KU News Release

April 6, 2011
Contact: Jill Jess, University Relations, 785-864-8858

KU alumnus and CNN correspondent to give Religious Studies Lecture

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas alumnus working as CNN’s senior Vatican analyst will present the annual Religious Studies Lecture at KU.

John L. Allen Jr., will speak on “The Future Church,” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11, at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. Originally from Hays, Allen earned a master’s degree in religious studies at KU in 1992 and has written six books on the Roman Catholic Church.

John Allen, left, shakes hands with Pope Benedict XVI.

The lecture title comes from Allen’s most recent book published by Doubleday in 2009, “The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church.”

In addition to his CNN duties, Allen is a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, covering the Vatican from the Reporter’s Rome office. His weekly column “All Things Catholic” for the Reporter is widely read, even by Vatican insiders, as a source of insight on the global Roman Catholic Church.

Allen broke stories for the Reporter on Rome’s response to the American sexual abuse crisis, the Vatican’s opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the death of John Paul II, the election of Benedict XVI and a variety of other important Vatican events.

His other books include “Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith,” (Continuum, 2000); “Conclave, The Politic, 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); and “The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope was Elected and What it means for the Catholic Church” and “Opus Dei: An Objective Look behind the Myth and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church” (both Doubleday, 2005).

Allen is a frequent guest commentator on stories related to the Vatican. The March 21 edition of “60 Minutes” on CBS that included a feature profile on New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, featured an interview with Allen, who is writing a book on Dolan, for background.

Allen’s undergraduate degree is from Fort Hays State University. He attended Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays.

He and his wife, Shannon, live in Denver and maintain a residence in Rome.

The Religious Studies Lecture is sponsored by KU’s Department of Religious Studies and its support organization, the Friends of the Department of Religious Studies. The annual event includes a reception for students, faculty and staff members and supporters of the department at which student honors and awards are announced.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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