Styles of
Joseph-Charles Lefèbvre
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Bourges

Joseph-Charles Lefèbvre (April 15, 1892—April 2, 1973) was a French Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Bourges from 1943 to 1969, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1960.

He was a cousin of the controversial Traditionalist Catholic cleric Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.


Joseph-Charles Lefèbvre was born in Tourcoing, and studied at the Catholic University of Lille, and the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome. At the Gregorian, he received a gold medal from the Pope for his exceptional grades[1]. During his service in the French Army during World War I, Lefèbvre was wounded and captured by German forces in 1914, being later released in a prisoner exchange in 1918.

Lefèbvre was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1921. In 1924 he began pastoral work in Poitiers, where he would also be made Director of Works, honorary canon, and vicar general. He was raised to the rank of Monsignor on December 28, 1936.

On July 27, 1938, Lefèbvre was appointed Bishop of Troyes by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 11 from Bishop Edouard-Gabriel Mesguen, with Bishops Joseph-Jean Heintz and Louis Liagre serving as co-consecrators. Lefebvre was later promoted to Archbishop of Bourges on June 17, 1943. In order to stop the growing French rebellion against papal authority, Lefèbvre suggested to "throw light on the essential teachings of the Church in contemporary affairs—political, social and economic"[2].

Pope John XXIII, whom Lefèbvre had befriended while the former served as Nuncio to France[3], created him Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini in the consistory of March 28, 1960. Lefèbvre attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1963 papal conclave, which selected Pope Paul VI.

From 1965 to 1969, he was Representative of Cardinals at the French Episcopal Conference. Lefèbvre resigned as Bourges' archbishop on October 10, 1969, and died in that same city at age 81. He is buried at the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne.


  1. TIME Magazine. Seven New Hats March 14, 1960
  2. TIME Magazine. Rebellious Eldest Daughter May 13, 1957
  3. Ibid.

External links

Preceded by
Joseph-Jean Heintz
Bishop of Troyes
Succeeded by
Julien Le Couëdic
Preceded by
Louis-Joseph Fillon
Archbishop of Bourges
Succeeded by
Charles-Marie-Paul Vignancour
no:Joseph-Charles Lefèbvre

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