"The Francis Revolution: A New Pope and a New Model of Leadership?"
Journalist John L. Allen, Jr. to deliver annual Champagnat Lecture
POUGHKEEPSIE (March 20, 2014) – The election of Pope Francis has sparked a leadership revolution in the Catholic Church and energized Catholics worldwide. In the annual Champagnat Lecture, presented by the St. Marcellin Endowment for Catholic Activities, veteran religion journalist John L. Allen, Jr. explores the "Francis Revolution" and provides a framework for identifying challenges faced by the Church, the Pope, and the Catholic people as the revolution continues.
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. Liberal commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley called his writing "indispensable," while Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a conservative, called Allen’s reporting "possibly the best source of information on the Vatican published in the United States." His weekly internet column, "All Things Catholic," is widely read as a source of insight on the global Church.
Allen’s most recent book is The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution. John divides his time between Rome and his home in Denver, Colo. He grew up in western Kansas and holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas.