BEc (hons), PhD
Dr Bruce Duncan is a Redemptorist priest with a focus on developing Catholic social thought and movements in today’s ecumenical context. His main areas of interest have been on Christian faith and economics, social policy and issues of war and peace.
He graduated from the Upper Yarra Consortium in 1972 and gained a BEc(hons) in 1979 and a PhD in 1987 from the University of Sydney. Since 1986 he has taught at Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne. His publications include Social Justice: Fuller Life in a Fairer World (Melbourne: Garratt Publishing, 2012); Crusade or Conspiracy? Catholics and the anti-Communist Struggle in Australia (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2001) and Catholic Social Teaching: From Rerum Novarum to I931 (Melbourne: CollinsDove, 1991). He has published several booklets with the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council: War on Iraq: Is it just? (2003); Ending hunger: how far can we go? The UN Millennium Development Goals (2005) and World population: cause for alarm? (1995) as well as various book chapters and journal articles.
His current research focuses on the crisis of global warming and climate change, along with the challenge to neoliberal economics from Christian and other thinkers, including Pope Francis. He sees the UN Sustainable Development Goals as the most promising ways forward for the international community today.
To promote ecumenical research and social engagement, with the encouragement of the Melbourne College of Divinity, a team of scholars established the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy in 2008 with Bruce as director. In 2017 it was subsumed by the University of Divinity into the Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy. Publications of the Yarra Institute include Young People, Faith, & Social Justice by Dr Joan Daw (2012); A World United or a World Exploited? Christian Perspectives on Globalisation; (2013) Social Justice & the Churches: Challenges & Responsibilities (2014); Working with Disaster: Clergy & Bushfires by Lisa Jacobson with John Bottomley (2015);
Bonded through Tragedy: United by Hope. The Catholic Church & East Timor’s Quest for Nationhood. Memoirs of Bishop Hilton Deakin & East Timor, by Jim and Therese D’Orsa (Garratt, 2017); Bridging Troubled Waters: Australia and Asylum Seekers by Tony Wardand Ecological Aspects of War: Engaging with Biblical Texts, Anne Elvey (ed), Bloomsbury UK.
Bruce has taught a range of units on Catholic Social Thought and Movements overseas and in Australia, as well as units on Can war be just?, Marxism and Christianity, Liberation Theology and Education for Justice (at ACU). His Doctoral supervision has included Dr Race Mathews, Of Labour and Liberty : Distributism in Victoria 1891–1966.(2008-13), published in 2017 by Monash Publishing.
Bruce also supervised Dr Stefan Gigacz, “Unfinished Business: Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II” which in 2020 is soon to be published.
Bruce has a background as a journalist and in public relations. In an ecumenical collaboration, he helped launch the monthly magazine National Outlook in Sydney and was editor 1979-83. He has had some experience on radio programs in Melbourne (John Cleary) and very occasional newspaper articles (The Age).
As well as regular parish masses on weekends, Bruce Worked part-time as a consultant with Catholic Social Services Victoria, 1998-2007, and as a member of the Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace, 1994-2007. In these roles, he also gave frequent talks to church and other groups in Melbourne and beyond, and published articles regularly in church publications. He was a member of Pacifica editorial board 1999-2004. Since 2016, Bruce has been chaplain at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Melbourne.