Special to The Hays Daily News

LAWRENCE -- An alumnus of Thomas More Prep-Marian High School and Fort Hays State University working as CNN's senior Vatican analyst will present the annual Religious Studies Lecture at the University of Kansas.

John L. Allen Jr. will speak on "The Future Church," at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. Allen earned a master's degree in religious studies at KU in 1992 and has written six books on the Roman Catholic church.

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 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 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 FHSU. He attended TMP 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.

More information is available on the department's website, religious studies.ku.edu.