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John L. Allen, Doctor of Sacred Letters 'Honoris Causa' –
University of St. Michael's College honors Vaticanista numero uno

November 7, 2011
On November 5, the University of St. Michael’s College held a convocation for the Faculty of Theology. Held in the historic St. Basil’s Church on the University of Toronto campus, the faculty honored three distinguished Catholics for their contributions to the Church and society: Most Reverend Anthony Tonnos, retired Bishop of Hamilton, Dr. Eric McLuhan, Professor of Communications and son of the late Dr. Marshall McLuhan, and John L. Allen, renowned Catholic journalist and author.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, presents John L. Allen to the Chancellor of the University, Most Reverend Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, for the doctorate in Sacred Letters "honoris causa."  Fr. Rosica's citation follows:
[singlepic id=231 w=320 h=240 float=right]Reverendissime Cancellarie et Eccelentissime Pater,
Archbishop Thomas Collins,
John Lewis Allen hails from the state of Kansas in the United States of America. Educated in his youth by the Capuchin Franciscans, he graduated from the Capuchin high school in Hays, Kansas in 1983. He pursued his university studies and 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. He then taught journalism for several years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California before launching onto a brilliant journalistic career that has modeled authentic communications at the service of the Church and the world.
In one of the earliest reflections on the nature of communication, Plato highlighted the dangers of any type of communication that seeks to promote the aims and purposes of the communicator or those by whom he or she is employed without consideration for the truth of what is communicated. The art of communication is by its nature linked to an ethical value, to the virtues that are the foundation of morality.
[singlepic id=232 w=320 h=240 float=left]No less worth recalling is Cato the Elder’s sober definition of the orator; vir bonus dicendi peritus – “a good or honest man skilled in communicating.” These words describe most accurately today’s distinguished recipient of a doctorate from Canada’s premier Catholic university.
Many of us know John Allen as the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and the senior Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio. He is the author of The Rise of Benedict XVI; All the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks; The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church; and his most recent book, A People of Hope: Archbishop Timothy Dolan in Conversation with John L. Allen, to be released next week in the United States.
[singlepic id=233 w=320 h=240 float=right]John Allen’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Miami Herald, The Nation, and countless other publications throughout the world. His weekly Internet columns, “The Word from Rome” and the current “All Things Catholic,” are considered by knowledgeable observers to be the best single sources of insights on Vatican affairs in the English language. He is consulted by the Papal Household, the Roman Curia, Church leaders throughout the world, and in Roman circles has been called “the best English-language Vatican reporter in history.” His objectivity has been described as “maddening.”
In his Message for the 45th World Day of Communications, Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically.” These words describe today’s honoree.
Few Vaticanistas have ever been able to explain Vatican life and culture so cogently and clearly as John Lewis Allen. He has promoted a culture of respect for the dignity and the value of the human person; and a dialogue rooted in the sincere search for truth and for friendship. He also loves the Church.
[singlepic id=234 w=320 h=240 float=left]John Allen has come a long way from the cornfields of Kansas. In fact, quoting another famous person from that sunflower state: “John, you are not in Kansas anymore.” You are on the world stage and have served well the universal Church. We are proud of you and grateful to you for speaking the truth in charity and helping us to love Christ and the Church.
In the words of Cato the Elder, you are “vir bonus dicendi peritus”, a good and honest man skilled in communicating. It is a winning strategy for Church communications and for the New Evangelization.
Quibus de causis, Reverendissime Cancellarie
et Eccelentissime Pater,
presento tibi Johannem Lewis Allen
ut eum ad gradum Doctoris Sacrarum Litterarum admittas.
Placetne tibi hunc virum promovere?
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Photo credits: 2011, Copyright St Michael's College in the University of Toronto | Sheila Eaton Web Manager
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