Death of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Death of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Marcel Lefebvre
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Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre dies in Martigny, Switzerland. Marcel Lefebvre had broken with Rome following the Second Vatican Council and in 1970 he founded the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). In 1988 he consecrated four bishops, something explicitly forbidden by Pope John Paul II. He and the four were immediately excommunicated.

Over the years, Marcel Lefebvre has consecrated hundreds of priests who agree with his traditionalist views, creating the first schism in the Roman Catholic Church since 1870. Key to understanding why Lefebvre adopted such an extreme position is his background in his native France.

He was part of a cultural, political, and religious tradition of far-right conservatism that goes right back to the French Revolution. The tradition of far-right Catholicism which he was part of developed against a French secularism that is far more aggressive and overt than has ever existed in any other western democracies.

Marcel Lefebvre even felt it necessary to condemn the French Revolution and the overthrow of the French monarchy. But his fondness for authoritarian government was not limited to the distant past. He expressed support for many other authoritarian governments and leaders: Francisco Franco's fascist Spain, Catholic and authoritarian Vichy France, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Antonio Salazar of Portugal, and France's Jean-Marie le Pen.

Lefebvre's authoritarian preferences extended to the Catholic church as well. He supported complete papal supremacism over collegiality, Catholic exclusivism over ecumenicism, and bare religious tolerance over broad religious equality and liberty.

Video

Interviews with SSPX Founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

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