For metropolitan archbishops, only

You may have heard or read that Archbishop Dolan left yesterday for Rome, where he will on Monday (June 29) receive a pallium.

A pallium?

It is a wool stole that goes around an archbishop’s neck.

Every archbishop named in the past year to head an archdiocese will get one.

The pallium represents Dolan’s authority over the Archdiocese of New York and the other dioceses of New York state. See, he’s a metropolitan archbishop.

The pope wears a pallium, too. He has authority over a larger jurisdiction.

Church historian Christopher Bellitto explained in his book “101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy:”

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A  pallium is a circular piece of white wool about three inches wide marked by six black silk crosses, four of which are decorated with pins, with two slips of wool a bit over a foot long hanging down the front and back. A metropolitan archbishop’s pallium symbolizes his jurisdiction over a  geographic area, while the pope’s pallium represents the universal jurisdiction as Peter’s successor that is his alone. Pope Benedict XVI wears an elaborate form of the pallium: a version larger and longer than the usual one that looks like a stole tossed over the left shoulder, with red crosses instead of black. This style was used in the ancient church: mosaics depict early bishops wearing such a pallium, although it often looks like the decoration on their vestment, instead.

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By the way, I think it’s safe to say that most media coverage of Dolan so far has been quite positive, if not enthusiastic. He’s a tremendously likeable fellow and there is, to be honest, a great sense of relief after a decade of no media access to Cardinal Egan.

But the Archdiocese has to be especially thrilled by some recent columns by the Daily News’ Joanne Molloy, who is absolutely fawning in her coverage of the New Boss.

She has a column today that is datelined “EN ROUTE TO VATICAN CITY,” which appears to mean that she’s going on the trip to Rome. (Yeah, I’m jealous.)

She writes:

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He is charged with helping not only Catholics but all poor New Yorkers as head of the local branch of Catholic Charities, which wants to halve America’s poverty rate in 10 years.

But, for now, it was time to leave the world’s problems behind and take to the plane.

“I’m so excited,” said Suzie Palmgren of upstate Bearsville as she boarded the Alitalia flight that somehow seemed safer with Dolan on board.

“This is the first time I’ve left my husband and kids behind in 19 years.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.