Leading the faithful – Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
The Archbishop of Sydney Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP delivers leadership to the Sydney diocese on many levels.
The Archbishop was appointed by Pope Francis as the ninth Archbishop of Sydney on 18 September 2014 and some sixth months later the Vatican announced Archbishop Anthony’s appointment to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine.
Archbishop Anthony has had an illustrious career path in the church with real world experience that has allowed him to provide leadership and thought-provoking commentary on many of the social issues impacting on our society and the church. He has published extensively in bioethics and moral theology.
In May 2015, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference elected Archbishop Anthony to chair the new Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life; member of the Permanent Committee of the ACBC (the Executive); member of the Supervisory Group of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council; and member of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education. He remains the Bishops Delegate for Youth.
The Archbishop has stated the church’s positions on a number of current issues impacting both Catholic and non-Catholic society from concern over the ongoing issue of same sex marriage debate, the highly charged issue of institutional sexual abuse to protecting religious freedoms in our society.
Regarding institutional sexual abuse, Archbishop Anthony says that “As a concept the Archdiocese has supported a National Redress Scheme along with the Truth Justice and Healing Council and I am pleased the Federal Government has listened to the Royal Commission in recognising this as a positive way forward. It is a scheme supported not only by the Catholic Church but other churches, institutions and survivors of sexual abuse and their families.”
On the issue of same-sex marriage, Archbishop Anthony has expressed a view that changing the legal definition of marriage will have an impact on religious freedom. “The law helps to shape cultural values, and so changing the law in this area will inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose and meaning of marriage. Overseas, where the legal definition of marriage has been changed in this way, the rights of individuals and communities to live out their faith have been curtailed.”
Archbishop Anthony is an educator and focuses strongly on the importance of education in society. At the University of Sydney, he received degrees in History and Law before practising law in a city firm.
In 1985 Archbishop Anthony entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), a religious congregation dedicated to preaching the Catholic faith in the context of a life of study, prayer and community. He studied for the priesthood in Melbourne, receiving an honours degree in Theology.
He worked for a time on immigration and refugee issues at Uniya, a centre for social research in Kings Cross, and was ordained a priest at Holy Name Parish, Wahroonga, on 14 September 1991.
Thereafter, he completed a Doctorate in Bioethics at the University of Oxford. From 1995 to 2000, he was a lecturer in the Australian Catholic University.
From 2000 to 2003, he was foundation director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family, Melbourne. Archbishop Anthony remains Professor of Moral Theology and Bioethics at the Institute.
His community involvements included being Chaplain to the Parliament of Victoria; member of the Infertility Treatment Authority of Victoria; and chair or member of several hospital ethics committees. In 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney. In that archdiocese, he was Episcopal Vicar for Life and Health and Chairman of the Catholic Schools Board and from 2003-2010 Bishop Anthony was Parish Priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Watsons Bay.
Since that time he has also been Deputy-Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Adjunct Professor in The University of Notre Dame Australia, and a member of the Company of the Australian Catholic University.