March 15, 2019
Father Robert Kaslyn, S.J.

Rest in Peace: Father Robert J. Kaslyn, S.J.
It it with great sadness that The Catholic University of America mourns the unexpected loss of Father Robert J. Kaslyn, S.J., associate professor and former dean of the School of Canon Law. Father Kaslyn, 62, died peacefully at Georgetown Hospital on Wednesday, March 13.

“Father Kaslyn was a wonderful teacher, a thoughtful dean, and a good friend. Even in a community of academics, he stood out for his generous willingness to patiently share all he knew with others,” said President John Garvey. “The School of Canon Law will miss him most of all. But the entire University community joins them in praying for the repose of the soul of a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.”

Robert Kaslyn was born April 19, 1956, in Hackensack, New Jersey. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1985, by Cardinal John O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York. Father Kaslyn was a member of the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus.

Father Kaslyn earned a B.A. in history and philosophy from Fordham and his S.T.B. and S.T.L. degrees at Regis College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. He earned his doctorate in canon law from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. His doctoral dissertation was published as “Communion with the Church and the Code of Canon Law an Analysis of the Foundation and Implications of the Canonical Obligation to Maintain Communion with the Catholic Church,” with a foreword by Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.

He taught canon law at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, and served as a judge of the Diocesan Tribunal in Worcester, MA.

He joined the faculty at Catholic University in 2001, and served as dean of the School of Canon Law from 2009 to 2016. His appointment as dean was made with unanimous support of the school’s faculty. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., the President of the University at the time, remarked that “Father Kaslyn is a serious scholar and effective teacher and has demonstrated a love for the Church and its legal structures in service to the people of God.”

“In the days ahead, I know we all will recall his countless contributions to the life of the Church universal and to the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America where he served with great dedication for almost twenty years,” said Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, Dean and O’Brien-O’Connor Chair of Canon Law. “Father Kaslyn was an esteemed colleague of his fellow faculty members, a dear friend of many, and above all a faithful and devoted priest. We will all miss him greatly.”

“Father Kaslyn was a wonderful teacher and colleague,” said Father John Beal, who has been on the faculty of the School of Canon Law since 1992. “Particularly during his tenure as dean, he looked out for the good of students.”