Joshua J. McElwee is NCR's Vatican correspondent and international news editor. He is a journalist who has been widely recognized for his in-depth reporting and penetrating analysis on the leadership of the global Catholic Church.

McElwee's dispatches from Rome and during papal trips abroad are frequently cited by his peers, and broadly seen as a touchstone for nuanced Vatican and papal coverage. He often appears as an expert on television and radio programs such as National Public Radio's Morning Edition, BBC's World Service, and PRI's The World.

Among McElwee's most noted work has been his years-long, tenacious coverage of Pope Francis' clergy abuse commission, which through a series of exclusive interviews with ex-members of the group revealed serious shortcomings to its work.

McElwee was also the first journalist to break the news of Pope Francis' promise during a meeting with an international group of sisters and nuns in 2016 to create a commission to study the history of the ordination of women as deacons in the Catholic Church.

McElwee's reporting on the scene from the closed-door encounter, which sparked a global media frenzy, is sometimes credited with ensuring that Francis went forward with the creation of the Vatican's eventual Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate.

McElwee previously served as NCR's national correspondent, based in Washington, DC. 

McElwee is the co-editor, alongside Cindy Wooden, of A Pope Francis Lexicon, a collection of 54 essays exploring the unique words Pope Francis has used in his ministry. 

A graduate of The Catholic University of America, McElwee has reported for NCR from 38 countries and traveled in the press pool abroad with Pope Francis 23 times. He and his wife Kate serve on the pastoral council of Rome's Caravita community.

Show full bio ↓

Francis warns Gregory, other cardinals against being 'eminences' in part-virtual consistory

In a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica to create 13 new cardinals, including Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Pope Francis cautioned them to prioritize the interests of the people they serve.

Washington's Archbishop Gregory expects 'respectful' dialogue with President Biden

Washington, D.C., Archbishop Wilton Gregory expects being able to dialogue with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, only the second Catholic to be elected to the nation's highest office, "in an honest and respectful way."

Women need not be priests to lead church, Francis says in new book

Pope Francis has strongly defended his record on naming women to positions of authority at the Vatican, saying in a new book that women do not need to be priests to serve as leaders in the global Catholic Church.


McCarrick and John Paul II: key moments in the Vatican's report

Analysis: The report on disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick makes it clear: Pope John Paul II decided to appoint the priest as archbishop of Washington despite repeated warnings from high-level advisers.