He became a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. He was consecrated as a bishop in 1986 and appointed area bishop of the Trent-Durham episcopal area. He was elected co-adjutor bishop of Toronto in 1987 and installed as the 10th Bishop of Toronto in 1989. He became the 16th Metropolitan of Ontario and Archbishop of Toronto in October 2000. He retired in 2004.
Huron University College at Western University bestowed him with its "Alumni Award of Distinction" in 2006.
In 1992 he dismissed the Reverend James Ferry for maintaining a homosexual relationship, while saying that the church had maintained "a conspiracy of silence" regarding the issue of homosexuality and the priesthood.
Finlay was disciplined by the church body for marrying a same-sex lesbian couple in 2006. He commented that he agreed with the principle of allowing same-sex marriages, and regretted his actions in 1992.
- "List of Significant Sigs". Sigma Chi Foundation. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- "Huron Alumni Awards of Distinction". Huron University College. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Burns, John F (1992-02-09). "Gay Canadian Minister Stands Trial". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Pigott, Robert (2006-10-01). "Archbishop in lesbian wedding row". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Sison, Marites N (2006-09-30). "Retired Toronto bishop disciplined for performing same-sex marriage". Espiscopal News Services. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
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