Marcel Lefebvre was born November 29, 1905, in Tourcoing, France, and died March 25, 1991, in Martigny, Switzerland. He was one of the most controversial and ultraconservative Roman Catholic archbishops of the 20 century. He opposed the liberalizing changes begun by the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) and was excommunicated in 1988 by Pope John Paul II for consecrating new traditionalist bishops without the approval of the Holy See. He created the bishops in order to perpetuate his crusade after his death.
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, France, he served in missionary posts in Gabon (1932–46) and Senegal (1947–62), becoming archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, in 1948.