Boston Globe, telling him how dejected I was. He wrote back asking if I was aware that “The Cardinal Rule” was cited on “Whispers in the Loggia.” I didn’t even know what that was but he sent me the link. I was really surprised to see my story posted there (July 10, 2006) and to this day I don’t know how Rocco found it. He even called it “a cute story”. His post more than made up for the snub from the diocese. And I have been a faithful reader of “Whispers” ever since.

    I would still love to know how Rocco found my story. If you could ask him and let me know, that would be great.

    God bless you all,

    Mary Ann Herrington

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