1641  — 1735

João de Casal

Bishop of Macau who organized the Macau Church on a solid basis.

Born in Alentejo, Portugal. Having received a doctorate in theology from the University of Evora, Portugal, de Casal was appointed bishop of Macau in 1690. He left Portugal soon after the Episcopal consecration in Lisbon and arrived in Macau in 1692 with eight priests. He took advantage of the stable political situation to organize the diocese and established the canonical chapter in 1698. He favored order and cooperation in pastoral work. In 1700 there were 20,500 Catholics in Macau, 18,500 of whom were Chinese.

De Casal became famous in the Rites Controversy because of his zeal in defending his Episcopal authority against the accusations of the apostolic delegate Mgr. C. T. Maillard de Tournon (1668-1710), who was expelled from China and arrived in Macau in 1705. He curtailed the influence of Mgr. Tournon by expelling the Augustinians who supported him. But after Tournon’s death they were allowed to return in 1721. De Casal welcomed Tournon’s successor, Mgr. C. A. Mezzabarba, both on his way to and from China in 1720-21.

De Casal gave hospitality to many priests and bishops who were sent out of China during the persecutions under the emperors, especially Yongzheng. De Casal was interim governor of Macau from 15 Jan to 24 Aug 1735. Having served as bishop for 45 years, he was buried in the Holy Sacrament Chapel of the cathedral.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Texeira, M., Macau e sua Diocese, Vol. II (1940).

About the Author

Sergio Ticozzi

Spiritual Director, P.I.M.E. International Theological Seminary, Cavite, Philippines