About the Archdiocese

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 Cardinal Stephen Brislin.


Cardinal Stephen Brislin, Cardinal Archbishop of the Metropolitan archdiocese 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 Town.

• Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Pastoral Leadership by the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas, USA on 5 May 2023.

• Announced as a Cardinal by Pope Francis at the pope’s Angelus address in Rome on 9 July 2023.

•  Created a Cardinal-Priest of the Titular Church of Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello by Pope Francis at the Consistory on 30 September 2023.

The Coat-of-Arms of Cardinal Stephen Brislin

The Coat-of-Arms of Cardinal Brislin shows on a red shield a silver pall, which symbolises the cross as the instrument of salvation. On it is placed a red Basotho hat (mokorotlo) that represents the Cardinal’s roots in the Free State.

Below the pall is the star that symbolises the Southern Cross and the patronage of Our Lady of the Flight Into Egypt; as well as the anchor, a symbol of hope that reflects Cape Town’s location at the Cape of Good Hope.
Behind the shield is the patriarchal cross and the pallium, both indicating that he is the Archbishop of a Metropolitan see.

As a member of the College of Cardinals the coat of arms is surmounted by a scarlet galero with 15 tassels (fiocchi) on each side. The Cardinal’s motto “Veritas in Caritate” (Truth in Charity) remains unchanged since his first appointment as bishop of Kroonstad.

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

The motto 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

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.

History of the Archdiocese

From the time of the discovery of the Cape, ecclesiastical jurisdiction over it appertained to the Portuguese missionary authorities. After the settlement of the Cape in 1652, the practice of the Catholic religion was prohibited by the civil authorities.

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

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 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 info@adct.org.za

Synod 2021-2023

The weekend of 27 February is designated as “synod focus Sunday” in the Archdiocese of Cape Town, with a view to launching the process in parishes in March and April (and May, if needed). Please see the videos below that can be used during Mass and sent to parishioners to help them understand what it is all about.

The training document and template are also available to assist with parish implementation.

The proposed timeline for synod process in parishes and in the Archdiocese is:

27 February 2022 – Synod Focus Sunday (prayer of the faithful; mention in the homily; showing/airing of Archbishop’s video; sending out link to video explaining the synod; and giving practical details to parishioners).

March and April and May 2022 – Group meetings in parishes. May 2022 – Beginning of collation of submissions at a parish level.

15 June 2022 – Deadline for collated parish submissions to be sent to synodadct@gmail.com using the template provided. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

25 June 2022 – Closing celebration and symbolic handover of parish responses July 2022 – Collation of submissions on a diocesan level.

We encourage all to use the following question during this listening process and within the ‘listening circles’:

A Synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ Drawing on the fundamental question of the synod, we invite you to reflect on the question:

How is this journeying together happening in your local church (parish/ archdiocese)?

To help clarify your reflection process, consider the following experiences within the church:

– What inspires and animates you, what makes you thankful and grateful about your Catholic life?

– What disappoints, wounds, or disillusions you?

– Where in particular is the spirit calling for growth and change in our thinking and practices?

Perhaps one or more of the topics from the pastoral plan resonates with you in this process: Evangelization, Empowerment of Laity, Life of Priests and Deacons and Bishops, Family and Youth, Justice and Peace, Healing and Reconciliation, Care of Creation.



The Synod Explained for Young People

Marriage Tribunal
Vocations & Seminaries
Principal Celebrations of the Liturgical Year
Baptism and Marriage Certificates

Access to Information


(“the Act”)



Company Overview

ARCHDIOCESE OF CAPE TOWN is a religious organisation operating as a church.

Part I (Information required under Section 51(1)(a) of the Act)

Physical Address: 12 Bouquet Street CAPE TOWN, 8001
Postal Address: PO Box 2910 CAPE TOWN, 8000
Telephone No: 021 462 2417
Fax no: 021 461 9330

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
Website: www.sahrc.org.za
E-mail: PAIA@sahrc.org.za

Part III (Copy of notice, if any, required under section 51(1)(c) of the Act) Currently not applicable

Part IV

(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:

  • Records kept in accordance with other legislation but not limited to:
  • Income Tax Act 58 of 1962;
  • Regional Services Councils Act 109 of 1985;
  • Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001;
  • Income Tax Act 58 of 1962;
  • Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991;
  • Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956;
  • Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998;
  • Copyright Act 98 of 1978;
  • Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995;
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997;
  • Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998;
  • Skills Development Levies Act 9 of 1999

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.

II. Fees

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

Part VI

(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).

News Archive and Deceased Clergy

News Archive. Postings on the web site for the period September 2000 to the present.

Deceased Clergy of the Archdiocese of Cape Town