Today the Church observes the fifth anniversary of the publishing of Summorum Pontificum, the long-awaited motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI replacing all former "indults" and freeing the Mass of All Times, the Traditional Latin Mass. No longer would a priest have to ask permission of his bishop to say the Mass as the Mass is to be readily offered and available to all of the Faithful.
The Saintly Example of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
It is at this time that I wish to especially remember Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who resisted the Second Vatican Council's false propositions of ecumenism, religious liberty, and the altering of the Mass of All Times. It is through his witness and the formation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) that the Mass of All Times has spread. And, I will venture to say that without Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's role, the Traditional Latin Mass would have been at last forgotten and no organized resistance to the change would have existed.
It is Archbishop Lefebvre who has been slandered in recent years. The cause of canonization of his saintly mother has long been forgotten. Instead, in the words of Bishop Bernard Fellay during a sermon in Paris following Archbishop Lefebvre's death said, "Archbishop Lefebvre has gone, but the Mass is saved, the Catholic priesthood is saved..." Because of his resistance to all of changes affecting all of the Sacraments, the Society of St. Pius X is largely responsible for Pope Benedict XVI's issuance of the motu proprio and then the clear declaration that the Bishops of the Society of St. Pius X consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre are not excommunicated.
In the words of Father Franz Schmidberger at the Requiem Mass of Archbishop Lefebvre, "The work of the Archbishop on this earth is accomplished. Now begins his ministry as intercessor in eternity. He has given everything he could give...the miracle of a new generation of priests."
Archbishop Lefebvre only wished to teach that which he himself was taught in seminary. He wished to hand on the Catholic faith as taught and celebrated for the past centuries. And his resistance has directly led to the establishment of the Ecclesia Dei Commission and the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. I highly encourage the reading of Apologia Pro Marcel by Michael Davies as well as Open Letter to Confused Catholics and The Mass of All Times.
"I will finish with my testament. I would like that it be an echo of the testament of Our Lord: a New and Eternal Testament...the heritage that Jesus Christ gave us, His Sacrifice, His Blood, His Cross. I will say the same for you: for the glory of the Holy Trinity, for love of the Church, for the salvation of the world: keep the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Mass forever!" (Archbishop Lefebvre, 23rd September 1979)
"Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20)