The rebel French Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ran into trouble with the police when he arrived in Argentina on Wednesday (20 July).
The rebel French Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ran into trouble with the police when he arrived in Argentina on Wednesday (20 July). He was prevented from celebrating mass with about 300 of his followers at a makeshift chapel in Buenos Aires by armed police. No formal ban on Archbishop Lefebvre's activities has been announced, but the police action came within an hour of his arrival for a six day visit.
Archbishop Lefebvre has been suspended from all priestly activities by Pope Paul. the archbishop's rebellion against the Vatican is based on his refusal to accept reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council. These include the substitution of the traditional Latin mass by vernacular services.
SYNOPSIS: Archbishop Lefebvre arrived in the Argentine capital from Chile. He visited the United States and Colombia earlier this month. His visit has stirred up considerable controversy. The Argentine Roman Catholic hierarchy has condemned his rebellion against the Vatican, and the military government has made it clear that he would not be welcome.
There was a large crowd of journalists at Buenos Aires airport awaiting his arrival. About two hundred traditionalist Catholics had also gathered to greet him, despite the open disapproval of the Roman Catholic establishment. The Archbishop of Buenos aires and Primate of the Church of Argentina, Cardinal Juan Carlos Aramburu, warned priests against allowing the archbishop to celebrate mass or other religious services in their churches, and urged Roman Catholics not to attend any of Archbishop Lefebvre's services. But the crowd at the airport, chanting slogans such as 'long live Lefebvre' were clearly in no mood to listen. Air Force troops escorted Monsignor Lefebvre to his car.
Even if the rebel archbishop manages to hold services in Buenos Aires, he certainly won't be welcome at the city's Roman Catholic cathedral, which attracts hundreds of worshippers. Ironically, Archbishop Lefebvre is staying only 200 metres from the Vatican embassy.
The police ban on the archbishop was apparently unexpected by his supporters. They are now taking legal action in an attempt to allow a traditional mass to take place.