The Archdiocese of Cape Town is the administrative and social unit of
the Catholic Church in the south-western part of South Africa. The archdiocese
is headed by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the
Most Reverend Archbishop Stephen Brislin
The archdiocese is centred on the city of Cape Town and includes the southernmost tip of the continent of
Africa; its area is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the southern boundaries of the Van
Rhynsdorp district, on the east by the western boundaries of the Calvinia, Ceres, Tulbagh, Worcester, Robertson and Swellendam districts, and on the south by the Indian
The civil districts within the ecclesiastical area of
the archdiocese are the districts of Cape, Wynberg, Simon's Town, Bellville, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington,
Caledon, Bredasdorp, Malmesbury, Piketberg and Clanwilliam.
About Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence
About Bishop Cawcutt
STRUCTURE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE
The Catholic Church throughout the world is divided into administrative
units called dioceses. Each diocese is headed by a bishop.
In some cases (as in South Africa) those dioceses which are of greater
political importance are called archdioceses and are
headed by an archbishop. In South Africa there are four
such archdioceses, one of which is Cape Town.
Each diocesan bishop in the world
(ecclesiastically called an ordinary to distinguish him
from other bishops who work in an administrative capacity) is responsible
directly to the Pope. In order to facilitate and co-ordinate various
matters of national interest such as seminaries, the bishops of South
Africa are associated into the Southern African Catholic Bishops
Conference (SACBC). This conference is affiliated to two other
such conferences: IMBISA (the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of
Southern Africa) and SECAM (the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of
Africa and Madagascar).
A representative of the Pope was appointed in
1922 as the Apostolic Delegate. In 1994 the Holy See (the diocese
of Rome and the Papal administration) and South Africa established
diplomatic relations, setting up an Apostolic Nunciature for the
Holy See in Pretoria and a South African Embassy in the Vatican.
Because Cape Town is the seat of parliament and
the legislative capital of South Africa, it is ecclesiastically known as a
metropolitan diocese - with the dioceses of Aliwal, De
Aar, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth and Queenstown as its suffragan
These other dioceses rely to some extent on Cape
Town for ecclesiastical support, although they are in no way subordinate
to Cape Town.
To help him administer the Archdiocese of Cape
Town, the Archbishop has appointed two vicars general.
Both carry the title of Monsignor.
A chancellor is appointed in
each diocese, whose task it is to act as a notary or someone who
authenticates any official document which the archbishop might issue.
To help in the ministry of the various
departments of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, a number of priests have been
appointed as vicars or heads of those departments.
Together with an equal number of other priests
elected by the priests serving in Cape Town, these constitute the presbyteral
council, and it is from this body that the archbishop chooses his
consultors or advisors.
In order to co-ordinate the pastoral function of
the various parishes in Cape Town, five deans have been
elected by the priests as their spokesmen in certain matters.
The body of deacons constitutes the Council of Deacons and the
Archbishop appoints a co-ordinator as a liaison between himself and the
The geographical area of Cape Town is divided up
into 80 autonomous areas called parishes. Each parish is
obliged to have its own pastoral council as well as a finance
Representatives from these parish councils - as
well as of other bodies - together form the Archdiocesan Pastoral
Council whose task it is to advise the archbishop in certain
In total the archdiocese covers an area of 30
892 square kilometres with a total population of 3 324 539 people, of whom
215 187 are Catholics.
The administrative centre of the archdiocese is
called a chancery and is located at 12 Bouquet Street in Cape Town. Its
postal address is P O Box 2910, Cape Town, 8000. The telephone number for
all departments in the chancery is (021) 462-2417; the
fax number is (021) 461-9330 and the e-mail address is
HISTORY OF THE ARCHDIOCESE
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Manual in terms of Section 51 of the Promotion of Access to Information
Act No. 2 of 2000