Catholic bishops pose for a group photo after a Mass at the Cathedral Parish of Saint John the Baptist in Kalibo, Aklan on Sunday, July 9, 2023. FILE PHOTO

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has approved the recommendation to create new dioceses from the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Diocese of Butuan.

The Roman Catholic bishops, gathered for their 126th plenary assembly in Kalibo, Aklan over the weekend, voted in favor of the proposal of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to create the proposed dioceses of Danao in northern Cebu and Carcar in southern Cebu province.

In an interview with CBCP News, Palma said the proposal for the new dioceses in Cebu province may be submitted to Rome in January next year.  

Cebu archdiocese is the biggest diocese in the country in terms of total number of adherents currently numbering 5.2 million.

Palma is assisted in shepherding the archdiocese with auxiliary Bishops Midyphil Billones and Ruben Labajo and retired auxiliary Bishops Emilio Bataclan and Antonio Rañola along with 600 priests.

Meanwhile, the CBCP also approved the proposal to create another diocese from the Diocese of Butuan which presently covers the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

The proposed Diocese of Prosperidad will cover Agusan del Sur while the Diocese of Butuan will comprise Agusan del Norte.

CBCP president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement that the bishops “voted in favor of the proposal of the Bishop of Butuan Bishop Cosme Almedilla” to establish a new diocese in Prosperidad.

He also said that the new dioceses in Cebu “aim to enhance the pastoral and spiritual care of the faithful residing in the north and south of Cebu while keeping [the] Central Cebu as the seat of the archbishop and head of the Metropolitan Province of Cebu”.

David was reelected CBCP president to serve another two-year term during the gathering of the

Under canon law, a diocese is “(Can. 369) a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop for him to shepherd with the cooperation of the presbyterium” and “(Can. 372) is limited to a definite territory so that it includes all the faithful living in the territory.”

Under Canon 375, the Pope, who is the supreme authority in the church, has the sole authority to erect dioceses. Church law also provides that prior consultations with interested parties and a recommendation of the national bishops’ conference are submitted to Rome for the Pope’s approval. Once the proposal is approved, the diocese is created, and the pope names the bishop who will lead the diocese. – Rommel F. Lopez