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JST Hires New Professor of Christian Social Ethics

Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology (JST), has announced that Dr. Julie Hanlon Rubio will join the JST faculty as tenured Professor of Christian Social Ethics, beginning August 1, 2018.

Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology (JST), has announced that  Dr. Julie Hanlon Rubio will join the JST faculty as tenured Professor of Christian Social Ethics, beginning August 1, 2018.  Fr. O’Brien highlights the significance of this hire, “The appointment of a tenured faculty member is an important moment in the life of a school. In Dr. Rubio, we find incarnated the values articulated in our recently approved strategic plan, including commitment to culturally contextualized theology, serving the Church and society as public theologians, excellence in scholarship, and innovation in teaching.”

Dr. Rubio is currently Professor of Christian Ethics and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Saint Louis University, where she has served for twenty years. She teaches and writes in the area of social ethics, specializing in family ethics and religion and public life. A graduate of Yale, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Southern California, Dr. Rubio comes to JST with an exemplary publishing history and ongoing research agenda, an outstanding teaching record, and a strong desire to serve the Church as a public theologian.

An Accomplished Scholar and Public Theologian

Dr. Rubio is the author of four monographs and one edited volume, as well as nineteen articles in peer-reviewed journals and a number of essays in edited volumes and book reviews. In her extensive body of work, she attempts to synthesize Catholic Social Teaching, popular Christian writings, and feminist theory to animate conversations that speak to her students today.

Dr. Rubio is among the most visible public theologians in the U.S. Catholic Church today, speaking regularly at universities, seminaries, diocesan convocations, parishes, and gatherings of religious educators.  Over the years, she has consulted with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Jesuit provinces on a number of issues. She has always tried to balance academic writing with writing for the broader public. Her recently published guide to Amoris Laetitia (Pope Francis’ exhortation on love in marriage and family) and her articles in venues such as America, National Catholic Reporter,, and the Washington Post demonstrate her capacity to reach diverse audiences.  

Finding Common Ground

Attentive to people of different convictions, Dr. Rubio writes and speaks both for the academy and the Church, prophetically challenging audiences to wrestle with the radical implications of Christian faith. She is devoted to cultivating common ground and lifting up the beauty of the Christian tradition in order to inspire conversations on social ethics across the ideological and partisan lines that so often divide. This is a conviction and skill much needed in our Church and political communities today.  Dr. Rubio remarks, “finding common ground is core to who I am as scholar and a teacher, and at JST I'll be able to do that work in a whole new way.”

Her work on family, sex, and gender is complemented by research and teaching interests in the area of religion and public life. Her award-winning book, Hope for Common Ground, illustrates her ability to bring people together on issues most see as hopelessly contested. The book is being used in courses at a variety of universities across the country. This scholarship, along with regular teaching of courses like Social Justice and Faith and Politics, represents a key dimension of her work in social ethics.

Commitment to Jesuit Education

Dr. Rubio is deeply committed to Jesuit higher education, as her two decades at SLU demonstrate. There, she taught many Jesuit scholastics in their first studies program and consulted with the provincials on Jesuit formation today. She currently serves on the board of the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education through which she has been able to speak with faculty, staff, and students all over the country who believe deeply in the Jesuit mission. Last year, she completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Joining JST is a fruit of discernment in that extended retreat.

Why Jesuit School of Theology?

When asked what drew her to the Jesuit School of Theology, Dr. Rubio replied, “I was drawn to JST because of its strong faculty, integration of academic and pastoral studies, and international student body. I love how JST is uniquely placed to train students because of its connections to the other schools of the GTU and its location on the west coast with its diverse Catholic population. The strong community and spiritual depth of JST were also real draws for me. After many wonderful years of teaching undergraduates, I am looking forward to teaching and mentoring lay students, Jesuit scholastics, and women religious preparing for ministry.”


Learn more about the Jesuit School of Theology.