News

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP Appointed to the Pontifical Council for Life

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Jun 2017

Pope Francis has appointed 45 ordinary members of the Pontifical Council for Life

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney one of 45 ordinary members of the Pontifical Council for Life after having removed all 172 previous members of the Council last November.

Archbishop Fisher, formerly a life member of the Council, was advised of his re-appointment by Council President Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia earlier this month.

Archbishop Fisher, an internationally renowned bioethicist and author of numerous books on bioethical issues and founder of the JPll institute in Melbourne, joins fellow members including US Professor Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus and British Professor Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, at Oxford University. The Council was established in 1994 by then Pope John Paul II and French Catholic geneticist Jerome Lejeune, the discoverer of the chromosomal basis of Down Syndrome.

The Council has traditionally been a strongly pro-life organisation and many of its members have been ready to buy in to public or political debates around issues connected to the church's teaching on the sanctity of human life such as abortion, IVF technology and related procedures, euthanasia and so on.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has been outspoken on life issues over the years. In articles, publications, interviews, addresses, homilies and debates he has proposed the case for defending life from conception to natural death.

In August 2015 he debated Professor Peter Singer in Sydney's Town Hall. The topic was "Should Voluntary Euthanasia be legalised?" See the debate below:

In April 2017 Archbishop Anthony Fisher called on NSW Catholics to defend life making a petition available in all parishes in the Archdiocese of Sydney in opposition to two proposed abortion laws.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP Appointed to the Pontifical Council for Life

The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 and The Summary Offences Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2017

The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 sought to:

  • make abortion legal, right up until the moment of birth;
  • require doctors who object to abortion to refer any woman who is seeking advice about pregnancy options to a medical professional who does not object; and
  • enforce a buffer zone around abortion clinics which would prevent those who wish to offer assistance to pregnant women or hold prayerful vigils for life from coming within 150 metres from a clinic.

The Summary Offences Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2017 would seek to enforce exclusion zones around abortion clinics, making prayerful vigils like the popular 40 Days for Life punishable with fines and imprisonment. (This bill is yet to be debated)

After debate on The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 concluded it was voted on and defeated 14 Ayes 25 Noes.

Over 50, 000 thousand Catholics signed the petition.