Diocese division


Hypothetically speaking, if there was a need to divide large, oddly-shaped and culturally diverse diocese, what would this process look like?


That’s probably above any of our pay grades. It has happened a lot that dioceses grow and are divided. I imagine the process would look a bit different depending on the place.


In 1989 Pope St. John Paul II split up the archdiocese of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which until then had been the largest in the world, according to some reports, with 395 parishes and a population of 14.5 million, including non-Catholic minorities. Four new dioceses were created in outlying areas, taking over an aggregate 146 parishes and almost half of the population. The move was seen as a very public slap in the face for the Archbishop, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, who was an adherent of Liberation Theology and had been a prominent opposition figure during the years of the military dictatorship, from 1970, when he was appointed archbishop, until Brazil gradually returned to democratic rule in the mid-eighties.


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