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KIE Mourns the Loss of Senior Research Scholar Fr. John Langan

Fr. John Langan.

Fr. John Langan, SJ, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, passed away on March 20, 2020. He was 79. 

Fr. Langan joined Georgetown University in 1987. He was appointed the inaugural Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought, a Chair he served in for many years. A Jesuit priest, his research interests included ethics and international affairs, especially applications of just war theory; business ethics; and human rights in theory and practice, among others. Fr. Langan remained at Georgetown for nearly 30 years before retiring.

“He illuminated our sense of social justice with his scholarship, and he will be remembered as a wise and compassionate teacher, mentor, scholar, friend, and Jesuit priest,” said Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Acting Director at the KIE.

He will be missed by all of his former colleagues at the KIE.

“John was an absolutely unique combination of a first-rate philosopher trained in one of the premier programs of the country and a committed Jesuit. I treasured the opportunity to work with him along with Ed Pellegrino in a study of the ethics of the professions,” said Dr. Robert Veatch, Senior Research Scholar at the KIE.

“Fr. John was a scholarly, wise, calm and friendly presence on the KIE corridor, as well as across the university and beyond. He was highly respected for his expertise in a number of areas, not least Just War Theory,” said Dr. John Keown, Senior Research Scholar at the KIE.

Fr. Langan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 10, 1940. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, and became ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1972. He served as the rector of the Georgetown Jesuit Community for five years. In 2017, he moved to the Colombiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore, where he continued to write and pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus, and was a resource to the community.

We at the KIE join the many whose lives he positively impacted in celebrating his tremendous work and kindness. A memorial service for Fr. Langan will be held once Georgetown University lifts its moratorium on large gatherings.

Read The Berkley Center’s tribute to Fr. Langan.