Archbishop of Sydney to Debate Controversial Ethicist Peter Singer on End-of-Life Issues

Archbishop of Sydney to Debate Controversial Ethicist Peter Singer on End-of-Life Issues April 13, 2015

You’ve probably heard of Peter Singer, the controversial Princeton bioethicist who advocates infanticide, incest and bestiality.  A utilitarian who supports abortion, Singer has stated publicly that some animals are more entitled to personhood than are newborn babies. By his standard, then, parents could decide in the first six months of their child’s life whether to permit him to live, or whether to euthanize him.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P.  (Photo via  Facebook)
Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. (Photo via Facebook)

On August 13, the outspoken professor with the outrageous views will debate against the author of Catholic Bioethics for a New Millenniumthe prominent archbishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. The topic of the debate is yet to be determined, but it will center on end-of-life issues.

The debate, described by The Catholic Weekly as a “major coup,” was organized by the Catholic Society of St. Peter, the local Catholic student association at the University of Sydney.  The student association’s president, Alessandro Cowley, wrote to both men inviting them to debate, after Cowley read of a 2003 debate between Archbishop Fisher and euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke.

Daniel Hill, convenor of University Catholic Chaplaincies, helped to persuade the two ethicists to compete, adding his letter of support to the student’s letter to Singer.  Hill explained to The Catholic Weekly why he believed the debate is important:

If you are a Catholic student at Sydney universities it is very likely, if not a certainty, that you would have had some of Peter Singer’s ideas presented to you as fact. 

“To have them challenged by our own archbishop – not just a religious leader but a world leader on the issue – is something very significant; something I suspect, just as happened in 2003, the students will not forget.”

The debate will take place in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney–the same venue where an audience of 900 watched the 2003 debate between Archbishop Fisher and Nitschke.

*     *     *     *     *

Archbishop Fisher’s other books include Abortion in Australia: Answers and Alternatives (written with Jane Buckingham); IVF: The Critical Issues; I am a stranger: Will you welcome me? The Immigration Debate; Code of Ethical Standards for Catholic Health and Aged Services in Australia; Relevant Issues in Healthcare; and Healthcare Allocation: An Ethical Framework for Public Policy.

"I'll follow you over Kathy. I was probably in more sympathy with your point of ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"If you're at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"Thank you, Mrs. Harris! Christmas blessings to you. I hope to see you over at ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."

Browse Our Archives



TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andre B

    You’ve probably heard of Peter Singer, the controversial Princeton bioethicist who advocates infanticide, incest and bestiality. A utilitarian who supports abortion, Singer has stated publicly that some animals are more entitled to personhood than are newborn babies. By his standard, then, parents could decide in the first six months of their child’s life whether to permit him to live, or whether to euthanize him.

    I think anyone that has grown up in a conservative Catholic family in the last few decades has probably heard of Singer and what his supposed views on infanticide are – though this incest angle is new (link?) – however, I very much doubt many have bothered to read his views for themselves, and instead rely on hearsay.

    While I don’t agree with many of his ideas, I’m not sure that his views on abortion, infanticide, or bestiality amount to advocating for as much as allowing for (ie. not so much encouraging as not being against), and in any case they are certainly not wholesale endorsements. Perhaps that will strike some as a distinction without a difference, but I think that reading his own words (or watching the debate) might support this take.

    http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1993—-.htm

    • Korou

      I’ve never heard of Peter Singer before, but I’d certainly be surprised if this post is an accurate representation of his views. Pro-life people have a tendency to demonise their opponents.

      • Rob B.

        While pro-abortion supporters are scrupulously fair and balanced. Riiiight….

        • Korou

          Sorry, never met a pro-abortion supporter. But pro-CHOICE supporters, while they may make mistakes and misspeak, do at least live in reality.
          On the other side…
          “Baby killer! YOU’RE WORSE THAN HITLER!!!”

          • Rob B.

            Well, abortionists have taken more innocent lives than Hitler did. If that’s “living in reality,” then I’ll take vanilla.

            And don’t deceive yourself: you are pro-abortion, whether you accept that or not. “Choice” is a mere euphemism foisted upon the country to remove any discussion of morality from the conversation.

          • Korou

            Thanks for telling me what I think, but in fact I am pro-choice. If a person wishes to bring a pregnancy to term that’s their right; if she wishes to have an abortion that should be her free option.
            What would be the point of being pro-abortion? The only time I’ve ever read about that was on the satirical website The Onion: “New Abortion Megaplex opens. Young women desperate to get pregnant so they can have an abortion flock there.”
            As to the innocent lives – well, have you ever heard the “fire in a hospital” story?

        • Andre B

          So, instead of addressing whether or not Singer is being fairly characterized in the OP, you’re going with the Tu quoque approach. Ooooook…..

          • Rob B.

            No, I’m merely pointing out that Korou’s ideas here (as in many other areas) are mostly one-sided. It behooves us all to remember that both sides are entrenched with individuals and groups that are extreme…

          • Korou

            All I was doing was saying that I suspected this post of being unreliable. You aren’t disagreeing, just saying that the other side’s no better.

    • The_Monk

      Now, personally I oppose drive-by shootings, but if that is what you need to do to get you thru the nite, who am I to judge, eh?…

      • Andre B

        Yeah that’s a pretty good distillation of his arguments.

  • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

    Many less fetuses would be aborted, if parents knew they had the time to see how damaged the infant was, and whether it had a chance for a meaningful life. I see Singer’s views as both pragmatic and compassionate.