Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

The Mural Wall of the Holy Spirit in Our Land - described below

The Mural Wall of the Holy Spirit in Our Land is a mosaic representation of the painting by the late Hector Jandany, renowned elder, Lawman and painter of the Gija people (East Kimberley). The Holy Spirit is depicted in the form of the white owl of the Gija people. The Mural Wall is located in the grounds of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, which is the home of the PaCT directorate.

Welcome to PaCT

Our mission

The Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PaCT) is focused on public and contextually informed theological research and engagement with issues of national and global significance. PaCT has a history of collaborative research by scholars of many religious traditions and a commitment to future inclusion and expansion.

Parliament House Canberra

A founding member of the Global Network for Public Theology, PaCT is committed to becoming the lead centre in the Asia-Pacific region for research at the interface of theology and public issues. The rich intellectual traditions of diverse faiths, along with their abiding focus on questions of human value, are interwoven in our Research Streams with discourses on ethnicity, politics, gender, economics, ecology, and much more.

Situated in the national capital, PACT aims to contribute to the public good, in Australia and beyond, through research, scholarly publications and public engagement.

Strategic research areas  2017 to 2021

PaCT scholars are involved in a variety of research fields. Among them, three key areas of research activity have been identified for 2017-2021.

Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia

Given Australia's changing religious demographics, the close interaction between people of different faiths in the major cities and now also in regional Australia, and the significant attention paid to religious radicalisation by government, police and the media, this area of research is highly relevant.

PaCT's close relationship with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) means that CSU is one of the few universities in Australia able to draw Christian and Muslim theologians together under the auspices of one Centre to produce collaborative research output.

Areas of research activity include:

  • the history of relations between Christians and Muslims
  • religious instruction in schools
  • Islamophobia
  • religious radicalisation and refugee policy.

Religious Social Service Agencies

The social service agencies of religious institutions receive substantial government funding. These agencies are already a large sector of the social service economy in Australia and are expanding with the implementation of the NDIS. They represent the most significant public connection between religion and government in Australian society.

Research is tailored toward assessing the impact of public expenditure in the social service economy via religious institutions and toward the interests of churches and religious agencies by assessing the theory and practice of their social service activities.


Religion, Ethics and the Anthropocene

Effective action on climate change calls for religious as well as political leadership. A reconsideration of how economists, ethicists and particularly the religions have conceived of humanity's relationship to the planet is critical.

PaCT has developed the Religion, Ethics and the Anthropocene project, drawing together:

  • theologians
  • ethicists
  • scientists
  • and public policy experts.

The principal participants are committed to a thorough reconsideration of the legacy of their respective disciplines and traditions, and to fresh theology, philosophy and ethics to help us understand what it means to be human in the potentially devastating Anthropocene Epoch.

Latest News

Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene

19 Jul 2021

Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene

Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene By PaCT Assistant Director Dr Jonathan ColeLast year, Rev’d Dr Peter Walker and I informed readers that we were seeking a publisher for a volume of essays on the theological implications of the Anthropocene, the culmination of a series of seminars hosted by the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology in Canberra between 2017 and...

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The Anglican Communion and the Blessings of same-sex marriage

12 Jul 2021

The Anglican Communion and the Blessings of same-sex marriage

PaCT fellow, the Rev'd Dr Bruce Kaye AM, has written an essay on the blessings of same-sex marriages and the Anglican Communion. Dr Kaye is a former secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia. His essay is titled 'What is at Stake for Anglicans in the Wangaratta Move: Getting to the Fundamentals'.The General Synod of the Anglican Church...

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The witness of Mahrahkah and the survival of a nation

12 Jul 2021

The witness of Mahrahkah and the survival of a nation

The witness of Mahrahkah and the survival of a nation PaCT research member and PhD candidate at CSU, Felicity McCallum, wrote a moving piece about the human face of Mahrahkah for ABC Religion and Ethics. 'Restoring her name: The witness of Mahrahkah and the survival of a Nation'....

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Political theology and political authority

21 Jun 2021

Political theology and political authority

Political theology and political authority PaCT Assistant Director Dr Jonathan Cole has written a piece for ABC Religion and Ethics titled "Political theology and political authority: Evaluating Oliver O’Donovan’s Christian liberalism"Influential Anglican political theologian Oliver O’Donovan has argued that “a Christian theologian can venture to characterise a normative political culture broadly in continuity with the Western liberal tradition.”...

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The Political Animals Podcast: PaCT scholar interview

21 Jun 2021

The Political Animals Podcast: PaCT scholar interview

PaCT Assistant Director Dr Jonathan Cole recently interviewed fellow PaCT scholar Dr Virginia Miller about her research into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on his podcast The Political Animals. Her new book, Child Sexual Abuse Inquiries and the Catholic Church: Reassessing the Evidence reviews the methods and findings of inquiries in...

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