Adam Exner

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The Most Rev.
Adam Joseph Exner
Archbishop Emeritus of Vancouver
Province British Columbia
Diocese Archdiocese of Vancouver
Installed 1991
Term ended 2004
Predecessor James Francis Carney
Successor Raymond Roussin
Other posts

Bishop of Kamloops 1974

Archbishop of Winnipeg 1982
Ordination 1957 - Priest
Consecration 1974 - Bishop
Personal details
Birth name Adam Joseph Exner
Born (1928-12-24) December 24, 1928 (age 88)
Killaly, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Alma mater University of Ottawa
Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome, Italy)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Adam Joseph Exner (born December 24, 1928, Killaly, Saskatchewan) was the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver from 1991 to 2004.

Training and early religious life[edit]

Adam Exner holds Masters degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and holds a Doctoral degree in theology from the University of Ottawa. He served as professor, rector and superior at St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, Saskatchewan, and as professor of moral theology at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta. He entered the religious institute of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1950 in St. Norbert, Manitoba and was ordained as a priest in 1957. In 1974, Exner was appointed Bishop of Kamloops and in 1982, Archbishop of Winnipeg.[citation needed]

Archbishop of Vancouver[edit]

Adem Exner was appointed Archbishop of Vancouver on May 25, 1991. He served in that position until reaching the mandatory retirement for Archbishops in January 2004. That year, the Catholic Civil Rights League created the Archbishop Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life in honour of the occasion.[citation needed] He resides at St. Peter's Abbey, Muenster, Saskatchewan.

Advocacy and activities[edit]

In 1995, Archbishop Exner secured from then-Premier Michael Harcourt, the Denominational Health Association, a legacy of his predecessor, Archbishop James Francis Carney.[1] During his tenure, Exner objected to efforts by the Minister of Health, Colin Hansen, to close St. Mary's Hospital (Vancouver).[1]

While Exner was Archbishop of Vancouver, civil litigation resulting from the Mount Cashel Orphanage sexual and physical abuse scandal threatened assets of the Congregation of Christian Brothers located in British Columbia. These included Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate, which faced closure and liquidation in order to pay the victims.[2] Archbishop Exner was closely involved with the efforts to prevent the closure of those schools.[1][3]

Archbishop Exner assisted Covenant House, a home for runaway street kids, in establishing a branch of its services into Vancouver.[1] Under direction from Archbishop Exner, the Archdiocese of Vancouver sought and obtained intervenor status during litigation involving Trinity Western University relating to its training policies. The litigation involved a dispute between Trinity Western, a Christian university, and the British Columbia College of Teachers, which believed that TWU could not train teachers for public schools because it required students to abstain from homosexual relations. TWU won in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[1][4]

In 2003, Exner directed four Catholic schools to divest from a school banking program operated by VanCity, in protest of the Archdiocese's position that VanCity was actively promoting homosexuality through its sponsorship of a homosexual film festival and by giving an award to a lesbian bookstore.[5]


Archbishop Exner was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre as well as Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy of Canada.


In his role as Archbishop, Exner became a member of the following:

  • Sacred Congregation for Bishops
  • Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, with which he was involved in the Theology and Christian Education Commissions and the National Catholic-Lutheran dialogue
  • Member of the Social Communications Commission

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e A Fierce Grace,; accessed April 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Sale of Vancouver schools in Toronto court". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. July 23, 2002. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sex abuse may close Catholic colleges" Archived October 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Daily Times (Pakistan), May 29, 2002.
  4. ^ Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, 2001 SCC 31, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 772
  5. ^ "VanCity Savings Affair: Letter from the Archbishop",, October 1, 2003; accessed April 10, 2014.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Alphonsus Harrington
Bishop of Kamloops
Succeeded by
Lawrence Sabatini
Preceded by
George Bernard Flahiff
Archbishop of Winnipeg
Succeeded by
Leonard James Wall
Preceded by
James Francis Carney
Archbishop of Vancouver
Succeeded by
Raymond Roussin