Rorate Caeli

A man worthy of remembrance

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17 years ago, Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre died in Martigny, Switzerland, on March 25, 1991. Regardless of one's opinion of some events of his life, or of some of his decisions, or of some of his stronger words, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that without him the struggle for the preservation of much of what we cherish would probably have been lost. The fact that 17 years after his death "the question of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" is still discussed in the highest halls of the Church, that his name is still mentioned among the words included in some of the gravest decisions of the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Letter to Bishops regarding the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum), and that the universal Church experiences in our age the great impact of the publication and implementation, not without hurdles, of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum show that the global movement for the advancement of the Traditional Roman Rite is inseparably linked to the life of this passionate man, whose name still causes passionate discussions.
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31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Requiescat in Pace!

Anonymous said...

SOMEDAY THEY WILL CALL HIM BLESSED.

Matthew said...

If Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre had not taken a stand and did what he did, I doubt that Summorum Pontificum would have come into existence. Someone had to say and do something to get the attention of the Vatican2 madmen who took over the entire Church and ushered in a period of barbarism, heresy, and vulgarity.
Here is what I have to say about Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre: Santo subito.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

New Catholic,

Thank you for this post.

I firmly believe that one day, when this crisis of Faith is over, Archbishop Lefebvre will be canonized.

God bless his soul.

Anonymous said...

A true contemporary Athanasius. A truly holy man who I believe is already enjoying the love of Jesus Christ in heaven. His name will live for eternity in one's of salvation history's most important pages. I pray that the SSPX will remain loyal to his teachings, for ever.

humboldt said...

A true contemporary Athanasius. A truly holy man who I believe is already enjoying the love of Jesus Christ in heaven. His name will live for eternity in one's of salvation history's most important pages. I pray that the SSPX will remain loyal to his teachings, for ever.

Anonymous said...

New Catholic:

Thank you for your gracious, fair words for this man. May he rest in peace, and God bless you.

Scott said...

I am as fond of the memory of Archbishop Lefebvre as all of your accolades but hadn't he separated himself from Christ's Mystical Body by virtue of his excommunication? If he separated himself from the body how could he have achieved his heavenly reward?

Anonymous said...

Scott, according to the letter by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of for the Interpretation of Legal Texts dated March 13, 2006, approved by Benedict XVI, states that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by any act of defection or excomunication. Lefebvre is in heaven.

Woody Jones said...

Dear Scott,

Anon has it right, excommunication does not separate one from the Church nowadays (I found this in the notes to the Code of Canon Law Annotated, from Navarra), it does of course remove one from the right to the sacraments, but even then, not at the moment of death. In any case the Archbishop was relying on grounds he understood to be good (based on canonists advice, I hear) for believing that for him the excommunication was null.

That whole thing is not worth going into in detail, but all I will say is that if I can (and I do) believe that my deceased son who died an Evangelical, never having followed his old man all the way to the Faith, is in Heaven, I can and also do believe that the Archbishop is there, too.

I trust and hope that in the universal charity of Heaven, the Servant of God Marcel is praying for us all, both the friends who speak well of him, and, as St Josemaria used to say, also the friends who do not speak so well of him.

All the best.

LeonG said...

Deo Gratias, New Catholic, for this post, and for the long fruitful life of one of its most stout-hearted sons.

Archbishop Lefebvre defended & propagated orthodox Roman Catholicism first and foremost. Further, he had an unquestionably outstanding career in the church, especially in Africa and his bequest is eternal. He did not invent Lefebvrism which is a word created mischievously by his enemies to mislead those who would otherwise have returned to their authentic Catholic Faith. Instead, he stood for Eternal Rome of the true Faith. He was a beacon on a hill that gave light to many Catholics who had become lost or weary in the never ending liberalist-modernist labyrinthine quest for novelty and un-Catholic values.

I have known many Catholics who found a safe haven in the sane Catholic refuge of the SSPX fraternity. At a personal level, I shall always be immensely grateful to the SSPX although I am not a member of one of its congregations being in a place lost to the Catholic Faith for the present.

To anyone who is prejudiced against this venerable man, please read the whole story and not only the hyperbolic sound bytes of hatred against him. Many of these emanate blindly from France which is a country that has all but apostasised its Roman Catholicism. Many of these unfortunate people still claim contrary to all the official statements made that SSPX is in schism and holds invalid Masses.

Thus, Archbishop Lefebvre has had every right as a Roman Catholic archbishop to sound the tocsin for the Faith in danger and to put in place the necessary infrastructure from which traditional Catholicism could defend Christ's Kingship and His honour on Earth which has been so sorely insulted of late by christendom rapidly dechristianised since the 1960s.

It is known in some circles that he is admired in Rome and that many of his admonitions about the eventual loss of the Catholic Faith in The Church itself have now come home to roost, as it were. With Professor Amerio's work unfettered & with the celebration of The Holy Mass in Latin now effectively "decriminalised", there is some real hope today that we can begin to hear again those encouraging words of Pope St Pius X to restore all things in Christ.

Anonymous said...

I think he was a brave man who suffered much to keep the Faith. Lt us be honest and admit there is a special little club mentality amongst the bishops and clergy. He as an archbishop, new well how the dynamic works.
Many bishops just go along with the status quo as established after the little revolution we have had because it is easy. No one likes to have a difficult life!
Archbishop Lefebvre was different. So let us let us take a longer view of things.

Timmy said...

Far from helping the Latin Mass, Lefebvre and others stigmatized and stifled it. They made the Traditional Latin Mass the banner of their weird parallel church. As a result, it became not associated with holiness, beauty and orthodoxy, but came to be seen solely as the domain of disobedients, grumbling malcontents, sedevacantists, antipopes and other fruitcakes. Therefore far from contributing to its worldwide resurgence Lefebvre and others stifled its return. Church authorities did not want to go near it, it became an ecclesiastical hot potato.

Paul Haley said...

Timmy's post is uncalled for. Whatever you think of Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX we can thank them for keeping the traditional catholic faith alive through the post Vatican II desert. I hope with all my heart that they will one day be vindicated.

Anonymous said...

"Far from helping the Latin Mass..." What Latin Mass? Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and we were looking at a dead Rite then. The Rite was no more! It had ceased to be! If Archbishop Lefebvre hadn't nailed it to the perch it'd be pushing up the daisies, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! This was an ex-Rite!!!

Even if Paul VI hadn't abolished it (as Pope Benedict had to inform us because nobody else bothered to mention it), it would have fallen into disuetude, which is canonical abolition by passage of time.

Archbishop Lefebvre was wrong in law to ordain Priests and Bishops without proper authority but he was the instrument of the Holy Ghost to preserve what was otherwise a dead parrot of a Rite!

Long-Skirts said...

RIGHTEOUS
THUNDER

Five times banished,
Exiled seventeen,
Excommunicated champions,
God puts at each scene.

Saint Athanasius,
Feast day of worth
On the second of May
The month of great mirth.

Out in the deserts –
As history has charted –
You preserved the true Mass,
Great lion-hearted.

Now Lefebvre,
And the sixties egalitarians,
Like Athanasius,
His time his Arians.

For He who abolished
Death by death
Sent him to absolve
Sin width and breadth.

And yes, the same moon,
The same sun we're all under…
We venal rain - but Lefebvre
Righteous thunder!!

Anonymous said...

I never understood why, out of the thousands of bishops in the world, it seems that none of them exept for Archbishop Lefebvre had the courage and conviction to stand up for the church when it was so badly damaged by the misinterpretations follwoing the coucil. He paid the ultimate price, and suffered a spiritual martyrdom. I don't understand how so many other bishops could look the other way. We must all be thankful for his persistance and remain vigilant--there is still a long way to go.

Matthew said...

Long-Skirts: Insightful, excellent, right on!
St. Athanasius was exiled FROM THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH NO LESS THAN 5 TIMES.
Now he is the Father of Orthodoxy.
The Novus Bogus appeals to liberal snobs all of whom know much better than anyone else.

Anonymous said...

He founded the Church of the SSPX.

Ave Maria! said...

It may be that in times to come that the Archbishop will be exonerated. We may not live to see it. It may be that his efforts have saved for us our heritage and our TRUE Mass (even though I never get to attend one here in novusordoland).

But my question is this: If he was excommunicated and also the bishops he consecrated, how can they confer valid ordinations? If they are not under the authority of Rome, where does their 'authority' come from?

semperidem said...

May His Excellency be raised one day soon to the glory of the altars...

Jordan Potter said...

the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by any act of defection or excomunication.

Um, yes, the baptismal character is never lost -- not even the souls in hell can lose that character. And yet the souls in hell are not in heaven, nor do they belong to the Body of Christ. To claim otherwise is universalism.

Lefebvre is in heaven.

Hopefully, prayerfully.

If he was excommunicated and also the bishops he consecrated, how can they confer valid ordinations?

He was a validly-consecrated bishop, which means he had the sacramental character and grace to validly consecrate other bishops. Excommunication cannot remove the indelible character of a sacrament, but it can and does remove a bishop's ability to licitly (lawfully) consecrate. This is why the Eastern schismatics can have valid orders and a valid Eucharist despite their alienation from the Catholic Church. (Also, Archbishop Lefebvre was not excommunicated when he illicitly consecrated the four bishops -- rather, he was excommunicated because of the illicit consecration.)

If they are not under the authority of Rome, where does their 'authority' come from?

They have no authority, but they still have the grace and character of their baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and conscrations. Thus, they have the charisms proper to Holy Orders and to the Catholic episcopate, even though they are not "Catholic" bishops -- they are truly bishops, but won't be Catholic until they are reconciled with the Church, and they do not at this time have the right to exercise the authority proper to them as bishops.

Anonymous said...

The father of lies is the inspiration behind declaring that Archbishop Lefebvre founded a church. After all, the Apb.brought saving graces to countless people. Old cloved hoof has to discredit him if he can, but he can't. When the Holy Father received Bishop Fellay and acted upon his request to free the Tridentine Mass, the Lefebvre haters couldn't read the writing on the wall. The evil one doesn't quit that easily but in this matter at least he is in retreat.

May Archbishop Lefebvre enjoy the
company of his excommunicated brothers in faith, Bishops Athanasius and Antonio DeCastro Mayer.

Anonymous said...

May God Bless the holy soul of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Had he not stood up for what was right....and against what was serious heresy and blasphemy...can you imagine where the Church would be! He had the courage to defend the Catholic Truth and Catholic tradition.
Before too long, the wrongful "excommunnications" leveled against him and his bishops and the SSPX will be lifted. It will cause a storm of protest bigger than "Summorum Pontificum" did, but it will be the right thing to do. Pope Benedict XVI will do it in a very short while.
Those who protest will have familiar names and faces....and be all the old guard liberals who stood on the sidelines while the Church was ruined. Some of them actually assisted in the destruction. Fortunatly, these are all very aged members of the Vatican Curia, Cardinals, and Bishops who will be out of the picture soon. The religious Orders who protest will be the usuall dead groups (the Jesuits, Franciscans, Salesians, etc.) and hundreds of liberal Orders of aged femminist nuns. They all represent a dead Church.
Archbishop Lefebvre represents the Church reborn and returning. Everyone knows that...even the Pope.
The liberals know that too, otherwise they would not have protested "Summorum Pontificum" so loudly.
Wait for the storm to break soon.
But the good and faithful Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre will pray for the Pope and the True Church from Heaven.
He will one day be a Saint. Before JP II.

Anonymous said...

Father Henri LeFloch and his influence on the
young seminarian Marcel Lefebvre is an vital factor in the forming
of the Archbishop.
Led by the Providence of God, the young Marcel
Lefebvre was placed in the hands of Fr Henri LeFloch,
the distinguished Rector of the French Seminary in Rome

Angelo
(founded by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers in
1854) where Marcel pursued his theological studies and received
a solid formation for the priesthood. It was from Fr LeFloch that
the young seminarian learned the principle “sentire cum Ecclesia” --
think with the Church – a principle that guided Marcel
throughout his priestly and episcopal life. It is thanks to
Fr LeFloch that Marcel recognized the modern errors that
were taking root in the Church and that the antidote to these
modern errors was the teaching of Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors
and the encyclicals of his four successors. Read in the refectory, the
writings of Godefroid Kurth & Fr Deschamps also influenced the
young Marcel to recognize the necessity of the social order
to organized itself around the Social Kingship of Christ.
The truth about Christ the King & Priest was the sacred
deposit that Marcel Lefebvre was determined to pass on in his turn.

Jordan Potter said...

He will one day be a Saint. Before JP II.

He may eventually be canonised, but it's not foreseable in our lifetimes. John Paul II's cause is actually being sponsored and promoted, but no cause has been opened for Msgr. Lefebvre. It's also hard to see the Church declaring its excommunication of Msgr. Lefebvre to be invalid or null, though the excommunications of the SSPX bishops would be lifted as soon as they are reconciled and the SSPX is regularised -- which could happen during this pontificate, though again it seems more likely it will be a while longer before it happens, and Pope Benedict is not a young man. The longer it takes to achieve a reconciliation, the less likely it could become.

Anonymous said...

But at the bottom of it all is the glaringly obvious - everything he warned about was correct and has come to pass. Therefore justice is on his side, and that will eventually win out in his favor.

humboldt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LeonG said...

The one thing Archbishop Lefebvre would not wish for on his behalf is another rushed, poorly researched and botched beatification under the regime which persecuted him.

Where earthly sanctity is concerned JP II (RIP) had some 141 canons removed from the Code of Canon Law of 1917 concerning beatifications and canonisations. It is also known now that he exploited these processes with his usual relativist phenomenological impulsiveness as a type of personal gift on his numberless foreign trips and pushed through numerous causes without proper regard for due process. In some respects his successor is going to overtake him in this regard as we have already about 575 beatifications and canonisations in less than three years. What was JP II's record - 1840 in 27?

There could be no better way to devalue sainthood than this - mass production of beatification and canonisation. Nothing has been left unchanged or unaltered in NO church as the quest for novelty continues.

Any cause for canonisation or beatification today in the post 1980s canon law code environment has to be suspected of serious flaws. The decrees, for example, of Pope Urban VIII have been taken away. Witness Mr Theresa on her knees before the statue of Buddha or in a Jain temple or mosque or read her obviously religiously syncretist works and read extensively about the so-called "miracle", scientifically deniable by the appropriate medical treatment already administered to the alleged cured. These facts have to be accounted for among others that achieved her rushed beatification.

There are plenty more like that one. It is time to admit the facts. Effectively, this is what Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, was alluding to was it not, without naming names.

Even JP II 's cause for sainthood is seriously contentious on many grounds. There is superabundant evidence available but ignored that throws into doubt that while he must have had some virtues, like all of us, he certainly was not a saint in Roman Catholic terms. To be noted too that it was he, as his predecessor Paul VII's (RIP) greatest admirer, who most strongly of all advocated the canonisation of this pope as soon as possible. This has also run into immense difficulties for several reasons including his alleged homosexuality.

No, no, Archbishop Lefebvre was greater than all these because he displayed heroic Catholic virtue in defending The Faith against modernism with its infernal offspring of liturgical devastation and doctrinal obfuscation. The objective and undeniable evidence is laid out before the catholic world for us all to behold. No one would dare deny now that there is a gargantuan crisis as one former Catholic country after another is annihilated as Our Blessed Mother has already admonished, in the face of systematic disobedience to the magisterial teachings of The Church, even by the hierarchy themselves. There is no 'springtime", period. This is a postmodernist illusion, a sound byte concealing a tragic reality of destruction in The Lord's vineyard.

Such warnings were the ones taken up by several orthodox clergy and lay before, during and after the sixties, at immense personal cost. This is why Archbishop Lefebvre can be counted as a true shepherd of the flock of The Christ. Once he understood what was happening, he defended Our Blessed Lord's honour and His Kingship without regard for himself. He refused to compromise The Christ with wishy-washy liberalist-modernist syncretic falsehoods.

Jordan Potter said...

Leong said: Where earthly sanctity is concerned JP II (RIP) had some 141 canons removed from the Code of Canon Law of 1917 concerning beatifications and canonisations.

It is well known that John Paul II greatly "streamlined" canonisation, since approval of saints' cults had become very difficult and rare, creating a massive backlog of causes.

It is also known now that he exploited these processes with his usual relativist phenomenological impulsiveness as a type of personal gift on his numberless foreign trips and pushed through numerous causes without proper regard for due process.

I'm not sure that it is "known" so much as "asserted." Anyway, once St. Peter speaks the canonisation decree, it is irrevocable.

Any cause for canonisation or beatification today in the post 1980s canon law code environment has to be suspected of serious flaws.

Not as long as the Holy Father speaks the ex cathedra words raising the blessed to the altar.

The decrees, for example, of Pope Urban VIII have been taken away.

Prior to 1978, most saints in the calendar were not canonised according to Urban VIII's decrees -- indeed, their cults developed and were approved before there was a formal canonisation process.

Witness Mr Theresa on her knees before the statue of Buddha or in a Jain temple or mosque or read her obviously religiously syncretist works and read extensively about the so-called "miracle", scientifically deniable by the appropriate medical treatment already administered to the alleged cured.

I've heard the child's non-Catholic father denies there is anything miraculous about his cure, as does the physician. Anyway, if the things you say about her have validity, then it's highly doubtful Mother Teresa will ever be beatified, let alone canonised. Oh wait, she's already been beatified. Hmm, does the Church ever "unbeatify" people?

There is superabundant evidence available but ignored that throws into doubt that while [John Paul II] must have had some virtues, like all of us, he certainly was not a saint in Roman Catholic terms.

I think I'll leave it to God and the Church to judge whether or not he was a saint.

To be noted too that it was he, as his predecessor Paul VII's (sic) (RIP) greatest admirer, who most strongly of all advocated the canonisation of this pope as soon as possible. This has also run into immense difficulties for several reasons including his alleged homosexuality.

So because John Paul II admired Paul VI and strongly advocated his speedy canonisation, and because some people hurl the grievous accusation that Paul VI was a sodomite, that means John Paul II was not a saint and should not be canonised?

No, no, Archbishop Lefebvre was greater than all these because he displayed heroic Catholic virtue

He does seem to have displayed heroic virtue in many respects. Would that he also had displayed heroism in his commitment to maintaining unity with the Holy See.

LeonG said...

Thank you for your opinions on this very grave matter Jordan.

However, the comments made by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, as elsewhere, suggest that they do not alter the realities thus being demonstrated. As with most matters in the NO church today there are very serious anomalies that need to be addressed as also with the sanctification process.

"Streamlining" to which you refer and lack of sound judgement by Pope John Paul II (RIP) about the very pope he greatly admired and attempted to push through as sanctified (as indeed in other cases)illustrate a procedure no longer being properly administered. The statistics alone suggest a certain level of inappropriacy.

The decision to desanctify or not is fortunately not ours to make.