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.
Most Reverend Stephen Brislin
Archbishop of Cape Town:
• Born in Welkom on 24 September 1956.
• Schooling at St Agnes’ Convent, Welkom and CBC, Welkom
• Seminary: Philosophy at St John Vianney, Pretoria and Theology at the Missionary Institute, London
• Ordained a priest on 19 November 1983.
• Ordained Bishop of Kroonstad on 28 January 2007.
• Installed as Archbishop of Cape Town on 7 February 2010, on the Solemnity of
• Our Lady of the Flight into Egypt, the patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Cape
The Coat-of-Arms of Archbishop Brislin:
The Coat-of-Arms of Archbishop Brislin expresses his motto Veritas in Caritate – truth in love, taken from Ephesians 4:15.
The centre is the empty cross of the resurrected Christ, from which all life comes. The rising sun is the promise of eternal life.
The brown represents the dryness of certain parts of the Free State where the Archbishop has his roots, and also represents life without Christ, since fruitfulness and life come through the cross.
This life is depicted by the people, the Acacia tree, the maize, the wheat and the grapes – also representing the Western Cape and reminding us of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Basotho hat reflects the majority of the people to whom the Archbishop ministered and also the “crown” of Kroonstad.
The thistle represents the maternal roots of the Archbishop, namely Scotland. The shamrock represents the paternal roots of the Archbishop, namely Ireland.
Right Reverend Sylvester David OMI
Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town
• Born in Durban on 15 August 1953.
• Oblate Formation: OMI Pre-Novitiate at Cleland 1982-3; OMI Novitiate in Johannesburg in 1984 and First Vows in January 1985; Final Vows in Durban in 1988; Seminary Formation: St Joseph’s Scholasticate, Cedara 1985-1990
• Ordained a priest on 8 February 1991.
• Ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town on 25 August 2019.
The Coat-of-Arms of Bishop Sylvester David:
unus Deus et Pater omnium is an excerpt from Ephesians 4:6 and is translated as “one God and Father of all”. Omnium literally means everything – including the ecology. This expression was chosen as an encouragement to us to embrace to a greater extent the high calling to live as God’s children by caring for each other and for the ecology.
The shield is separated into four quadrants by the Oblate Cross. The four motifs from the top left quadrant and continuing clockwise are Heart, Holy Spirit, Apostles, and Sacred Fire. These depict the advice to the Oblates from St Eugene de Mazenod their Founder who wrote: “Your destiny is to be apostles, and so tend within your hearts the sacred fire that the Holy Spirit lights there…” (Eugene de Mazenod, Nov 17, 1851). Notice that the heart comprises fingerprints. This was the artist’s way of depicting the incarnation. The apparent repetition in the symbols of Sacred Fire and Holy Spirit derive from the writing of St de Mazenod who saw the Sacred Fire as being lit by the Holy Spirit. In other words, Sacred Fire is caused by the Holy Spirit.
Right Reverend Reginald Cawcutt:
Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Cape Town
• Born in Rugby, Cape Town on October 25, 1938
• Schooling at Rugby Primary; St Agnes Convent, Woodstock;
Christian Brothers’ College, Green Point
• Seminary Studies at St John Vianney Seminary, Pretoria
• Ordained a priest in Cape Town on July 9,1962
• Ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town on August 26,1992
• Resigned as Auxiliary Bishop on 17th July 2002
Bishop Cawcutt’s Coat-of-Arms:
The symbols of a bishop’s coat-of-arms have a significance relating both to his personal and to his ecclesial life. The horse in chief acknowledges Bishop Cawcutt’s roots in a horse racing family. The silver background symbolises the purity brought into the lives of the faithful by Christ, his apostles and their successors the bishops, acting as vessels of divine grace. Both the anchor and the sailing ship acknowledge that Bishop Cawcutt has spent most of his priestly life serving as a naval chaplain. The ship is a symbol of the Church, while the wind filled sail is a symbol of the power of Christ and this is confirmed by the Greek chi-rho symbol of Christ emblazoned on the mainsail— without whom we too would drift aimlessly through life. This image is expressed also in the bishop’s motto: Nisi Dominus in Vanum… “without the Lord (we labour) in vain” (the opening words of Psalm 126). The cross on the top sail symbolises the sufferings which followers of Christ endure in life, while the other sails symbolise the help, advice, support and encouragement required from fellow pilgrims on the journey through life. The stock of the anchor replaces the traditional cross atop the shield which, together with the green hat and its twelve tassels indicate the order of bishop.
History of the Archdiocese
Commissioner General De Mist, by ordinance of 25 July 1804, declared that “all religious societies which for the furtherance of virtue and good morals worship an Almighty Being, are to enjoy in this Colony equal protection from the laws…” and in 1805 three Dutch priests arrived to minister to the Catholics of the Cape. One of them, Father Johannes Lansink, was appointed Prefect Apostolic (a title more or less equivalent to that of bishop, but used in missionary areas). The following year the military authorities ordered them to leave.
In February 1818 Pope Pius Vll erected the Vicariate Apostolic (a title more or less equivalent to that of diocese, but used in missionary areas) of the Cape of Good Hope and adjacent areas. Subsequently the “surrounding islands” were added – and these included Madagascar, Mauritius, Australia and New Zealand. The first Vicar Apostolic, the Right Reverend Bishop Bede Slater, OSB, having called at the Cape, went to reside in Mauritius. He was succeeded by the Rt Reverend Bishop William Morris, OSB, who also resided at Mauritius.
On June 6, 1837, Pope Gregory XVI constituted the Cape of Good Hope a separate vicariate (again similar to a diocese) and appointed the Rt Reverend Bishop Patrick Griffith, OP, as the first resident vicar apostolic (a more advanced title than prefect apostolic, and still similar to bishop).
In 1847, the Vicariate of the Cape of Good Hope was divided into the Vicariates of the Western District and the Eastern District of the Cape of Good Hope.
On May 24 1872 the Prefecture of the Central District of the Cape of Good Hope was detached from the Western Vicariate.
By decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide (that department in the Vatican which deals with missionary territories) dated June 13, 1939, the name of the Western Vicariate was changed to the Vicariate of Cape Town.
On January 11, 1951, Pope Pius Xll established the ecclesiastical hierarchy in the then Union of South Africa, and set up the ecclesiastical Province of Cape Town, comprising the metropolitan church of Cape Town, with the suffragan sees of Aliwal, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown and De Aar.
By the same bull, the Most Reverend Archbishop Owen McCann was appointed to the Metropolitan See of Cape Town.
The islands of Tristan da Cunha, Gough, Ascension and St Helena belonged to the Archdiocese of Cape Town until 18 August 1986 when they were given to the care of the Mill Hill Fathers, whose residence is based on the Falkland Islands.
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 Ocean.
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.
Structure of the Archdiocese
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 sees.
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 deacons.
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 council.
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 matters.
In total the archdiocese covers an area of 30 892 square kilometres with a total population of 4 737 197 people, of whom 264 342 are Catholics (as of 2021).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vocations & Seminaries
Principal Celebrations of the Liturgical Year
Baptism and Marriage Certificates
Access to Information
MANUAL PREPARED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 51 OF THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT NO 2 OF 2000
ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN
ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN is a religious organisation operating as a church.
Part I (Information required under Section 51(1)(a) of the Act)
Name of Body: ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN
Physical Address: 12 Bouquet Street CAPE TOWN, 8001
Postal Address: PO Box 2910 CAPE TOWN, 8000
Head of Body: THE CHANCELLOR FROM TIME TO TIME
Telephone No: 021 462 2417
Fax no: 021 461 9330
E-mail: NOT APPLICABLE
Part II (Information required under Section 51(1)(b) of the Act)
A guide on how to use the Act is to be compiled by the Human Rights Commission in terms of Section 10 of the Act by no later than August 2003. Any queries should be directed to:
The South African Human Rights Commissioner:
PAIA Unit, The Research and Documentation Department
Postal address: Private Bag 2700 Houghton, 2070
Telephone: +27 11 484 8300
Fax: +27 11 484 0582
Part III (Copy of notice, if any, required under section 51(1)(c) of the Act) Currently not applicable
(information required under Section 51(1)(d) and (e) of the Act)
For the purposes of this manual and the Act, the records held by ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN are categorised by the nature of the content thereof as follows:
The above records which are of public nature are available automatically without a person having to request access thereto in terms of the Act, as envisaged in Section 52.
|4.2||Address lists, internal phone lists, staff handbooks, employment records and contracts, accounting and financial records; insurance records and historical records of ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN.|
|4.3||Internal memoranda, general correspondence and minutes of meetings.|
|4.4||The website address of ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN is adct.org.za and is accessible to anyone who has access to the internet. The website contains information in various categories relating to the company and its contact particulars.|
A. The Request Procedure
I. Form of Request
- The requester must have the prescribed form being Schedule 1 hereto to make the request for access to a record. This must be made to the head. This request must be made to the address, fax number or electronic mail address of ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN.
- The requester must provide sufficient detail on the request form to enable the head to identify the record and the requester. The requester should also indicate which form of access is required and specify a postal address or fax number in the republic. The requester should also indicate if, in addition to a written reply, any other manner is to be used to inform the requester and state the necessary particulars to be so informed.
- The requester must identify the right that is sought to be exercised or protected and provide an explanation of why the requested record is required for the exercise or protection of the right.
- If a request is made on behalf of another person, the requester must submit proof of the capacity in which the requester is making the request to the satisfaction of the head.
A requester who seeks access to a record containing personal information about that requester is not required to pay the request fee. Every other requester, who is not a personal requester, must pay the required request fee:
- The head must by notice require the requester (other than a personal requester) to pay the prescribed request fee (if any) before further processing the request
- The fee that the requester must pay is R50.00. The requester may lodge an application to the Court against the tender or payment of the request fee
- After the head has made a decision on the request, the requester must be notified in the required form
- If the request is granted then a further access fee must be paid for reproduction and for search and preparation and for any time that has exceeded the prescribed hours to search and prepare the record for disclosure
Part V (Other information as may be prescribed required under section 51(1)(f))
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development has not made any regulations in this regard
(Availability of manual under Section 51(3))
An unabridged version of this manual is available for inspection by the general public upon request, during office hours and free of charge at the office of ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN
Copies may also be requested from the South African Human Rights Commission
Part VII (prescribed form and fee structure in respect of private bodies)
The forms and fee structure prescribed under the Act are available at the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development under the “regulations” section as well as the SAHRC website (www.sahrc.org.za).