John Allen

Senior Vatican Analyst

John L. Allen Jr. is CNN's senior Vatican analyst. Allen is also associate editor of Crux, a web site specializing in coverage of the Catholic Church, and of


Allen is the author of ten books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, and writes frequently on the Church for major national and international publications. He’s also a popular speaker on Catholic affairs, both in the United States and abroad.

When a Vatican spokesman called on Allen to ask the first question of Pope Benedict XVI aboard the papal plane in 2008 while Benedict was travelling to the United States, he presented Allen this way: “Holy Father, this man needs no introduction!”

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.” 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 has been admired across ideological divides. Liberal commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley called his writing “indispensable,” while Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a conservative, said that Allen’s reporting is “possibly the best source of information on the Vatican published in the United States.” His weekly column, “All Things Catholic,” is widely read as a source of insight on the global Church.

Allen divides his time between Rome and his home in Denver, Colorado. He holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Sacred Letters by the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada.