Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology
Photo has been edited - PACT buildings and Canberra surrounds

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

PaCT scholar's books launched

17 Sep 2018

PaCT scholar's books launched

PaCT Director Professor Stephen Pickard has commended Faith and the Political In the Post-Secular Age, edited by Anthony Maher, to a Canberra audience at a book launch for that work, along with The Forgotten Jesuit of Catholic Modernism.Faith and the Political In the Post-Secular Age features essays from a number of respected contributors, including Elaine Graham,...

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PaCT Fellow's book on dementia published

11 Sep 2018

PaCT Fellow's book on dementia published

PaCT Fellow Dr Christine Bryden’s book on living with dementia has recently been published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.As Dr Bryden notes in the Acknowledgements of the book, Will I still be me? Finding a Continuing Sense of Self in the Lived Experience of Dementia, the book is drawn from aspects of her PhD thesis which was supported by...

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PhD student presents at Giradian conference

03 Sep 2018

PhD student presents at Giradian conference

Charles Sturt University School of Theology PhD student Felicity McCallum presented a paper at the annual conference of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, held at Regis University in Denver, Colorado in mid-July. Ms McCallum’s presentation was on the topic ‘Sacrifice et Sagesse: Truth Telling from Eastern Australia, 1788-1842’. Ms McCallum’s PhD dissertation probes the truths of Australia’s history between...

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PaCT Fellow interviewed about Order of St Charbel on The Project

20 Aug 2018

PaCT Fellow interviewed about Order of St Charbel on The Project

PaCT Fellow Dr Bernard Doherty was recently interviewed by The Project about the Order of St Charbel.The Project was doing a story on Claire Ashman’s experience at the community which is outside Wollongong and set up by William Kamm.Mrs Ashman described it as a cult and said she spent 10 years there before she decided to leave with her eight...

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PaCT Fellow’s book published

20 Aug 2018

PaCT Fellow’s book published

PaCT Fellow Professor Bruce Kaye’s book The Rise and Fall of the English Christendom: Theocracy, Christology, Order and Power has recently been published by Routledge.The book was launched by the Anglican Primate of Australia Philip Freier at a Queensland clergy conference on the 31 July 2018.About the book:English Christendom has never been a static entity. Evangelism, politics, conflict and...

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