Pope Francis Appoints BenU Professor as Consultor on Interreligious Dialogue

October 27, 2020

Rita George-TvrtkovicLisle, IL – One of Benedictine University’s theology professors has been appointed by Pope Francis to serve as consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Rita George-Tvrtković, Ph.D., associate professor of theology at Benedictine, is one of only 19 scholars from around the world (and just two Americans) who will advise bishops on the council.

Dr. George-Tvrtković is a historical theologian with expertise in medieval and contemporary Christian-Muslim relations. She has taught at Benedictine since 2009 and was previously associate director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. She has written two books—most recently, she published "Christians, Muslims and Mary: A History" (Paulist Press, 2018).

At Benedictine, she teaches a wide range of theology classes, including the history of Christian thought and interreligious dialogue."Benedictine is a wonderful place because we have such a diverse mix of students," she said. "All my classes include Christians, Muslims and Hindus."

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was created after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) to encourage Catholics to engage with people of other religions. While the Pontifical Council is comprised exclusively of bishops, the group of 19 consultors present recommendations based on their experience. Although Dr. George-Tvrtković is still awaiting instructions about her appointment, she likely will need to travel to Rome regularly once coronavirus travel restrictions have been lifted.

"This is a singular honor for Dr. George-Tvrtković and, by extension, for Benedictine University as a whole," said Joseph Incandela, Ph.D., Dean of the University's College of Liberal Arts.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by yourlocalsecurity.com in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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