Roman Catholic Diocese of Gibraltar
|Diocese of Gibraltar
|Established||25 January 1816|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned|
|Patron saint||Bernard of Clairvaux
Our Lady of Europe
|Bishop||Bishop of Gibraltar|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gibraltar is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The Latin name for the diocese is Dioecesis Gibraltariensis. About twenty priests and nine sisters serve in the diocese. The incumbent Bishop of the Diocese is Ralph Heskett who succeeded Charles Caruana on 10 July 2010.
The Diocese of Gibraltar comprises five parishes. In 2006 there were 15 priests, and 15 members of religious orders (10 female and 5 male). The Diocese covers the entire 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) of Gibraltar.
After the definite Christian conquest of 1468, Gibraltar formed part of the diocese of Cádiz and Algeciras. It remained as such after the Habsburg conquest in 1704 (since the terms of the surrender explicitly allowed Roman Catholic worship), although the remaining Catholic population in Gibraltar was quite small. The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht did not change the status of the Catholic faith in the territory. Juan Romero de Figueroa, the Spanish priest in charge of the Parish Church of St. Mary the Crowned (who remained in the town when most of the population left the city in 1704), was the first Vicar General of the town, as appointed by the Bishop of Cádiz. However, as time passed, the British authorities prevented the Bishop of Cádiz from choosing the priests for the town, directly electing them, although the Bishop approved the appointments later. The Bishop was also prevented from making his ad limina visit to the town. Bishop Lorenzo Armegual de la Mota was the last Bishop of Cádiz to make his ad limina visit, in 1720.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Gibraltar was eventually erected in 1816, thus transferring the relationship from Cádiz to Rome. John Baptist Nosardy Zino was the first Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar, appointed on 25 January 1816. Father Nosardy remained as Vicar until 1839, when he resigned. Since then the vicar was always a titular bishop.
- Matthew Bunson (2008). Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac 2009. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-59276-441-9.
- Detailed history
- La situación precaria de la Iglesia en Gibraltar 1704-1806 (in Spanish)
- Vicariate Apostolic of Gibraltar in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
- History of the diocese