John Langan, SJ, PhD

Senior Research Scholar,
Professor of Philosophy, Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought

Dr. Langan is a Jesuit priest with graduate degrees in philosophy, classics, and theology. In addition to his role at the KIE, he is Professor of Philosophy and Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown. He has also taught at Yale Divinity School, Drew University, and Loyola University Chicago.

His research interests include ethics and international affairs, especially applications of just war theory; business ethics; human rights in theory and practice; capital punishment; Catholic social teaching; the place of religion in liberal political thought; the ethical theories of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. He is currently working on a manuscript on the ethics of humanitarian intervention.

Dr. Langan has served as a consultant to the Chemical Bank (New York) and to the U.S. Navy Corps of Chaplains. He currently serves on the boards of the Bon Secours Health System (Maryland), the Society of Christian Ethics, Theological Studies, and the Georgetown University Press. He is chair of the American section of the Council on Christian Approaches to Defense and Disarmament.

Did you know?

Dr. Langan's undergraduate course on "Just Wars in Theory and Practice" was featured on the Georgetown University homepage. "I have a strong conviction that within every major area of human activity, there is a kind of implicit ethic," he says. "I think that's true in business, it's true in sports, wherever human beings are cooperating over a serious period of time, to do some things that are demanding and challenging."

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  • John Langan. "Is There a Just Cause for War Against Iraq." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 4.1 (2003): 87-93.
  • John Langan. "Should We Attack Iraq." America (2002): 7-11.
  • John Langan. "The Five-Fold Evil of Sexual Abuse." Baltimore Sun (2002).
  • John Langan. "From Ends to Means: Responding to Terrorism." America (2001).
  • John Langan. "Vers une reforme electorale." Etudes (2001): 593-594.
  • John Langan. "Catholic Social Thought and the Business School Curriculum." The Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 11.2 (2001): 37-47.
  • John Langan. "Issues in Catholic Social Thought." Origins 30.3 (2000): 45-48.
  • John Langan. "Reforging Catholic Identity." Commonweal 127.8 (2000): 20-23.
  • John Langan. "The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy." Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 32 (2000): 1-25.
  • John Langan. "The Bishops Have Answered a Long-Standing Call." Washington Post (1999).
  • John Langan. "Reves et cauchemars de l’Amerique." Projet 258 (1999): 27-35.
  • John Langan. "How Far Can We Separate Theology and Jurisprudence? Comments on Edward B. Foley’s Jurisprudence and Theology."Fordham Law Review 66 (1998): 1233-1239.
  • John Langan. "Contrasting and Uniting Theology and Human Rights." Journal of Religious Ethics 26 (1998): 249-255.
  • John Langan. "Reflections on the place of Christians and Jews in Secular Societies." Loccumer Protokolle: Juden in Deutschland, Juden in der Fremde 67 (1998): 97-100.
  • John Langan. "Argent sage, argent fou." Lumen vitae 52 (1997): 365-375.
  • John Langan. "The Contract with America and Catholic Social Teaching." America 173.3 (1995): 10-15.
  • John Langan. "Out of the ghetto (Is This a Catholic Moment?)." The Tablet 248.8045 (1994): 1308-1309.
  • John Langan. "Justice or Peace? A Moral Assessment of Humanitarian Intervention in Bosnia." America 170 (1994): 9-14.
  • John Langan. "Conscience and the Corportation." Corporate Management 46 (1994): 294-295.
  • John Langan. "Le dilemme americain." Projet 237 (1994): 71-76.
  • John Langan. "Les enjeux de base pour Bill Clinton." Etudes 379 (1993): 17-23.
  • John Langan. "After Apartheid, Before Black Rule: South Africa in the Interim." America 165 (1991): 478-481.
  • John Langan. "An Imperfectly Just War." Commonweal (1991): 361-365.
  • John Langan. "Egoism and Morality in the Teleological Theology of Thomas Aquinas." Journal of Philosophical Research 16 (1991).
  • John Langan. "One Berlin, One Germany, One Europe?." America (1990): 505-507.
  • John Langan. "Is There Anything Wrong with Forgiving Debts?." America 162 (1990): 165-166.
  • John Langan. "Catholic Moral Rationalism and the Changing Philosophical Bases of Moral Theology." Theological Studies 50 (1989).
  • John Langan. "Can There Be a Human Rights Problem in the Church?." The Jurist (1986): 14-42.
  • John Langan. "Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral and the U.S. Economy: A Symposium." This World 10 (1985): 101-104.
  • John Langan. "Just War Theory and Decision Making in a Democracy." Naval War College Review (1985): 67-79.
  • John Langan. "Andrew Greeley vs. the Bishops." America 152 (1985): 354-355.
  • John Langan. "Capital Punishment in America Today." Respect Life (1985).
  • John Langan. "The Bishops and the Bottom Line." Commonweal 111 (1984): 586-592.
  • John Langan. "Contesto e metodologia della lettera pastorale dei Vescovi USA sula guerra e la pace." Rassengna de Teologia 24 (1983): 504-519.
  • John Langan. "U.S. Bishops and the Peace Debate." Living Light 20 (1983): 24-33.
  • John Langan. "Pour et contre Reagan, les Eglises." Projet 178 (1983): 860-869.
  • John Langan. "The Morality of Single-Issue Voting." Christian Century 99 (1982): 818-822.
  • John Langan. "Renewal of U.S. Foreign Policy." The Month 15 (1982): 266-272.
  • John Langan. "The Bishops and the Bomb." Commonweal 109 (1982): 424-426.
  • John Langan. "La politique des droits de l’homme, de Carter a Reagan." Etudes (1982): 311-320.
  • John Langan. "American Catholics and the Peace Debate: The Debate Identified." Washington Quarterly 5 (1982): 123-127.
  • John Langan. "The American Hierarchy and Nuclear Weapons." Theological Studies 43 (1982): 447-467.
  • John Langan. "The Elements of Just War Theory in St. Augustine." Journal of REligious Ethics 12 (1982): 19-38.
  • John Langan. "Human Rights in Catholicism." Journal of Ecumenical Studies 19 (1982).
  • John Langan. "New Conservatism in the U.S.." The Month 14 (1981): 308-311.
  • John Langan. "The Church’s Mission Includes Struggling for Social Justice." Washington Star (1981).
  • John Langan. "Morality, Egoism, and Punishment in Thomas Aquinas." Heythrop Journal 21 (1981): 378-393.
  • John Langan. "Order and Justice Under John Paul II." Christian Century 97 (1980): 493-498.
  • John Langan. "Below the SALT." Commonweal 103 (1979): 681-684.
  • John Langan. "Liberation Theology in a Northern Context." America (1979): 45-49.
  • John Langan. "Augustine on the Unity and Interconnection of the Virtues." Harvard Theological Review 72 (1979): 81-95.
  • John Langan. "Dresden Comes to Washington." America (1978): 60-63.
  • John Langan. "The Imagination and Spirituality of Peter Paul Rubens." America (1978): 119-121.
  • John Langan. "Beatitude and Moral Law in St. Thomas." Journal of Religious Ethics 5 (1977): 183-195.
  • John Langan. "Pacem in Terris IV." America (1975): 461-463.
  • John Langan. "Mustapha and the Host: Some Reflections in Inferences in Theological Language." International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 2 (1971): 208-221.


  • John Langan. "Responding to Guerilla Warefare, Terrorism, and Genocide." Ethical Dilemmas in the New Millenium. Ed. Francis Eigo. Villanova, PA: Villanova University Press, 2001: 131-158
  • John Langan. "Catholic Presence in the Disciplines." Catholic Theology in the University. Ed. Virginia M. Shaddy. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1998: 91-101
  • John Langan. "Humanitarian Intervention: From Concept to Reality." Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense, and ’Just War’ Today. Ed. Elliott Abrams. Washington, DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1998: 109-124
  • John Langan. "The Past and the Future of Intervention: A View from the United States." Some Corner of a Foreign Field: Intervention and World Order. Ed. Roger Williamson. London: Macmillan, 1998: 216-227
  • John Langan. "Religious Pacifism and Quietism: A Taxonomic Approach and a Catholic Response." Pacifism and Quietism in the Abrahamic Traditions. Ed. J. Patout Burns. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1996.
  • John Langan. "The Individual and the Collectivity in Christianity." Religious Diversity and Human Rights. Ed. Irene Bloom, J. Paul Martin, and Wayne L. Proudfoot. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996: 152-174
  • John Langan. "Capital Punishment." The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Ed. Richard McBrien. San Francisco: Harper, 1995: 224-225
  • John Langan. "Just War Doctrine." The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Ed. Richard McBrien. San Francisco: Harper, 1995: 728-729
  • John Langan. "Developing the Just-War Tradition in a Multicultural World." Peacemaking: Moral and Policy Challenges for a New World. Ed. not listed. Washington, DC: US Catholic Conference, 1994: 189-197
  • John Langan. "Political Philosophy." The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought. Ed. Judith A. Dwyer. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994: 744-748
  • John Langan. "Personal Responsibility and the Common Good in John Paul II." Ethics, Religion, and the Good Society: New Directions in a Pluralistic World. Ed. Joseph Runzo. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992: 132-147
  • John Langan. "Kotholische Soziallehre in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika." Christliche Sozialethik im Weltweiten Horizont. Ed. Franz Furger and Joachim Wiemeyer. Muenster: Aschendorff, 1992.
  • John Langan. "The Western Moral Tradition on War: Christian Theology and Warfare." Just War and Jihad. Ed. John Kelsay and James Turner Johnson. New York: Greenwood, 1991.
  • John Langan. "Catholicism and Liberalism: 200 Years of Contest and Consensus." Liberalism and the Good. Ed. Bruce Douglass, Gerald Mara, and Henry Richardson. London: Routledge, 1990: 105-124
  • John Langan. "Problems of Method and Moral Theory in the U.S. and German Catholic Pastoral Letters on Peace: A Comparative Explanation." Ethics in the Nuclear Age. Ed. Todd Whitmore. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1989.
  • John Langan. "Christian Doctrine in a Historically Conscious World." Faithful Witness: Foundations of Theology for Today’s Church. Ed. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. and T. Howland Sanks, S.J.. New York: Crossroad, 1989: 132-150
  • John Langan. "The Good of Selective Conscientious Objection." Selective Conscientious Objection: Accommodating Conscience and Security. Ed. Michael F. Noone, Jr.. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1989: 89-106
  • John Langan. "Church and State." The New Dictionary of Theology. Ed. Joseph Komonchak, Mary Collis, and Dermot Lane. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glaze, 1987: 206-209
  • John Langan. "Sins of Malice in the Moral Psychology of Thomas Aquinas." Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics. Ed. not listed. : Society of Christian Ethics, 1987: 179-198
  • John Langan. "Afterword: A Direction for the Future." The Catholic Challenge to the American Economy. Ed. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J.. New York: Macmillan, 1987: 256-297
  • John Langan. "Introduction: The Nuclear Dilemma and the Just War Tradition." The Nuclear Dilemma and the Just War Tradition. Ed. not listed. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986: 3-10
  • John Langan. "Between Religion and Politics: The Morality of Deterrence." The Nuclear Dilemma and the Just War Tradition. Ed. not listed. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986: 131-152
  • John Langan. "’Cardinal Virtues,’ ’Common Good,’ ’Metaethics,’ and ’Prudence’." Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Ed. James Childress. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986: 76-77,102, 382, 514-515
  • John Langan. "Human Rights Theory: A Basis for Pluralism Open to Christian Ethics." Cities of Gods: Faith, Politics adn Pluralism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ed. Nigel Biggar, Jamie Scott, and William Schweiker. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986: 119-141
  • John Langan. "Sollen die Bischofe sich einmischen? Kirchliche und gesellschaftliche Interessenfelder in den USA." Wirtschaft fuer wen. Ed. Friedhelm Hengsbach, S.J.. Frankfurt: Publikforum Verlagsgesellschaft, 1985: 15-35
  • John Langan. "Politics- Good, Bad, or Indifferent? A Philosophical Assessment." Between God and Caesar. Ed. Madonna Kolbenschlag. New York: Paulist, 1985: 127-148
  • John Langan. "Political Hopes, Political Tasks." Questions of Special Urgency: The Church in the Modern World Two Decades After Vatican II. Ed. Judith Dwyer. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1985.
  • John Langan. "Morals and Values: The Search for U.S. Christian Community." Tracing the Spirit: Communities, Social Action, and Theological Reflection. Ed. James Hug, S.J.. New York: Paulist, 1983: 149-169
  • John Langan. "Defending Human Rights: A Revision of the Liberal Tradition." Human Rights in the Americas. Ed. n/a. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1982: 110-141
  • John Langan. "Values, Rules, and Decision." Personal Values in Public Policy. Ed. John Haughey, S.J.. New York: Paulist, 1979: 101-122
  • John Langan. "Should Decisions Be the Product of Reason?." Personal Values in Public Policy. Ed. John Haughey, S.J.. New York: Paulist, 1979: 101-122
  • John Langan and William Walsh, S.J.. "Patristic Social Consequences - The Church and the Poor." The Faith That Does Justice. Ed. John Haughey, S.J.. New York: Paulist, 1977: 113-151
  • John Langan. "What Jerusalem Says to Athens." The Faith That Does Justice. Ed. John Haughey, S.J.. New York: Paulist, 1977: 152-180


  • John Langan, ed. A Moral Vision for America: Addresses of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1998.
  • John Langan, ed. Catholic Universities in Church and Society: A Dialogue on Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1993.
  • John Langan and George Weigel, ed. The American Search for Peace: Moral Reasoning, Religious Hope, and National Security. Washington: Georgetown Univeristy Press, 1991.
  • John Langan, Edmund Pellegrino, and Robert Veatch, ed. Ethics, Trust, and Professions. Washington : Georgetown University Press, 1991.
  • John Langan, Edmund Pellegrino, and John Collins Harvey, ed. Catholic Perspectives on Medical Morals. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1989.
  • John Langan and William V. O’Brien, ed. The Nuclear Dilemma and the Just War Tradition. Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1986.
  • John Langan and Alfred Hennelkly, S.J., ed. Human Rights in the Americas: The Struggle for Consensus. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1982.


  • John Langan. "Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Religion." Theological Studies 56 (1995): 122-136.
  • John Langan. "Ethics, Business, and the Economy." Theological Studies 55 (1994): 105-123.
  • John Langan. "Captial Punishment." Theological Studies 54 (1993).
  • John Langan. "Just War Theory After the Gulf War." Theological Studies 53 (1992).
  • John Langan. "The Ethics of Business." Theological Studies 51 (1990): 81-100.
  • John Langan. "The Christian Difference in Ethics." Theological Studies 49 (1988).
  • John Langan. "The Pastoral on the Economy: From Drafts to Policy." Theological Studies 48 (1987): 135-156.
  • John Langan. "Challenges to The Challenge of Peace." Washington Quarterly 10 (1987).
  • John Langan. "Pastoral on War and Peace: Reactions and New Directions." Theological Studies 46 (1985): 80-101.
  • John Langan. "Struggling for Moral Clarity about Nuclear Deterrence: David Hollenbach and Michael Novak." Thought 59 (1985): 91-98.
  • John Langan. "Toward an American Catholic Social Ethic." This World 8 (1984): 166-172.
  • John Langan. "Between Deterrence and Disarmament." Modern Churchman 25 (1983): 12-21.
  • John Langan. "Recent Philosophical Work in Moral Theory." Theological Studies 41 (1980): 549-567.
  • John Langan. "Direct and Indirect- Recent Exchanges Between Paul Ramsey and Richard McCormick." Religious Studies Review 5 (1979): 89-95.
  • John Langan. "Rawls, Nozick, and the Search for Social Justice." Theological Studies 38 (1977): 346-358.