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Anthony Fisher

This article is about the Catholic archbishop. For other uses, see Anthony Fisher (disambiguation).

The Most Reverend Monsignor
Anthony Fisher
Archbishop of Sydney
Archdiocese Sydney
Province Ecclesiastical Province of Sydney
Metropolis Sydney
Appointed 18 September 2014
Installed 12 November 2014
Predecessor George Pell
Other posts Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Ordination 14 September 1991
by Eusebius Crawford
Consecration 3 September 2003
by George Pell
Rank Archbishop
Personal details
Birth name Anthony Colin Fisher[1]
Born (1960-03-10) 10 March 1960 (age 56)
Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Occupation Bishop
Previous post
  • Bishop of Parramatta (2010-2014)
  • Titular Bishop of Buruni (2003-2010)
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney (2003-2010)
Alma mater
Motto Veritatem facientes in caritate
("Speaking the truth in love")
Coat of arms Anthony Fisher's coat of arms
Styles of
Anthony Fisher
Reference style The Most Reverend Monsignor
Spoken style Your Grace or My Lord Archbishop
Religious style 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). As of 12 November 2014, he serves as 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.

Fisher holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with first-class honours and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney. He was a practicing solicitor with the law firm Clayton Utz prior to joining the Dominicans. He subsequently studied for a Bachelor of Theology degree with first-class honours at Yarra Theological Union, a member institution of the Melbourne College of Divinity (now called the University of Divinity). He later obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in bioethics from University College, Oxford while residing at Blackfriars Hall.

Early life and education

Fisher was born the eldest of five children in Crows Nest, Sydney, to Gloria Maguregui – a Spanish Basque who migrated with her family to Australia from China and the Philippines in the 1950s – and Colin Fisher, a pharmacist from Ashfield. He was baptised at St Therese's Church, Lakemba and attended the parish school in 1965 and 1966.[2] 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.[3]

Priesthood and academia

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.[1] 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.

Fisher then 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 an edition of the live British discussion television program After Dark along with Tom Shakespeare, Lewis Wolpert, Germaine Greer, Robert Winston and others.

Fisher debating Philip Nitschke at Sydney University, 2003

From 1995 to 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, a postgraduate pontifical institute with nine campuses around the world.[4] The principal work of the institute is in teaching and research on questions concerning respect for human life and the dignity of the person and support for marriage and family life. Fisher remains Professor of Bioethics and Moral Theology at the institute.[5] In 2003, he debated euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney, with over 900 in attendance.[3][6] He is the Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney by virtue of his appointment (having previously served as the deputy-chancellor) and Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia.[4]

In the Dominican order at the time of his episcopal appointment, Fisher was the Master of Students (seminarians) and Socius (deputy) to the Prior Provincial of Australia and New Zealand. In the Melbourne diocese, he was Episcopal Vicar for Healthcare, spokesman for the diocese on matters of ethics, a visiting lecturer at the Catholic Theological College and secretary to the Senate of Priests.[4] He was also the organiser of World Youth Day 2008 held in Sydney.[7]

Fisher's community involvements 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.[4]


Fisher was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Sydney and Titular Bishop of Buruni by Pope John Paul II in 2003 and consecrated by Cardinal George Pell at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney on 3 September 2003. 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. He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Australian Bishops' Commission for Doctrine and Morals.[1]

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.[1] On 18 September 2014, Pope Francis appointed him as the new Archbishop of Sydney.[7] In his first address as archbishop, Fisher called for harmony in the community in light of counter-terrorism raids which began one day prior to his elevation. 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."[8] 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.[9][10][11]

On 6 May 2015, Pope Francis appointed Fisher and the Archbishop of Dijon, Roland Minnerath, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[12]

Response to child sexual abuse cases

Anthony Foster, the father of two children allegedly sexually abused by their parish priest, criticised Fisher for his comment: "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, rather than, than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds."[13][14] Fisher 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."[15]

Upon his elevation to the archepiscopate, Fisher committed the Church to doing better in its response to child sexual abuse cases. 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."[7] 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."[7][16] He also 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.[17] 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."[16]


  • 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


  1. ^ a b c d "Rinunce e nomine" (Press release). Vatican Press Office. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Bishop of Parramatta". Roman Catholic Diocese of Parramatta. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "The turbocharged bishop – National –". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Pope Appoints Bishop Anthony Fisher to Archdiocese of Sydney". Vatican Radio ( 18 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Prof Anthony Fisher OP". John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. Archived from the original on 20 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Curruthers, Fiona (22 August 2003). "Euthanasia protagonists disagree over cost of living". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d 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. 
  8. ^ Watson, Vanessa (19 September 2014). "Bishop Anthony Fisher appointed Archbishop". Parramatta Sun. Fairfax Media Regional. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  9. ^ McCowen, Sharyn (1 October 2014). "'Main focus on people' at installation Mass". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Pope names two new members for Doctrine of Faith". Vatican Radio. Holy See Press Office. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Bourke, Emily (17 July 2008). "Catholic Bishop's 'old wounds' comments slammed". ABC News. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Bryant, Nick (20 July 2008). "A spectacular show". BBC News. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  15. ^ Bates, Rob (29 July 2009). "The faith and conviction of Bishop Anthony Fisher". Wentworth Courier. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Livingstone, Tess (19 September 2014). "'Mud on boots' of new chief Catholic Anthony Fisher". The Australian. News Corporation. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  17. ^ 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. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Kevin Michael Manning
Catholic Bishop of Parramatta
Preceded by
George Cardinal Pell
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

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