John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux, specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. He has written eleven books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, and also is a popular speaker on Catholicism both in the United States and internationally.
The London Tablet has called John “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 John 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 spokesman 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 John 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.” His work is admired across ideological divides.
Liberal commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley calls his writing “indispensable,” while the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a conservative, called his reporting “possibly the best source of information on the Vatican published in the United States.” John’s weekly column, “All Things Catholic,” is widely read as a source of insight on the global Church.
Among John’s books are “Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church”, and two about Pope Benedict XVI. The first was written before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became pope; the other came after Benedict’s election to the papacy and was the first biography of the Pope in English.
John's articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, CNN, NPR, The Tablet, Jesus, Second Opinion, The Nation, the Miami Herald, Die Furche, and the Irish Examiner.
He is a senior Vatican analyst for CNN, and was a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter for 16 years. John, a native of Kansas, received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Fort Hays State University and a master's degree in religious studies from the University of Kansas.
For several years, he taught journalism at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California and also supervised the student-run newspaper, The Knight. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto, Ontario; Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.; St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt.; and the University of Dallas, Dallas, Texas.