Marcel Lefebvre's (1905-91) career saw him make a meteoric rise through the ranks. At age 42, this missionary priest was appointed bishop in Senegal by Pope Pius XII. One year later, he was named as the Holy 'see's Apostolic Delegate for French speaking Africa.
Lefebvre studied at the Sacred Heart College in Tourcoing and at the French Seminary in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1929. After a brief assignment in Lille, Fr., he served in missionary posts in Gabon (1932–46) and Senegal (1947–62), becoming archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, in 1948. As a member of the preparatory commission (1960–62) for the Second Vatican Council, he helped frame traditionalist proposals that the convening bishops in the subsequent council sessions strongly rejected. The bishops substituted more liberal reforms, such as saying mass in the vernacular rather than in Latin, reconciling Roman Catholicism with other religions, and promoting the collegiality of the pope and the bishops in leading the church. Lefebvre came to denigrate such reforms as “heretical,” “anti-Christ,” and “satanic.”