John L Allen and Pope FrancisJohn L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, and previously served both as a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and later as associate editor of the Boston Globe. He’s the senior Vatican analyst for CNN, the author of ten books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, and a popular speaker both in the United States and abroad.
The London Tablet has called Allen “the most authoritative writer on Vatican affairs in the English language,” and renowned papal biographer George Weigel has called him “the best Anglophone Vatican reporter ever.”
When Allen was called upon to put the first question to Pope Benedict XVI aboard the papal plane en route to the United States in April 2008, the Vatican spokesperson said to the pope: “Holy Father, this man needs no introduction.”
That’s not just a Vatican judgment. Veteran religion writer Kenneth Woodward of Newsweek described Allen as “the journalist other reporters – and not a few cardinals – look to for the inside story on how all the pope’s men direct the world’s largest church.”
Allen’s work is admired across ideological divides. The late liberal commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley called his writing “indispensable,” while the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a conservative, called Allen’s reporting “possibly the best source of information on the Vatican published in the United States.”
Allen’s most recent book is The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church, from Time. John divides his time between Rome and his home in Denver, Colorado. He grew up in Western Kansas, and holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas.
Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith (Continuum, 2000)
Conclave: The Politics, Personalities and Process of the Next Papal Election (Doubleday, 2002)
All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks (Doubleday, 2004)
The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope was Elected and What it Means for the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 2005)
Opus Dei: An Objective Look behind the Myth and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 2005)
The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 2009)
People of Hope: A Conversation between Archbishop Timothy Dolan and John L. Allen Jr. (Doubleday, November 2011)
The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution (Doubleday, 2013)
The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2013)
The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church (Time, 2015).
Allen has been profiled in various national and international publications. Here’s a piece from Newsweek:
Crux can be found at