Dr. Robert John Araujo, S.J.

The School of Law, Loyola University Chicago

Title and Précis:

Francis de Vitoria and the Catholic Origins of Human Rights

     Francis de Vitoria (1480-1546) was a forerunner in addressing questions concerning human rights and based his contributions from within the Catholic natural law tradition. As a neo-scholastic living during the age of Los Conquistadores and the Reformation, de Vitoria defended principles of justice and the suum cuique, especially in his work De Indis. This research project will seek to understand this work and de Vitoria’s understanding of universal rights in order to enrich contemporary understandings and scholarship on human rights issues. Such issues are crucial for contemporary democracies.


     Robert John Araujo, S.J. became the inaugural holder of the John Courtney Murray, S.J. University Professorship at Loyola University Chicago in July of 2009. He was a Professor of Law at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA and Ordinary Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has also served as a legal advisor and attaché to the Holy See representing the Church before foreign sovereigns and international organizations. He writes and publishes in the fields of international law, law and religion, and legal philosophy.