One of the highlights of the RNA conference was a panel featuring Rocco Palmo, author of the Whispers in the Loggia blog. I've referred to him before, but Palmo is a 20-something from Philadelphia who has somehow managed to befriend of all kinds of higher ups in the Roman Catholic hierarchy. They tell him all sorts of news and he tells the rest of us.
Professional religion journalists approached him with a little awe and fascination and a slight undertone of jealousy. As Michael Paulson, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter from the Boston Globe, put it: "Rocco, who are you?" After the panel, I introduced myself, especially since I talked to Palmo around the time Shreveport Bishop William Friend retired. Palmo was a very gracious young man, who does love his church.
I also had a few seconds to pick his brain about recent bishop appointments. The good news is he said the time between retirements and appointments is getting shorter. As well, Palmo said the Papal Nuncio, Pietro Sambi (who is sort of the gatekeeper in the process - he sends the nominations to Rome so the Pope can pick a new bishop) is adamant about getting bishops who are pastors as well as administrators. In other words, he doesn't want guys who spent six months in a church and the rest of their careers locked up in the diocesan offices.
The bad news is we probably still have to wait for an appointment in Little Rock before Shreveport becomes a priority.