Memorable Manitobans: George Bernard Flahiff (1905-1989)
Born at Paris, Ontario on 8 March 1905, he was appointed Archbishop of Winnipeg on 15 March 1961, and elevated to cardinal on 28 April 1969. In 1963, he was elected President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Canada for a two-year term, and continued to be a member of the administrative board from 1965 to 1980. During the Second Vatican Council, he was elected to the Conciliar Commission dealing with the affairs of Religious. In January 1966 Flahiff was appointed by Pope Paul VI to the Post-Conciliar Commission for Religious and on 30 December 1967, was made a member of the Sacred Congregation for Religious when, for the first time, its membership was extended to include seven bishops from different parts of the world.
He was one of four representatives chosen by the Bishops of Canada to represent them at the first Synod of Bishops held in Rome, 1967, and at the third one, also in Rome, 1971. Wall also represented Canada at the Inter-American Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Mexico in 1971 and in Brazil in 1973, and also served on the Board of Directors of the National Liturgical Conference in the United States, 1965-1971. Perhaps most significantly, Cardinal Flahiff took part in the Conclaves of 1978 that elected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II.
He received honorary doctorates from the University of Manitoba (1969) and the University of Winnipeg (1972). He was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1983 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.
He died at Toronto on 22 August 1989.
We thank Jane Coyne, Archivist with the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, for providing a copy of a biography of Cardinal Flahiff.
This profile was prepared by Kris Keen and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 May 2011
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