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Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

ARMS: Or, a lion rampant sable, armed and langued Gules impaling Or, a cross Gules, a five pointed star Argent, between four pierced fraises Azure.

SOURCE/NOTES & CREDITS: Arms: From a wall hanging circa. 2001 hung in the conference room of Christ the King Church, a Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) Chapel, in Ridgefield, CT, USA. The blazon was reworked by J.H. Gaylor. Text adapted by D. Q. Wedvick from the article “Heraldry, A legacy of St. Pius X, the Society of St Pius X ( SSPX), its History and Heraldry”, Part 3, by D.Q. Wedvick, “The Angelus”, September 2008.

Marcel-François Lefebvre was born on 29 November 1905 in Tourcoing, France, the second son and third child of René Lefebvre (who died in the nazi concentration camp of Sonnenburg in 1944) and Gabrielle Wattin ( died 1938 ). Lefebvre was ordained a priest on 21 September 1929 by Bishop Achille Liénart ( soon to be a Cardinal ) in Lille, France. Lefebvre continued his studies in Rome gaining his doctorate of theology in July 1930. In 1931 He was released from his diocese to join the Holy Ghost Fathers and proceeded to missionary activity in Gabon Africa, until 1945.

On 12 June 1947 Pope Pius XII appointed him Apostolic Vicar of Dakar in Senegal and made him a titular Bishop. Lefebvre was consecrated a bishop on 18 September 1947 in his family parish church in Tourcoing by Cardinal Liénart. In 1948 the Pope appointed him Apostolic Delegate to French Africa. Lefebvre's chief duty was to build up the ecclesiastical infrastructure in French Africa. Pope Pius XII wanted to move quickly towards a proper hierarchy (dioceses with bishops, instead of vicariates and apostolic prefectures). Lefebvre was responsible for selecting these new bishops including the first indigenous bishops in French Africa. On 14 September 1955 Lefebvre was promoted to be the first Archbishop of Dakar. In June 1959 he was appointed to the Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council. In January 1962 he was transferred to the new diocese of Tulle in France, retaining his personal title of archbishop. On 26 July 1962 the Chapter General of the Holy Ghost Fathers elected Lefebvre Superior General. Archbishop Lefebvre was widely respected for his experience in the mission field and his ability to deal with the Roman Curia.

The Archbishop took the lead in opposing the reforms within the Catholic Church associated with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). In particular, he condemned ecumenism, the principle of religious liberty, collegiality and the revision of the then traditional Latin Rite of Mass.

When Vatican II was over the Catholic Church proceeded to loose the traditional teachings of the church in favour of a modern “renewal” to bring the church in line with present day Protestant, Jewish and secular thinking. The “renewal” was planned, deliberately and carefully spooned out over forty years ( two generations ) from the top down, through the hierarchy to and thru the priests to the laity; and from the bottom up by putting the laity on parish councils to oversee that the priests did what the bishops and they directed. Few Catholics alive today can, or want to, remember what the Church was like before 1962.The change is remarkable in its similarity to the English Reformation completed under Elizabeth I. There were few voices in the wilderness. However these few banded together and stuck with the teachings of St. Pius X under the leadership of one Catholic Archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre.

In 1970, he founded the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, (SSPX), an organisation which continues in existence to this day to propagate the historical traditions of the Catholic Church through the proper formation of priests and to send them to the ends of the earth to do their missionary work to teach faith and morals and to deliver the sacrements to the laity.

To perpetuate the Society’s activity, on 30 June 1988, he consecrated four bishops for the SSPX with Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer of Campos, Brazil as co-consecrator. The four new bishops were Bishop Bernard Fellay, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais and Bishop Richard Williamson. The results are the SSPX has today in addition to the bishops, 450 priests and over 100 brothers and nuns, six seminaries and 600 chapels to serve souls in 55 countries. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre died on 25 March 1991. dqw 20100526

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

Wedvick Armorial, 010b, Lefebvre, 20080302
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