His appointment as archbishop coincided with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Inspired by the Vatican sessions he attended, he strove for the spiritual renewal of the people of his diocese, becoming a clear and constant voice of the Church in Canada and beyond. Open to new things but respectful of the old, he spoke up for the rights of women and the importance of the laity in the Church. His ecumenical leadership in Manitoba was outstanding. Ultimately a cardinal and elector of two popes, George Flahiff stands out among bishops because he defied stereotypes, preferring buses to limousines, "George" to "Eminence," and friendship to privilege. Never seeking greatness in any way but ever obedient to his calling, he rose to the highest ranks in the Church, accepting each new position with faith and humility.