CCHA, Historical Studies, 67 (2001), 42-56



From Professor to Pastor: George Bernard

     Flahiff and the Experience of Vatican II



P. Wallace Platt



  Being named Archbishop of Winnipeg, as he was on 15 March 1961, filled Father George Bernard Flahiff, Superior General of the Basilian Fathers, with some dismay. He tried to refuse the honour and the burden, pleading pastoral inexperience and personal ineptitude, but his objections broke down when he was confronted with the argument from obedience to the will of the Pope, which argument he, as a leader of a religious congregation, could hardly gainsay. As he thought about this sea change in his life and what it involved - leaving scholarship and teaching, leaving community life as a Basilian, things very dear to him - there was one thought which pleased and excited him: he realized that in a very short time he would be participating in an ecumenical council of the Church. “I must admit,” he recalled many years later at a symposium on Vatican II, “that one of the things to which I was most sensitive at the news of my appointment was the realization that, in a year and a half, I would be attending the twenty-first ecumenical council of the Church, the first one in almost a hundred years.”1 His experience of Vatican II was to be significant for him in many ways and to a greater extent than he could realize at the time of his nomination as bishop. This article undertakes to examine that experience and to see how the historic council of the mid-twentieth century formed the person and affected the pastorate of one prominent bishop of the Canadian Church.

  Born and raised at Paris, Ontario, the small town with a big name, George Bernard Flahiff, the son of a hotel-keeper, was educated locally, and then for one year at St Jerome’s College, Kitchener, Ontario (1920-21), and for four years at St Michael’s College in the University of Toronto (B.A., Honours English and History, 1926). He joined the Basilian Fathers the year he graduated and was ordained to the priesthood in 1930, after but three years of theology, with a dispensation from Rome. Immediately after ordination, he was sent to France to study history, with a view to teaching at the recently founded Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. Flahiff was one of seven Basilians sent abroad at that time to prepare an adequate staff for the new academic venture. He returned to the Institute in 1935, having spent one year in Strasbourg and four in Paris, with the prestigious and rare degree, “Diplôme d’archiviste-paléo­graphe de l’Ecole des Chartes.” For the next nineteen years he taught history and art at the Institute, served as registrar there, and acquired a reputation as a fine scholar, an excellent teacher, and an appreciated colleague campus-wide at the University of Toronto. He was also a very popular spiritual director and retreat preacher. His life as scholar and teacher was interrupted by his being elected Superior General of the Basilian Fathers in 1954. It came to an end when he was named Archbishop of Winnipeg in 1961.

  It was the historian in him which fired Flahiff’s anticipation of participating in Vatican II, of being not only a witness but a maker of history. Far from just a profession or a specialty, history was for him a habit of mind, a method of thinking and a font of wisdom. His sense of history disposed him to appreciate the importance, the subject matter, and the consequences of the Vatican Council to a degree possibly not all that common among the assembled bishops. He would have resonated with the words of a more recent leader of religious, the Dominican Master General, Father Timothy Radcliffe, who remarks: “The Second Vatican Council was a moment of new beginning because it was a retelling of the past ... It was a memory that set us free for new things.”2

  Even before he was ordained bishop, Flahiff had been named to the council’s Preparatory Committee on Religious Life, a move that would indicate he was already known as a leader among religious. His episcopal ordination took place on 31 May 1961, a year before the council began, time enough to get adjusted to a mitre and acquainted with his archdiocese. Naturally the council preoccupied him, as it did the generality of the bishops of the world. He made two trips to Rome in the course of the year leading up to the council, for work on the preparatory committee. Then as the council opened and proceeded over the next four years, he wrote a number of long and interesting letters, some to his family, some to his Basilian confreres, and some to his archdiocese, in which he described with comments various aspects of the spectacle, the deliberations, and the decisions of the council. These letters, not yet published in their entirety, describe vividly the historic events and reveal a good deal of the man who lived them.

  In the first of these he presents the opening of the council in great detail and with obvious delight. More significantly, he is impressed by and comments on the freedom of speech enjoyed by the Council Fathers. When one of them forgoes his chance to speak, realizing that what he has to say has already been said, and then proposes that others who might be repeating, not be allowed to speak, he receives the curt reply from the one presiding that day, “Non possumus” (“We cannot”). Flahiff remarks: “It was rather thrilling to have that public and official witness to the fact that no one would be prevented from speaking who wished to do so.”3 “Thrilling” is a word he uses more than once in his descriptions and comments on the council.

  The council gave Flahiff a more spacious, more sublime, more beautiful and more profound sense of the Church, something he may not have had to the same extent had he remained all his life in the rarefied atmosphere of the university. He wrote:


You cannot but be impressed by the zeal, the deep seriousness and complete frankness with which bishops from all parts of the world present their opinions on these and many other detailed matters. Those from China and Japan, Indonesia and Viet Nam, India and Ceylon and the Near East, Africa and Madagascar, South and Central America as well as those from Australia, Europe and North America, come up often enough with a point of view that you simply had not thought of. You begin to realize how insular and sometimes narrow we can be, and you begin to appreciate something of the universality of the Church. And I think you begin to grasp that its essential unity is not impaired or even endangered by healthy local differences in externals, and in the application of laws and principles in so far as local needs require. I know that I am beginning to realize just how far some conditions are removed from what we take to be normal in our parishes and religious houses. To be sure, our own missions help us somewhat to be aware of this.4


  This awakening to a wider sense of the Church finds further expression in the same letter where he speaks of what the Council can mean to a historian:


To say that it is a privilege to take part in an ecumenical council, and in this one, in particular, is an understatement. To one interested in history, the Council is of absorbing interest for the light it throws on the councils of the past. You begin to appreciate why certain things happened as they did. Above all, you come to realize the extent to which the texts that we cite glibly from councils of the Church as arguments from tradition have been hammered out in very human fashion by ordinary members of the Mystical Body of Christ, whose Spirit nevertheless was guiding them all the while. Not only the history, but the very nature of the Church takes on new light and new depth. The apparent paradoxes that characterize it are seen as a true enrichment: wide diversity, on the one hand, and essential unity, on the other; real liberty, on the one hand, yet under authority, on the other; a human element that is so obvious, on the one hand, yet an ever-present divine life and divine guidance, on the other. Nor would one ever have the same opportunity as at a Council to witness the beauty and the variety of the Church’s liturgy. As we assist daily at ceremonies, both simple and solemn, of the many rites in the Church, we are grateful that uniformity is not required here.5


  Archbishop Flahiff’s new perception of the Church is typified and summarized in his change of vocabulary. Up until the time of the council, he frequently referred to the Church as the “Mystical Body of Christ,” the term sanctioned and developed by Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis of 1942. Flahiff had studied this document carefully and had based many of his conferences to religious on it. The teaching was central to his spirituality and obviously a profound source of inspiration to him.6 We notice as the council progresses, and then through his ministry after the council, that this title for the Church gives way to “The People of God” as his way of referring to the Church. It is, of course, the title made popular by Lumen Gentium, and it has the advantage of making the Church more tangible, incarnate, and understandable, which Flahiff readily appreciated. As archbishop, writing his pastoral letters, he gradually adopted the salutation “To the People of God of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.”

  This new understanding of the Church, which was to inform his pastoral ministry for the next twenty years, though probably the most important “revelation,” for the new archbishop, was not the only expansion of his thinking. The development in teaching on religious life was also particularly significant for him. As mentioned above, he had been fingered even before his ordination as bishop for the council’s preparatory committee on religious life. He was an obvious and, as it turned out, popular choice for membership on the council’s Commission on Religious Life, the group which would ultimately, and not without difficulty, produce Perfectae Caritatis, finally approved only in October of the last session of the Council7. Interestingly enough, however, it was not Perfectae Caritatis which sparked Flahiff’s enthusiasm for the new teaching on religious life, but rather Lumen Gentium, the document on the Church, approved and promulgated a year earlier. This superb document, in many ways the pearl of the council, devotes a chapter to religious life, situating it in the essential composition of the Church itself as a sign of the kingdom and a font of holiness. It reads in part: “This state of life, then, which is constituted by the profession of the evangelical counsels, while not entering into the hierarchical structure of the Church, belongs undeniably to her life and holiness.”8 Religious life was now presented, not as something esoteric or extra, much less ornamental, but as something integral to the very life of the Church.

  Flahiff was delighted with this development in the Church’s teaching. It became a recurring theme whenever he spoke to religious after the council. In 1968, for example, at the annual assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW) in the United States he said:


Religious life is the life of the Church, lived in a particular style but always rooted in the Christian baptismal consecration. Time and again the sixth chapter of Lumen Gentium identifies religious life with the life of the Church. There is no difference in nature between the two; religious life is but a particular way or particular style of living the Christian life in the Church. This is a great advance; religious life used to be thought of in predominantly canonical terms. No, it is quite simply the life of the Church itself, lived according to a particular style. In the case of those who achieve the ideal and live the religious life as it is described in the texts of the Council, there can be no doubt that the religious life is indeed a significant expression of ecclesial life.9


  One wonders why Archbishop Flahiff would become so animated on this point which might seem ordinary or even trite to some. Perhaps his great love for the consecrated life, which he had faithfully lived and readily promoted among so many, and which he had “left” with regret on becoming a bishop, found a new importance and a kind of reconciliation in himself with his position as a bishop. Perhaps this insight into the integral holiness of the Church brought him closer yet to religious and to religious life as he now went on in his pastoral ministry. Whatever the case, it is obviously an important moment for Archbishop Flahiff and another gift of the council. That the life which he had been called to in his youth and which he had lived for some thirty-five years received such distinction was a great joy to him.

  There was another significant experience of which Flahiff speaks with notable enthusiasm, this time in the context of the discussion on the document on revelation. It was the experience, common to many to be sure, of suddenly coming to a deeper understanding or a brighter illumination of something one has known, or partly known, for a long time. Flahiff came to see Jesus Christ as the revelation of God. Elementary, we may say, and yet for him it was something new and exciting. It is a measure of his docility and openness to write as he did:


Doubtless scholars will pick out other things but what strikes me personally most forcefully in the new text is the emphasis on the personal element in Revelation. It may always have been obvious to others, but I had not adverted sufficiently to the fact that Christ Himself is God revealed and this is the fundamental notion of Revelation, with the result that the latter is to be conceived of less as a book or as a series of clearly formulated truths than as a Person who still speaks and acts and with whom we have present contact through faith.10


A year later, writing to the clergy and religious of his archdiocese, just after the close of the council, Flahiff reflects in terms that echo his words of the previous year and which could stand as a résumé of his experience of the Second Vatican Council:


The whole teaching of the Council can be summed up in this: that Christ’s presence is no mere memory of the past, nor just a treasure to be preserved; it is a living reality in us and among us that must be constantly renewed (i.e. made new again) in every detail and circumstance of human life at whatever point of human history we find ourselves.11

   As Flahiff’s thinking expanded in these various directions during the council, there ran parallel in his mind a concern for wholeness in the representation of the membership. He was disconcerted at the lack of consideration given to the laity in what was called an “ecumenical” assembly. While he rejoiced in the development of doctrine he was witnessing and participating in, he longed for an extension of membership, or at least an extension of “voice” in the council. His feeling about the place of the laity in the Church was of long standing. In 1954, for example, shortly after his election as Superior General of the Basilian Fathers, he spoke to a group of lay people at a luncheon held at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on the role of the laity in the Church. He saw such a role as stemming from baptism and as essential to the Church, in tandem with that of the clergy. He stressed a new consciousness of this role and exhorted his listeners to meet the challenge of their faith in our times.12

  At the opening of the second session of the council he notes with satisfaction the increase in the number of “observers” and writes:


The single Catholic lay Observer has been increased to 12; Jim Norris, an American who has been prominent in refugee and immigration work, is the one English-speaking representative. Rumour has it that a few laywomen will be invited to the next session. If this is done, I hope that they may see their way clear to inviting religious Sisters and Brothers; this does not seem to have been raised as a possibility.13


A year later he has reason to rejoice in some fulfillment of his wishes:


The lay Auditors (men) have been increased from 13 to 21. The women now have seven lay Auditrices and eight Superiors-General ... The presence of women - and of laymen, too, for that matter - may be symbolic only, but even that is real and when one recalls what the attitude to anything feminine in the Church had been up until a very recent past, it is truly important. To my mind we are seeing the pattern of the future. At the next Council, priests and religious, laymen and laywomen will doubtless be taking active part both in the preparation of the Council and in its work. Already in some of the more informal afternoon gatherings, Sisters as well as laywomen and laymen have addressed the Council Fathers!14


  It becomes clear as one reads Flahiff’s letters from the council, and his later speeches on various occasions, that the document which treats of the Church in the world, Gaudium et Spes, is his favourite. This is probably because it satisfied the desire for wholeness and reconciliation so characteristic of him. In “The Church in the World,” to use its English title, the layperson’s membership and duty in the Church is fully recognized and the world we live in is seen not as something to be shunned but as something to be sanctified. Writing to his family very near the end of the council he suggests new freedom in the Church and a refreshingly salutary wind of change, referring specifically to Gaudium et Spes. His words might have seemed rather avant-garde for some had they been said in public:

It is possible that a “stand-pat” attitude has been too strong and that the notion of an “unchanging Church” was applied to areas to which it has no application whatsoever; on the contrary, there are many areas in which the Church has constantly to be adapting herself to changing situations and changing needs, if she is to accomplish the mission given by Christ. Moreover, there is the whole field covered by “The Church and [sic] the Modern World” where often no final answers are possible at the moment and where each one has to be encouraged to face up to present-day issues and, in the light of known principles aided by God’s grace, to assume full responsibility for finding the solution that God intends. It is in this field more than in any other, that the laity have to find the answers rather than having them dictated to them; but they must do so with a deep sense of Christian responsibility.15


  Gaudium et Spes came in for frequent reference in Flahiff’s ministry after the council. A notable example is the convocation address he gave at St Bonaventure University in 1975. The council is still a source of inspiration and a frame of reference as he recalls for the students Bonaven­ture’s teaching on man as the image and likeness of God. He quotes from Gaudium et Spes as a contemporary echo and application of Bonaven­ture’s doctrine, as he considers three contemporary issues: freedom, our relationship to other human beings and our relationship to material creation. “I am intrigued,” he says, “by the fact that Gaudium et Spes in regard to each one of these, while certainly not directly inspired by St Bonaventure, does sound much like an echo of his teaching.”16 Flahiff’s association or comparison is by no means forced, nor is his enthusiasm for the council document diminished.

  In the course of his seventeen years of active ministry as a bishop after the close of the Vatican Council in 1965, Archbishop (“Cardinal,” after 1969) Flahiff gave close to a hundred major speeches in different parts of Canada and the United States. In most of these, council teaching figures prominently. Understandably there is some repetition as he uses prepared texts in different circumstances, texts worth repeating for they are carefully studied and beautifully written. His work awaits editing and publication, an undertaking which would be a valuable contribution to Church teaching and history in Canada.

  It is to be noted that as a champion and interpreter of Vatican II, Flahiff was more teacher than reformer. In this he was following his own nature, talents and inclination – administration was not his first love nor his long suit – and he was also in line with the spirit of the Vatican documents. Time and again he points out that these do not get down to practical measures, but are intended to indoctrinate and to inspire. He frequently ends his talks by saying he has nothing to offer by way of practical suggestions for the implementation of the teaching. He really did believe in the dignity, the responsibility, and the power of the laity. As a bishop, he was encouraging and supportive of those who undertook ministry or new ventures, though his own ministry is not marked by daring initiatives coming from the council.

  This is not to say that nothing changed in Winnipeg as a result of his participation in the council. Liturgical reform was implemented and nurtured, documents were published, conferences were held, and renewal was very much a part of the archdiocesan agenda. Two interesting developments, possibly unique to Winnipeg, came about in the wake of the council if not as a direct result of the council. Concelebration was inaugurated in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg one full year before it became general in the Church, because Archbishop Flahiff personally requested permission for this practice of Pope Paul VI. And secondly, a church and auxiliary parish buildings were constructed to serve two congregations, one Catholic, called Pope John XXIII Parish, and one Anglican, called St Chad’s Parish, which joint venture still flourishes.

                   George Bernard Cardinal Flahiff, Archbishop of Winnipeg (1961-82)

Source: Archives of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg


   Archbishop Flahiff’s communications to the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg are not the place where one finds his splendid teaching inspired by the council. His pastoral letters are regular, brief and clear, directive and timely. They have to do with administration. In two areas, however, they coincide particularly with the documents and the spirit of the council: education and ecumenism, both of which matters were the object of Flahiff’s continuous concern and efforts. He was, of course, a trained and experienced educator. He regularly called the attention of his clergy and people to the importance of education, to the primacy of the person being educated, to the problems of Catholic education in Manitoba, and to the duty of all concerned to purify and cherish the Catholic school system. The presentation of the doctrine underlying the administration, however, was done elsewhere.

  One of his most brilliant speeches, which he gave at least twice, once at the Catholic Information Centre in Toronto, on 2 March 1969, and again, adapted to fit the circumstances, to the Federation of Catholic Parent-Teacher Associations of Ontario in Hamilton, on 1 May 1971, is a lengthy and lucid presentation of the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education. This speech could be taken as a gathering together of the teaching of Vatican II into one focus, so rich is it in reference and perception as Flahiff develops his topic historically, philosophically, and according to council teaching. The following passage illustrates Flahiff’s mentality and method as he warms to his topic:


The Council did not attempt to deal with theories or philosophies of education, with education as an art or with education as a science. In widely-ranging references to education that are by no means confined to the document called The Declaration on Christian Education it viewed this topic as it did so many others and as was characteristic of the whole approach of the Council: less to offer a complete systematic and definitive teaching, than to propose fresh insights, inviting us to take a new, or re-newed, look at things that have always been with us. In the word of Pope John, we were to “update” our approach to many things that, unchanging though they may be in themselves, need constantly to be re-viewed in order that they may be ... meaningful and relevant at this moment of human history.17


  An important and rather unusual point which Flahiff, inspired by the council, makes repeatedly is that the Catholic concern for education must be universal and not limited to justice for Catholic schools or Catholic political interests in the field of education. He affirms that the truest way to be faithful to the Catholic cause and tradition in education is to have a concern for all education. “We are never more truly Catholic,” he says, “than, while insisting upon our just rights, we are at the same time deeply concerned about the education of all.”18 He contends that Catholic education has a unique contribution to make, and in striving to preserve this tradition with its rights, it is serving society as a whole.19 Moreover, Catholic education can be a leaven in the paste, so to speak, for all learning, by giving it the quality of transcendence.20 These ideas are all in keeping, obviously, with the spirit of the council and congenial to Flahiff’s own way of thinking, his love of wholeness, and his ecumenical frame of mind.

  Ecumenism, as was mentioned above, was a subject he brought before his people frequently in his pastoral letters, though this was chiefly each January to remind them of the duty of prayer during the Church Unity Octave. Ecumenism, however, had been dear to him for a long time, even years before the council. Flahiff was an ecumenist by nature. He was the most sociable of men, courteous in the extreme, respectful of the opinions of others, and disposed more to seek understanding of an opinion than to rejecting it outright. His years on the campus of the University of Toronto did much for the reputation of St Michael’s College and the Pontifical Institute as places where thought was open and free and the opinions of others respected. He frequently referred to the words of Pope John XXIII who spoke of the council as an opportunity for a meeting of minds and hearts for all humanity. Flahiff’s pastoral letter to the Clergy and Religious of his archdiocese after the first session of the council reflects his interest and his hope in the ecumenical cause:


Never in centuries, if ever, has there been so great an interest in Christian unity as there is at the present time. Pope John XXIII’s preoccupation with the theme is doubtless the chief reason for this among Catholics and perhaps among others too. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, largely inspired by him, has also given great impetus to it. The Council is not primarily, as he has pointed out, a council of reunion; he looks to it, nevertheless, to make a major contribution to the cause of Christian unity.21


  Archbishop Flahiff’s one intervention at the council (2 October 1964) was on the subject of ecumenism22 and a strong ecumenical spirit breathes through his speaking and writing after the Council. His effectiveness as an ecumenist, however, was realized more remarkably in his life, in his way of relating to other denominations in Winnipeg, in his great friendship for the Jewish people, who saw fit to honour him on two occasions, in his inviting by a special letter the faithful of his archdiocese to pray especially for the Anglican Congress in Toronto in August of 1963,23 and by his attitude of genuine friendship toward all who came into contact with him, no matter of what faith. The council gave a formidable boost to a conviction and tendency that Flahiff came by naturally and developed assiduously all his life.

  The intervention on behalf of women in the Church made by Cardinal Flahiff at the Synod of Bishops on 11 November 1971, when, in the name of the bishops of Canada, he proposed that a committee be set up to examine the place of women in the ministries of the Church, was a climax, so to speak, of his long-standing sympathy with and service of women, both religious and lay. During his Toronto years he gave numerous retreats to sisters and undertook the spiritual direction of many of them. His abiding interest in this area was manifested in the council in his desire to see wider representation of women. The famous synodal speech of 1971, which made him in the eyes of many the champion of women’s ordination, was misunderstood, of course, mainly because of bad reporting, but it is unlikely that Flahiff regretted the publicity, for it put the matter of women’s position in the Church ever more vividly before the world. Here again, we find no initiatives on the part of Cardinal Flahiff to inaugurate any kind of movement. On the contrary, his attitude was to let the matter develop, confident in the Spirit’s guidance of the Church.

  Archbishop Flahiff’s vision of a brave new world after Vatican II and his hopes for widespread renewal faded as the years passed and turmoil ensued in many parts of the Church. He, like many other bishops, had to face the aberrations in the interpretation of the council decrees and the dissensions which beset the faithful as “liberals” and “conservatives” strove to serve the Church each in the way they believed to be according to the spirit of Vatican II. He had to reassure those who were dismayed and to stir up those who seemed to be letting the vision fade. In the early seventies, referring to an appeal by Paul VI on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the close of the council, in which the pope lauds the achievements and deplores the pitfalls and misinterpretations of the documents, Flahiff writes:


The Holy Father speaks repeatedly in his various addresses these days of the need to return to Vatican II and to familiarize ourselves with its teachings. Not that we will find there ready-made answers, either dogmatic or juridical; what we need most is to catch again the spirit of renewal that came from the Council as a guide to the solution of present-day problems. Solutions, you must remember, are not given, they have to be found ... How easily we forget the documents of the Council and their significance for us. I wonder how long it is since any one of us here present last read the Declaration on Education. I must confess that for me it had been a long time, when finally I took it up again with a view to giving this talk ... [The documents] were not meant to produce the instant results that our age seems to look for in all things; they were intended rather as guidelines for the renewal that must be an ongoing thing for years and years ahead of us.24


Though Flahiff is a historian, used to thinking in centuries, he betrays a certain disappointment in the aftermath of the council, in spite of his realistic approach.

  As we review, then, the transition of George Flahiff from professor to pastor in the context of the Second Vatican Council, we would be inclined to say that he never really ceased to be professor, and that this quality in him prevailed over notable administrative achievements which might have been inspired by his experience of the council. It is certain that he was primarily a teaching bishop; he himself would concur in that opinion. As an administrator he was often the despair of his co-workers for his hesitancy in making decisions. What is of value and worth noting is the contribution Flahiff made to the understanding and dissemination of council teaching, and how the vocation of professor blended happily with his calling to the episcopacy on the eve of the Vatican Council, to provide him with a fund of doctrine, to inspire him with a zeal for renewal, and to give him a forum as wide as a continent to present the doctrine. Though his later years were shadowed by what he perceived as diminishing interest in the council and by fading hopes of renewal in certain areas, his own teaching, like that of the council itself, remains ever cogent, to have its effect in the good time of a patient Providence.


1 The Church Renewed: The Documents of Vatican II Reconsidered, George P. Schner, ed. (New York, 1968), 4.

2 Sing a New Song (Dublin, 1999), 78.

3 To the Community, 1 November 1962 (General Archives of the Basilian Fathers, Cardinal Flahiff Collection, hereafter: GABF-CFC), 3.

4 Ibid., 6.

5 Ibid., 7.

6 In the Basilian Archives in Toronto there is a collection of Flahiff’s conferences on the Mystical Body of Christ, put together into book form by himself, with his own illustrations and presented to his sister Margaret on the occasion of her silver jubilee of profession.

7 Flahiff’s name appeared on the slate of names for membership on the Commission proposed by the Canadian and American bishops, on that of a group of superiors general, on that of the Chaldaean Patriarchate (much to his surprise), and on that which was known as the “German slate” which was jointly approved by the episcopal conferences of France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Austria, Poland, Yugoslavia, and the Scandinavian countries.

8 “Lumen Gentium,” 6, 44, in Vatican Council II, the Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, edited by Austin Flannery OP (New York: Costello, 1992), 405.

9 Annual Assembly Proceedings, 1968 (GABF-CFC), 34.

10 To the Community, 3 November 1964 (GABF-CFC), 3.

11 To the Clergy and Religious of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, 20 December 1965 (Archives, Archdiocese of Winnipeg).

12 “Synopsis of an Address,” 10 November 1954 (GABF-CFC).

13 To the Community, 11 October 1963 (Basilian Newsletter, 21 October 1963), 5. This entire letter is extremely vivid in its revelation of Flahiff’s reactions to council procedure as is his letter to his family of 10 October 1964 (GABF-CFC). His ardent wish for lay representation comes across clearly.

14 To the Community, 3 November 1964 (Basilian Newsletter, 12 November 1964), 2.

15 To his Family, 21 November 1965 (GABF-CFC).

16 Convocation Address, St Bonaventure University, 14 July 1975 (GABF-CFC), 6.

17 “On Education”: Lecture delivered at the Catholic Information Centre, Toronto, Sunday, 2 March 1969 (GABF-CFC), 3.

18 Address to the Federation of Catholic Parent-Teachers Associations of Ontario, Hamilton, 1 May 1971 (GABF-CFC), 4.

19 Convocation Address, St John’s College, Winnipeg, 1 November 1977 (GABF-CFC), 5.

20 Address to the Graduates of St Thomas College, University of New Brunswick, 10 May 1976 (GABF-CFC), 4.

21 Pastoral letter, 9 January 1963 (Archives, Archdiocese of Winnipeg).

22 See P. Wallace Platt, Gentle Eminence: a Life of Cardinal Flahiff (Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999), 101, for an account of Flahiff’s speech at Vatican II.

23 “This Congress, which meets once in ten years, will see bishops, clergy and laity of the Anglican Church from all parts of the world assemble to discuss matters of grave spiritual moment. The discussions are bound to have repercussions on the ecumenical movement which is happily drawing men, especially Christians, into closer union.” Pastoral letter, 6 August 1963 (Archives, Archdiocese of Winnipeg).

24 Address to the Federation of Catholic Parent-Teachers Associations of Ontario, Hamilton, 1 May 1971 (GABF-CFC), 6-7.