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Archbishop speaks on ethics around COVID

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP is a leading bioethicist and expert on several of the issues at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccines, employment, health care, loneliness and, for Catholics, the sacraments are all key challenges

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has reflected upon some of the key ethical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from vaccines to support for the unemployed and restrictions on churches in a podcast episode of This Catholic Life aired on Thursday 15 October.

The popular podcast is produced through a collaboration with the Archdiocese of Sydney and the University of Notre Dame Australia. Hosted by theologian Peter Holmes, it has attracted more than 45,000 downloads since its launch in July 2019.

In the latest episode Archbishop Fisher reflects upon some of the ethical dilemmas linked to the development of a COVID19 vaccine.

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“Some of the vaccines being developed derive from a line of cells that come from a little girl who was aborted in the 1970s and that’s very troubling for a lot of people”, said the archbishop, a leading bioethicist.

“They then worry about being complicit in any way in the abortion industry. We naturally feel uncomfortable in the face of a moral evil.”

Archbishop Fisher also spoke about some of the economic challenges Australians are facing during the pandemic. “I think our governments have done very well with Jobkeeper and Jobseeker,” he said.

“They’ve broken through their usual ideological positions around balanced budgets and said we need to be different in an emergency like this.

“Those of us who can work, should work. Those of us who have opportunities to help the person next door who is now unemployed and in a bad way, should be doing that. We should be looking out for each other and trying our best to get the economy going again, not just because of the dollars and cents, but because it underpins so much of the rest of our lives”.

Archbishop Fisher said Catholics have particularly struggled during the pandemic because of restrictions on the celebration of Mass. Currently, up to 100 people can attend Mass in a church, while St Mary’s Cathedral was given an exemption this month to allow for up to 300 people under strict conditions including that they remain in separate zones with their own entry and exit points.

You can listen to the podcast online on The Catholic Weekly website here:

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