Pope Francis Transfers Bishop of Senegal’s Ziguinchor Diocese to Tambacounda Diocese

Bishop Paul Abel Mamba Diatta, transferred from Senegal’s Ziguinchor Diocese to the Episcopal See of Tambacounda. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has transferred the Bishop who has been serving as Local Ordinary of Senegal’s Ziguinchor Diocese to the Episcopal See of Tambacounda.

The Papal transfer of Bishop Paul Abel Mamba Diatta was made public Thursday, November 4 and published by the Holy See Press Office.

The Diocese of Tambacounda has been under the leadership of Bishop Jean-Pierre Bassène as Apostolic Administrator since his appointment in August 2017. The Local Ordinary of Senegal’s Kolda Diocese became the caretaker of Tambacounda Diocese following the resignation of Bishop Jean-Noël Diouf over poor health. He was aged 70. 

Bishop Diatta who will turn 61 next month has been at the helm of Ziguinchor Diocese since 2010 as Apostolic Administrator and later as Bishop following his Episcopal Ordinary April 2012.

He was ordained a Priest in 1988. Following his ordination, he ministered at St Louise Junior Seminary until 1991. He was then transferred to the Junior Seminary in Tambacounda Diocese.


He joined the Catholic Institute of Yaoundé in Cameroon while on sabbatical to further his studies and later returned to Tambacounda in 1995 where he served until 2006.

Bishop Diatta also served as the vicar of the Martyrs of Uganda Parish in Colobane, Senegal.

Pope Francis’ transfer of Bishop Diatta from Ziguinchor diocese to Tambacounda continues the Catholic tradition in which the Holy Father appoints Prelates to other Ecclesial territories in form of transfers.

In the history of the Church, the 325 First Council of Nicaea (the birthtime of the Nicene Creed) and the 451 Council of Chalcedon (a meeting that clarified and defined the relationship between Jesus Christ’s divinity and humanity) decreed as illegal Papal transfers of Bishops from one Ecclesiastical jurisdiction to another.

According to Canon 15 of Nicaea, “On account of the great disturbance and the factions which are caused, it is decreed that the custom, if it is found to exist in some parts contrary to the canon, shall be totally suppressed, so that neither bishops nor presbyters [priests] nor deacons shall transfer from city to city.”

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The Canon continues, “If after this decision of this holy and great synod anyone shall attempt such a thing, or shall lend himself to such a proceeding, the arrangement shall be totally annulled, and he shall be restored to the church of which he was ordained bishop or presbyter or deacon."

Some 126 years after the Council of Nicaea, the Council of Chalcedon reconfirmed Nicaea’s teaching in its Canon 6, decreeing, “In the matter of bishops or clerics who move from city to city, it has been decided that the canons issued by the holy fathers concerning them should retain their proper force.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.