Vatican City correspondent for CNN, National Catholic Reporter to speak at KU

A Vatican City correspondent for CNN and the National Catholic Reporter will speak at Kansas University next week.

John Allen received a master’s degree from KU in religious studies in 1992.

He will speak on “The Future Church” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd.

Allen became interested in reporting while serving as the adviser to a small student newspaper in a Catholic high school, he said.

While there, Allen said he visited the Los Angeles Times to get a sense of what the profession was like.

He said he saw smart, funny people who got to go out and have front-row access to the day’s most interesting events, and then came back and wrote about them.

“It just hit me like a sledgehammer,” he said.

Allen’s popular weekly column in the Reporter, “All Things Catholic,” is known as one of the best sources for information about the church, said Tim Miller, a KU religious studies professor.

“He’s got terrific contacts high and low in the church, up to and including the pope,” Miller said.

He has also written several books on the Catholic church, including one on the current pope before he became pope, Miller said.

The title of his lecture comes from his most recent book, “The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church.”

He has covered how the church has handled ongoing allegations of sex abuse in the priesthood, the church’s reaction to the crisis in Libya and debate about the pope’s statements about the use of condoms.

Allen said trends like the global shift of Catholic adherents from Europe and North America to the southern hemisphere and the rise of global Islam will continue to have an effect on the church in the years to come.