|Archbishop of Sydney|
On British television discussion programme
After Dark in May 1994
|Province||Ecclesiastical Province of Sydney|
|Appointed||18 September 2014|
|Installed||12 November 2014|
|Other posts||Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith|
Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
|Ordination||14 September 1991|
by Eusebius Crawford
|Consecration||3 September 2003|
by George Pell
|Birth name||Anthony Colin Fisher|
|Born||10 March 1960|
Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia
|Motto||Veritatem facientes in caritate|
("Speaking the truth in love")
|Coat of arms|
Ordination history of
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Grace or My Lord Archbishop|
Anthony Colin Fisher OP (born 10 March 1960) is an Australian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and a friar of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Since 12 November 2014, he has been the ninth Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. He served as the third Bishop of Parramatta from 4 March 2010 to 12 November 2014, having previously served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Early life and education
Fisher was born the eldest of five children in Crows Nest, Sydney, to Gloria Maguregui, whose father was of Spanish Basque origin and whose mother was half Italian and half Romanian – she migrated with her family to Australia from Asia in the 1950s – and Colin Fisher, a pharmacist from Ashfield with Anglo-Irish roots. He was baptised at St Therese's Church, Lakemba and attended the parish school in 1965 and 1966. The Fisher family lived in Belmore, Canterbury and Wiley Park before moving to Longueville and Manly.
Fisher attended St Michael's Primary School in Lane Cove, Holy Cross College Ryde and Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview where he was dux in 1977. He studied at the University of Sydney for six years, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in history with first-class honours, and a Bachelor of Laws, before practising law at top-tier commercial law firm, Clayton Utz, where he drafted the contracts for the redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Building. He took leave from his job as a lawyer to go backpacking around Europe to discern his vocation.
Fisher entered the Order of Preachers in 1985 and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne, receiving an honours degree in theology from the Yarra Theological Union, a member institution of the Melbourne College of Divinity (now called the University of Divinity). He worked for a time at Uniya, a centre for social research in Kings Cross, on immigration and refugee issues, and at Holy Name Parish in Wahroonga, Sydney. He was ordained to the priesthood at Holy Name Church in Wahroonga by Eusebius Crawford OP, Bishop of Gizo, on 14 September 1991. He undertook doctoral studies in bioethics at the University of Oxford until 1995, matriculating from University College, while residing at Blackfriars Hall. His Doctor of Philosophy degree was granted for a thesis on "Justice in the Allocation of Healthcare". His academic work has included lecturing in Australia and overseas and publishing many books and articles on bioethics and morality. In 1994 he appeared on two British television programs, the bioethics series Brave New World and a special edition of the live discussion program After Dark.
From 1995–2000, Fisher was a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. From 2000 to 2003 he was the foundation director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, the Australian campus of a postgraduate pontifical institute with nine campuses around the world. The principal work of the institute was in teaching and research on questions concerning respect for human life and the dignity of the person and support for marriage and family life. The Australian campus ceased operations in December 2018.
In 2003, Fisher debated euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. He is ex officio chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney (having previously served as the deputy-chancellor) and Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Prior to his episcopal appointment, Fisher was the Master of Students (seminarians) and Socius (deputy) to the prior provincial of the Dominican order in Australia and New Zealand. In the Melbourne archdiocese, he was Episcopal Vicar for Healthcare, spokesman for the archdiocese on matters of ethics, a visiting lecturer at the Catholic Theological College and secretary to the Senate of Priests. His community engagements have included being Chaplain to the Parliament of Victoria, a member of the Infertility Treatment Authority of Victoria, chair or member of several hospital ethics committees, a conventual chaplain ad honorem to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a chaplain to various other organisations. He has also had various engagements in parish life and the pastoral care of the handicapped and the dying.
Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney
Fisher was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Sydney and titular Bishop of Buruni by Pope John Paul II on 16 July 2003 and consecrated by Cardinal George Pell at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney on 3 September 2003. He took "Speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) as his episcopal motto. He was the parish priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Watsons Bay and Episcopal Vicar for Life and Health in the Archdiocese of Sydney, as well as serving on the Australian Bishops' Commission for Doctrine and Morals and as chair of the Catholic Schools Board, chair of the Catholic Education Commission of New South Wales, deputy chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney and an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life since 2004.
Fisher was the organiser of World Youth Day 2008 held in Sydney. This was the largest youth gathering and largest religious event ever held in Australia. It attracted 250,000 young people for a week-long festival and 400,000 people for the final Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, which was held at Randwick Racecourse.
Bishop of Parramatta
Fisher was named the third Bishop of Parramatta by Pope Benedict XVI on 8 January 2010 and was installed on 4 March 2010 in St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta. As Bishop of Parramatta, Fisher oversaw the implementation of Faith in Our Future, the pastoral plan for the Diocese of Parramatta, which focussed on growing and sharing faith in the areas of families, youth, ethnicity, vocations and evangelisation. Under his episcopate, Fisher continued as chair of the Catholic Education Commission of New South Wales and adjunct professor in theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He was also a member of the company of the Australian Catholic University and served as a member of the Australian Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Life, as chair of the Anti-Euthanasia Task Force and as the Bishops' Delegate for Youth.
Fisher issued a number of pastoral letters to priests and the faithful of the diocese on the themes of confession ("Come back to Me with all your heart", Lent 2011), pastoral planning ("Faith in Our Future", Lent 2012), the child abuse crisis (with the other New South Wales bishops, "Sowing in Tears", Lent 2013), Personal Vocation ("Thy Kingdom Come", Christ the King 2013) and the Eucharist ("This Wonderful Sacrament", Corpus Christi 2014). Following a significant increase in vocations to the priesthood in the Diocese of Parramatta, he directed the building of the new Seminary of the Holy Spirit at Harris Park. On 20 December 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Archbishop of Sydney
On 18 September 2014, Pope Francis appointed Fisher as Archbishop of Sydney. The next day, Fisher called for harmony in the community in light of counter-terrorism raids that had just begun. He said, "As a religious leader though I think people of faith have something very important to do and to say at the moment. [These are] troubled times in our world and even in our own city. We need to bring some calm and some restraint and some wisdom at this time." Fisher was installed as Archbishop of Sydney on 12 November 2014 in a ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Sydney (Clover Moore), the Premier of New South Wales (Mike Baird) and John Howard, a former Prime Minister of Australia, as well as other politicians and leaders of Orthodox Christian and other religious communities in Sydney.
In December 2015, Fisher was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome following a gastrointestinal infection which was complicated by an immune-related pathology. He received intensive care treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, before moving to Mount Wilga Rehabilitation Centre. The Archdiocese of Sydney announced that Fisher would return to regular, active duties from 5 May 2016 and he celebrated his first public Mass on 29 May 2016.
Pope Francis named Fisher as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on 6 August 2019. The appointment involves specific dialogue with the Eastern churches in Australia and across the world.
Response to child sexual abuse cases
In July 2008, when asked at a World Youth Day press conference about an alleged case of clerical sexual abuse in Melbourne years earlier, Fisher said: "Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people and the hope — the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future — as we saw last night [at World Youth Day], rather than, than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds." The father of the alleged victims and advocates for survivors of abuse reacted angrily and criticised Fisher's language. One said: "We've had non-stop calls from family members who are angry and distressed about this young Bishop's response." Fisher later said his comment was taken out of context: "I called the reporters cranky and, boy, did I get jumped upon ... they said I was calling the abuse victims cranky, which I certainly wasn't doing."[a]
When he became archbishop, Fisher committed the church to doing better in its response to child sexual abuse cases. Upon being named archbishop, he said, "Victims of abuse and all young people must come first – no excuses, no cover-ups. The Church must do better in this area and I am committed to playing a leading role in regaining the confidence of the community and of our own members."
He stated that the "Church in Australia is going through a period of public scrutiny and self-examination" and expressed his hope that it "will emerge from this purified, humbler, more compassionate and spiritually regenerated." He lamented the institutionalised child sexual abuse that occurred historically in his former Diocese of Parramatta and took the opportunity to apologise for what he acknowledged as the Church's failure to properly assist victims. Speaking of previous abuse cases, he reiterated his desire for openness and change saying, "We want to make sure every child is safe and cherished going forward."
At the Mass for his installation as Archbishop of Sydney, Fisher said: "To survivors of abuse and all affected I say: the Church is - I am - profoundly sorry for what happened. All young people must be cherished and protected. The Church can do better and I am committed to giving a lead in this area. I pray that the Church will emerge from this period of public scrutiny humbler, more compassionate and spiritually regenerated. Only then will we regain credibility and trust in many people's eyes." He repeated this apology at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and held a service of Prayers of Forgiveness and Reparation at St Mary's Cathedral following the release of the commission's final report.
Opposition to same-sex marriage and position on other LGBT issues
Fisher has consistently opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage. According to The Independent newspaper, this is "part of his general stance against increased rights for LGBT people." New Ways Ministry has drawn attention to a number of "LGBT-negative statements" Fisher has made. In March 2017, Fisher stated that businesses such as Qantas and Telstra should not sponsor Pride events aimed at supporting LGBT staff or encouraging non-discrimination, nor lobby in favour of the legalisation of same-sex marriage. He accused private sector chief executives of applying "pink bans" to other companies or executives that did not support such issues.
In August 2017, during the political debate to determine whether Australia should introduce same-sex marriage, Fisher argued that religious schools, charities and hospitals could be coerced to comply with the "new view of marriage" if the majority of Australians opted for a change in legislation and that teachers would not be free to follow the "traditional" church teaching on marriage, but instead be forced to teach a more "politically correct" curriculum. He said that religious believers would be vulnerable to discrimination suits and could even lose their jobs if same-sex marriage is legalised. He also wrote a letter to all parents of children in Catholic schools across New South Wales to advise them to vote no to a change in the law. Same-sex marriage was subsequently introduced to Australia by an act of federal parliament in December 2017 following widespread support in a national postal survey. Fisher said he was "deeply disappointed" with the result.
- Fisher, Anthony (1985), Abortion in Australia: Answers and Alternatives. With Jane Buckingham. First printing: Melbourne: Dove Communications, 1985. Second printing: Sydney: Foundation for Human Development 1991.
- Fisher, Anthony (1989), IVF: The Critical Issues. Melbourne: Collins Dove
- Fisher, Anthony (1991), I am a stranger: will you welcome me? The immigration debate. Melbourne: Collins Dove/ACSJC
- Fisher, Anthony (2001), Code of Ethical Standards for Catholic Health and Aged Care Services in Australia. With B. Tobin, C. Gleeson and M. Byrne. Canberra: Catholic Health Australia
- Fisher, Anthony (1996), Relevant Ethical Issues in Healthcare. With F. Gomez & H. Bustamanthe. Manila: UST Bioethics
- Fisher, Anthony (2001), Healthcare Allocation: An Ethical Framework for Public Policy. With L. Gormally et al. London: Linacre Centre.
- Fisher, Anthony (2011), Catholic Bioethics for a New Millennium, New York City, USA: Cambridge University Press
- Fisher, Anthony (2017), The Healing Peace of Christ: Reflections on Illness and Recovery, Death and New Life. Sydney: St Paul's.
- Fisher, Anthony (2018), War and Terror, Peace and Hope. Sydney: St Paul's.
- Fisher, Anthony (2018), My Dear Young Friend: Letters on Youth, Faith and Future. Sydney: St Paul's.
- A year later, and after the publication of Fisher's "out of context" explanation, the Sydney Morning Herald continued to cite Fisher's original language as evidence that "At times, [the church] has given the clear impression that it wishes sexual abuse victims would shut up and go away."
- "Rinunce e nomine" (PDF) (Press release). Vatican Press Office. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- Wehner, Tom (12 November 2014). "Meet Sydney's New Shepherd, Archbishop Anthony Fisher". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Profile". Roman Catholic Diocese of Parramatta. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "The turbocharged bishop – National". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Bishop Anthony's Theology on Tap Address - Part 3, retrieved 24 October 2019
- WorldCat programme listing and Production company website, accessed 20 December 2017
- Production company website, accessed 16 August 2018
- "Pope Appoints Bishop Anthony Fisher to Archdiocese of Sydney". Vatican Radio. News.va. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Curruthers, Fiona (22 August 2003). "Euthanasia protagonists disagree over cost of living". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Archbishop's Biography". Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Blackburn, Richard (18 September 2014). "Catholic Church names Bishop Anthony Fisher as Cardinal George Pell's successor". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "WYD mass 'unforgettable end' to celebrations". ABC News. 20 July 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Catholic Diocese of Parramatta. Faith in Our Future: Pastoral Plan for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta 2014-2018. 2014, Parramatta, Australia.
- Australian Catholic Bishops (17 February 2013). "Sowing in Tears: Lenten Pastoral letter of NSW Bishops in response to Royal Commission". ACBC Media Blog. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Fisher, Anthony (22 June 2014). "This Wonderful Sacrament". ZENIT - English. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Watson, Vanessa (19 September 2014). "Bishop Anthony Fisher appointed Archbishop". Parramatta Sun. Fairfax Media Regional. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- McCowen, Sharyn (1 October 2014). "'Main focus on people' at installation Mass". The Catholic Weekly. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- West, Andrew (13 November 2014). "Sydney's new Archbishop: Anthony Fisher steps into big shoes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Parker, Scott (13 November 2014). "Anthony Fisher succeeds George Pell as Catholic Church anoints ninth Archbishop of Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Pope names two new members for Doctrine of Faith". Vatican Radio. Holy See Press Office. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
- King, Simon (5 January 2016). "Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher in intensive care". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 29 April 2016.(subscription required)
- Hiini, Robert (27 April 2016). "Recovering Archbishop Fisher due to return to work". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Livingstone, Tess (30 May 2016). "Federal election 2016: Greens' policies immoral, says Catholic archbishop". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- "Resignations and Appointments, 06.07.2019" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Bourke, Emily (17 July 2008). "Catholic Bishop's 'old wounds' comments slammed". ABC News. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Bryant, Nick (20 July 2008). "A spectacular show". BBC News. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
Victims were incensed by the comments of Bishop Anthony Fisher, the World Youth Day co-ordinator, who said they should not "dwell crankily" on old wounds.
- Bates, Rob (29 July 2009). "The faith and conviction of Bishop Anthony Fisher". Wentworth Courier. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Church painfully slow to learn lessons of abuse". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Livingstone, Tess (19 September 2014). "'Mud on boots' of new chief Catholic Anthony Fisher". The Australian. News Corporation. Retrieved 19 September 2014.(subscription required)
- Feneley, Rick (19 September 2014). ""I am ashamed": new Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher admits church has failed abuse victims". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Anthony Fisher, O. P. (12 November 2014). "The Hope of the Church: Sydney's New Archbishop Looks at the Past, Looks to the Future". ABC Religion & Ethics. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse (2017). Case Study 50, Transcript of M. Coleridge, T. Costelloe, A. Fisher, D. Hart, P. Wilson, p. 26002
- Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary in Reparation for Abuse, retrieved 4 November 2019
- Fisher, Anthony (11 August 2017). "Between ideal and reality: What future for marriage in Australia?". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
I will not rehearse my case for marriage as traditionally understood and for retaining that understanding of marriage in our laws which I have offered on many occasions.
- Griffin, Andrew (24 December 2017). "Same-sex marriage has made 2017 a horrible year, says Catholic archbishop". The Independent. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
- Livingstone, Tess (31 March 2017). "Catholic archbishop Fisher to CEOs: butt out of same-sex debate". The Australian. Retrieved 12 April 2019.(subscription required)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Kelly, Joe (14 August 2017). "Same-sex marriage: Church warns of 'same-sex coercion' for schools". The Australian. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- Fisher, Anthony (14 August 2017). "Marriage Redefinition will Affect Every Australian: Archbishop Fisher". Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "Sydney Archbishop says religious believers could lose their jobs if gay marriage is legalised". The Australian. Australian Associated Press. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2019.(subscription required)
- Karp, Paul (7 December 2017). "Marriage equality law passes Australia's parliament in landslide vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
|Catholic Church titles|
Ismail Rueda Sierra
| Titular Bishop of Buruni
Kevin Michael Manning
| Bishop of Parramatta
Vincent Long Van Nguyen
| Archbishop of Sydney