A blessed feast of the Annunciation to all.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre died on this day in 1991. The Annunciation represents a glorious beginning, a new season of hope. It seems that Heaven wanted to emphasize a new season of hope in the death of this “great man of the universal Church”. Because of his work, all was not lost, the devastation was not complete, and there is hope for future generations. We who, 23 years later, enjoy the privilege of assisting at the ancient Latin liturgy owe Archbishop Lefebvre a tremendous debt of gratitude.
He could have chosen another path. Obedience would have been easy. He could have kept his beloved Mass, his old fashioned spirituality, and perhaps even his priests and seminary for a time. He would have been praised universally for his humble obedience. He would have enjoyed the society of Rome and might even have been made a cardinal. He would have died in concord with the pope, without enduring the malicious taunts of “schism”, and without the bitter grief of “excommunicate” affixed to his name. He was precisely the kind of Catholic for whom schism and excommunication held the greatest terror. But then, if he had chosen this easy path, he would have left us nothing – and countless despairing souls would have been lost. Instead he placed the glory of God and the salvation of souls over his own good name and reputation. He chose tribulation over comfort, calumny over praise, and the death of an exile – “on the existential peripheries”, if you like – in order to pass on the treasures he had received.
All of the canonically regular traditional orders owe their existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.
All of the Ecclesia Dei communities owe their existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.
Summorum Pontificum would not exist but for Archbishop Lefebvre.
Indeed, the Society of Saint Pius X serves as perhaps the most salient check on Modernism in the Church, as they are virtually the only clerics who can speak out publicly without fear of reprisals.
And yet, for all of these gifts, ungrateful men who should know better – men who are undeniable beneficiaries of Archbishop Lefebvre’s great sacrifices – continue to wage a relentless campaign against him and the Society he founded. It’s not enough for such men to disagree; they must discredit him entirely. They exhibit all the signs of envious souls who, lacking his courage, must assuage their bad consciences.