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Marcel LEFEBVRE

French Marcel LEFEBVRE

French Roman Catholic archbishop

Source :  Guy WATINE

Born: on November 29, 1905 in Tourcoing, France
Died: on March 25, 1991 in Martigny, Switzerland


Biography

Marcel Lefebvre was born in Tourcoing, Nord, the second son and third child of factory-owner René Lefebvre, who died in 1944 in the Nazi concentration camp at Sonnenburg (in East Brandenburg, Germany), where he had been imprisoned by the Gestapo because of his work for the French Resistance and British Intelligence. Marcel's mother and René sr.'s wife was Gabrielle Wattin, who died in 1938.

His parents were devout Catholics who brought their children to daily Mass. His father was an outspoken monarchist who ran a spy-ring for British Intelligence when Tourcoing was occupied by the Germans during World War I.

In 1923 Lefebvre began studies for the priesthood; at the insistence of his father he went to the French Seminary in Rome. He would later credit his conservative views to the rector, a Breton priest named Father Henri Le Floch. His studies were interrupted in 1926 and 1927 when he did his military service. On 25 May 1929 he was ordained deacon by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.:77 On 21 September 1929 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop (soon to be Cardinal) Achille Liénart in Lille, the diocese in which he was incardinated. It has been reported in Issue No. 51 of Chiesa Viva, March 1976, that Lienart was a high ranking Freemason at the time of ordination. After ordination, he continued his studies in Rome, completing a doctorate in theology in July 1930.

In August 1930 Cardinal Liénart assigned Lefebvre to be assistant curate in a parish in Lomme, a suburb of Lille. Even before this, Lefebvre had already asked to be released for missionary duties as a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers. But the cardinal insisted that he consider this for a year while he engaged in parish work in the diocese of Lille.:83 In July 1931 Liénart released Lefebvre from the diocese. In September Lefebvre entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Orly. A year later on 8 September 1932 he took simple vows for a period of three years.

Lefebvre's first assignment as a Holy Ghost Father was as a professor at St. John's Seminary in Libreville, Gabon. In 1934 he was made rector of the seminary. On 28 September 1935 he made his perpetual vows. He served as superior of a number of missions of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Gabon. In October 1945 Lefebvre was ordered by the superior general to return to France and take up new duties as rector of the Holy Ghost Fathers seminary in Mortain.

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See Also :

- Category Bishop, cardinal