Interviews with Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta.
Bishop Anthony was has appeared on Salt and Light Television in Canada, speaking on bioethics.
Bishop Anthony received a doctorate in bioethics from the University of Oxford in 1995 and became the founding Director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne. Recorded in June, Bishop Anthony speaks with Fr Thomas Rosica on the scientific dilemmas around stem cells and many of the important moral and bio-ethical issues of our time.
Watch Bishop Anthony's Bioethics interview on the Salt and Light website
Tags: Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP interviews Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Bishop Anthony's interview on Salt and Light Television, reflecting on World Youth Day 2008.
Bishop Anthony spoke about how events like World Youth Day are important instruments of the New Evangelization in the Church and in the world today.
This interview was filmed in the Salt and Light Broadcast Centre in June 2010, and aired on 18 July - the second anniversary of World Youth Day 2008.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, discussed the expectations on Benedict XVI’s successor on ABC News 24’s ‘The World’ program on Thursday 28 February 2013, with host Jane Hutcheon and ABC Online Religion Editor, Scott Stephens.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, discussed the meaning of Christmas on ABC News 24’s ‘The World’ program on Friday 21 December 2012, with host Scott Bevan and ABC Online Religion Editor, Scott Stephens.
Published on 'The Drum' on 13 June 2008
Australia is a wonderful country in so many ways. It is a Christian country in the sense that most people identify as Christian, and a religious country in the sense that most by far say they believe in God and pray from time to time. Faiths have made a major contribution through schools, hospitals, welfare agencies, parishes and public life.
Whether we realise it or not, much of our 'social capital', our values and virtues, our sense of a fair go, our desire that all have opportunities, are part of our Judeo-Christian inheritance.
But many of 'Gen Y' lack a connection with any church or religion. Many are still searching. Some are disoriented regarding God and vocation, life and love, marriage and family, justice and community, ecology and peace. They are less involved than they could be in church life or the broader community. So the Catholic Church in Sydney and Australia decided to bid for World Youth Day (WYD).
A small country like Australia could not hope to host the biggest youth event in the world without the backing of government, churches, business and the community generally. We have, in general, received that backing and we are enormously grateful for it.
Some of that support came for purely pragmatic reasons. WYD will bring great tourist and commercial benefits, and for a much smaller outlay by government than is usual for big events. It will also showcase Sydney and Australia to international TV audiences of a billion people at a time.
But there is more to WYD than that. When 125,000 young pilgrims from overseas join up to 100,000 young Aussies for the week of celebrations, it will be a magical time for all Sydney, and for all Australia, not just the Catholics, not just the youth. Ordinary people will themselves join the pilgrims in big numbers and will be emotionally and spiritually uplifted.
Some don't like that prospect. The wowsers are against big celebrations, take fright when they are coming, carp endlessly about the cost or inconvenience, and generally seem annoyed at the thought that so many people will have such a good time. Some have made a lot of money or mileage by causing a stir. And every so often the sectarian rivalries that were once an ugly part of the Australian spiritual landscape have made a late reappearance.
But there is something else behind the negativity. We see it at times in public debate. A range of views are welcomed, but as soon as a religious leader or perspective is introduced some seek to exclude it. The three quarters of Australians who believe in God must check their beliefs into the cloakroom before entering the public square.
One 'liberal' commentator recently said she didn't mind religion when it was kept safely in people hearts or churches, but that bringing it out in public risked fanning anti-religious feeling.
Her "live and let live" tolerance presumed that the best we can do is agree to disagree, endure each other's private devotions, and leave well alone. The state must remain neutral with respect to religion and withhold financial support from anything with a whiff of incense about it. Religious beliefs and practices should be kept out of sight.
The problem with this live-and-let-live kind of tolerance is that as soon as the other guy gets in-my-face my 'tolerance' evaporates. So limited is the reservoir of sympathy, respect or gratitude amongst dogmatic secularists that the prospect of a public display of youthful faith evokes antipathy and even contempt.
What does this say about our supposedly liberal society? Are we happy with the idea that as long as Catholics (Jews? Muslims? Aborigines? Feminists?) keep to themselves and avoid publicity they will be left alone? Is it enough for our tolerance to be a thin veneer over deep-seated prejudices ready to emerge at the slightest provocation?
A better variety of tolerance is built not on rivalry and relativism, but on our common humanity in pursuit of shared goods and ideals. It builds on respect for persons, human rights and conscience properly understood. It allows public recognition of the good religions do and collaboration by the state with churches on things like education, health, welfare, even public celebrations. It copes with differences without antipathy or contempt.
Australians have usually demonstrated this deeper respect. It is another part of their Judeo-Christian inheritance with its emphasis on "reverence for the person". Other intellectual currents have also contributed.
But we cannot assume that just because ours has often been a respectful society it always was or always will be. How do we build up this social capital for the future? How do we renew the values and ideals of a new generation?
WYD is a celebration of faith, hope and charity, of the youth and universality not only of the Church but of humanity. Young people report after WYD having experienced belonging to something much bigger than their school, parish or community. They now know there are people just like them all over the world. That is the beginning of that deeper reverence.
WYD will help build up the deeper, principled variety of respect here in Australia. When young people see the Pope meet other Christian leaders and representatives of all traditions, they will have an example of religious dialogue and friendship before their eyes. When they see members of other churches and faiths volunteering their homes or time to assist WYD, they will see such respect is not just talk.
When they learn that in addition to all the Catholic contributions, the Malek Fahed Islamic School in Greenacre is hosting over 300 pilgrims, that there are ecumenical centres of meditation and music, and that there are film, art and dance from Jewish and other traditions, their horizons will be expanded.
And if they attend the forums on interfaith matters, on science and religion, on faith and reason, or the deeply moving ecumenical Stations of the Cross through the city streets, their hearts and minds will also be stretched.
Rome Reports' news interview with the Bishop of Parramatta Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP’s new book ‘Catholic Bioethics for a New Millennium’.
Catholic News Service interviewed the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, on Pope Benedict’s teachings on bioethics, during the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome 21 to 23 February 2013.
Approximately 120 members of the Pontifical Academy of Life gathered in Rome for the academy’s 19th annual general assembly, where Bishop Anthony was among the speakers.
(First published by Dominican Vocations, Province of the Assumption)
How did I discern which order I should join? That was complicated. I was schooled by the Jesuits and my parish was diocesan. I thought of both of those first and made inquiries of them while still a schoolboy and later as well. But I took nearly ten years to make up my mind. In the meantime I studied, had various romantic and social involvements, practised law, travelled around the world, grew up a lot. While I was at Sydney Uni a girlfriend persuaded me to attend a conference of the Tertiary Catholic Federation in Adelaide. There I met a would-be Dominican whom I told I was thinking of entering the priesthood. Soon after that pamphlets started arriving mysteriously in the post for me with titles like 'So you want to be a Dominican?' I met a few real Dominicans and the more I learnt about what the Order was about, the more I admired its ideals and thought its apostolate and style of life might suit me.
I love study and am passionate about philosophy and theology; this was an Order with a great intellectual tradition and apostolate; an order with the motto Veritas, Truth, which has counted among its number great doctors of the Church such as St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great and St Catherine of Siena… I need help with prayer and spirituality, and this was an order where the brethren would be there cajoling and encouraging and requiring your participation in these things, rather than leaving you to go it alone, an order which has counted among its number an enormous variety of temperaments which God made through the Order into saints: Dominic, Martin de Porres, Antoninus, Fra Angelico, Vincent Ferrer, Rose of Lima… I love people and knew I needed to live in a family or community; in this Order the friars normally live in communities of six or more and, like monks, spend much of their lives together… And I was a public speaker and debater and wanted to turn that to some good use: joining an order of preachers seemed just the thing… Above all I was convinced that at its best the Order could provide exactly the things the Church and society needs at this post-modern moment: direction in all the intellectual and moral chaos, a spirituality and consciousness of the divine amidst all the materialism and reductionism, genuine community in all the individualism, hope amidst the widespread despair.
In the end, though, I really only discerned my vocation within the Order. It was in my first year at St Dominic's that I really fell in love with the Order's tradition and ideals and work for God. I'm still fairly romantic about those things. I still haven't got the balance right given the high commitment of the Order to prayer and liturgy, study and contemplation, then passing on the fruits of that contemplation to others in various preaching apostolates. I suppose I've got some of it better than other bits. But it is sure worth trying.
When did I know it was forever? Technically I suppose it was when I applied for solemn vows, was examined, discussed and voted upon by the brothers I lived with, accepted by the Order and made my solemn (final) profession: that was about six years after I joined. But to be honest I really knew deep in my heart almost from the day I joined - fifteen years ago now: it was just a matter of time after that until I made my final commitment.
You asked about the place of prayer in all this. I love the Mass and the Divine Office. I remember visiting the Dominican student house in Krakow, Poland (the Pope's city) once. They sang the divine office so beautifully one afternoon that I found I was crying; there were hundreds of people including hundreds of young people, there to join in their old style Vespers. Here at St Dominic's we try to celebrate both solemnly and prayerfully too. We aren't the best singers at the moment, so if our celebration brings people to tears it is probably for different reasons! But at least we try. My work keeps me away from the choir (i.e. from praying the divine office with the brethren) quite a bit, but I miss it and try to get to it whenever I can. Dominican prayer is very liturgical and very physical: there's lots of standing, sitting, kneeling, bowing and other carry on. It involves the whole person.
We are expected to build time for more private prayer and contemplation into our day. Because I have so many jobs that's often late at night or in the car or other unlikely places for me. Dominicans are big on the Rosary too: it was Our Lady's gift to Dominic and the Order. I know that I cannot sustain the busyness of my life, with my jobs at the University, the Archdiocese, the hospitals, various comittees, dealing with the government and the media, celebrating the sacraments, helping our students in the Order, and all the rest, unless I keep the conversation going with God and unless I keep the worship of him first and foremost, before any of my earthly projects. Otherwise it will all come to naught.
Tags: Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP addresses Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Did you know that you can receive automatic RSS updates from any page of this website the moment they are updated?