New Sydney archbishop wants to help Catholics regain trust in church

Sydney — New Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher has pledged to regain the confidence of Australian Catholics and the broader community in the wake of the church's sexual abuse scandal.

Pope Francis named the bishop of Parramatta and former auxiliary bishop of Sydney to succeed Cardinal George Pell, now prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy.

"There can be no more excuses, no more cover-ups and the victims have to be put first," Fisher said.

The Catholic church in Australia is going through a period of scrutiny, he said.

"I hope it will emerge from this purified, humbler, more compassionate and spiritually regenerated," 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."

At 54, Fisher will be the youngest archbishop of Sydney in more than 40 years. A member of the Dominicans, he also will be the first member of a religious order to be archbishop of Sydney since the late 19th century.

Fisher studied history and law at the University of Sydney before joining a city law firm. He then entered the Order of Preachers and received an honors degree in theology while studying for the priesthood in Melbourne. He was ordained Sept. 14, 1991.

He went on to study at the University of Oxford, where he completed a doctorate in bioethics, which has remained a key area of interest for him. Since 2004, he has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

In 2012, Pell, then archbishop of Sydney, launched Fisher's book, Catholic Bioethics for a New Millennium.

It was "a particularly promising time to be involved in Catholic bioethics," he said at the time.

"Health care continues to do so much that is so good and has the potential to do more in the future," he said.

Fisher was named auxiliary bishop of Sydney in 2003, a role he held for seven years, including coordinating World Youth Day 2008. He was named to Parramatta in 2010.

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