Diocese in Southeast Asia
Malacca, Diocese of (MALACENSIS), comprises the southern portions of the Malay Peninsula, otherwise known as the Straits Settlements. It includes Singapore Island, the Malacca territory proper, Province Wellesley and Penang Island, the Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan, and Trengganu districts—an area of about 400 miles north to south, and 200 east to west. Although outside India proper, the See of Malacca is suffragan to Pondicherry. The Catholic population is reckoned at about 28,000 out of a total of about 1,800,000. Both bishop and clergy, as in all the other dioceses of the Pondicherry province, belong to the Paris Society of Foreign Missions. The priests number forty-two, having charge of fifty-seven churches and chapels. Besides these there are five religious communities for men (Brothers of the Christian Schools), and seven for women (Dames de St-Maur.) The cathedral is at Singapore (Cathedral of the Good Shepherd). There is a college for the education of native clergy at Penang. The mission possesses 49 schools, in which 6660 children are educated.
HISTORY.—Malacca was erected by Paul IV into a diocese under the Portuguese Patronage in 1557, and so continued till 1838, when, by the Brief "Multa Praeclare" jurisdiction was withdrawn from the see and transferred to the Vicariate Apostolic of Ava and Pegu (Burma). But the clergy of this vicariate being insufficient to cope with the work, the whole Malay Peninsula was in 1840 placed under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Siam, with a view to its erection into a separate vicariate. This was effected by the Brief "Universi Dominici Gregis" of September 10, 1841. First called Western Siam, and then the Vicariate Apostolic of the Malay Peninsula, it was on August 10, 1888, elevated into a diocese, the old See of Malacca being revived by Leo XIII, and by a subsequent decree made suffragan to Pondicherry. Rt. Rev. Edouard Gasnier, who had been vicar Apostolic from 1878, was appointed the first bishop. He was succeeded in 1896 by Rt. Rev. Rene Fee (1896-1904). The present bishop is Rt. Rev. Emil Barrilon.
ERNEST R. HULL