Papal Decree of the Erection of the Diocese of San Antonio

Placed by the inscrutable designs of Divine Providence, through no merit of Our own, in the lofty chair of Blessed Peter as in a watch-tower, We turn Our attention more eagerly to those parts of the Catholic world that are separated from this center of Our Holy Religion by wide expanses of land and sea and we hasten with the Lord’s help to lend such assistance as We find will contribute in prosperity and happiness to the spiritual guidance and eternal salvation of the faithful.

Since then, Venerable Brethren, the Archbishop and Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of New Orleans in the United States of America gathered in Third Provincial Synod referred to Us a matter which intimately concerns the faithful who live in the State or Territory called Texas, if we might divide the already very extensive diocese of Galveston and erect a new Episcopal See, placing it under a Bishop whose episcopal residence would be in the city of San Antonio, We, to whom the power has first been given, consulted Our Venerable Brethern, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church who have care of matters pertaining to the Propagation of the Faith. All the opinions expressed by these Prelates have been given careful consideration and we have deeded to erect the proposed new diocese.

Under these circumstances, after consulting these same Venerable Brethren, by virtue of these presents We, by Our Apostolic Authority, separate from the afore-mentioned Diocese of Galveston that part of the State or Territory of Texas which lies between the Colorado River on the East and the Nueces River on the West.

We order and declare publicly that of this part of the State or Territory of Texas, so described, shall consist the new diocese which shall receive its name from St. Anthony and whose Episcopal See shall be in the city known as San Antonio, where there is a church which may be taken as a cathedral. Finally, let this diocese be a Suffragan of the Archbishop of New Orleans. However, to Us and this Holy Apostolic See is reserved the right of changing the boundaries of this new diocese and of severing it and dividing it if it shall seem well pleasing in the Lord.

We decree that these Our Letters are and shall be steadfastly valid and efficacious, that they meet with perfect execution, that they receive in all things and in every way from those concerned and for whatever time it concerns them, their strongest support. And thus, in the aforesaid matters must all judges, whether of ordinary or of delegated jurisdiction, even the Auditors of our Apostolic Palace, judge and decide. And should anything be attempted contrary to them by anyone by any authority whatsoever, knowingly, or unknowingly, it shall be null and void.

And this, in so far as it is necessary, notwithstanding Our own rule and that of the Apostolic Chancery of not depriving of right already acquired and that of Our memorable Predecessor, Benedict XIV, concerning the division of material things, and all other Constitutions and Ordinances, even those worthy of special and individual mention, to the contrary.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the seal of the Fisherman, on the 27th day of August in the year 1874, the 29th of Our Pontificate.
By special mandate of His Holiness
F. Cardinal Asquinius.
Gildo Brugnola

This is a copy of the original which is on file in the office of the Secretary of State for Apostolic Briefs.
Given from the Vatican, 15th June, 1949.
(signed) Pius Pagliucchi, Prefect.