Cardinal Jaime Sin

Archbishop of Manila who saw his duty as being 'to put Christ in politics'

Jaime Lachica Sin, priest: born New Washington, Philippines 31 August 1928; ordained priest 1954; Titular Bishop of Obba 1967-72; Titular Archbishop of Massa Lubrense 1972-76; Archbishop of Manila 1974-2003 (Emeritus); named a Cardinal 1976; died Manila 21 June 2005.

In the Philippines, the only and most devout Catholic country in East Asia, cardinals have long had enormous influence on national politics, sometimes notoriously so. Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila from 1974, who was named a cardinal in 1976 (at the age of 47 becoming the youngest member of the College of Cardinals), was well aware of this.

Having been a parish priest who rose to become a bishop, he was initially reluctant to take on the role of leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. He even joked that, given his name, the Pope would never dare appoint him a cardinal. Also, his name revealed his ethnic origin. He was a Sino-Filipino, again something which did not endear him to all his fellow believers. Still he did not hide the fact and instead used it to ward off any potential inter-racial friction, as well as try to improve the long-strained relations between Manila and Beijing.

Yet, if that could be construed as interference in politics, Sin's real test came when, as spiritual leader of the Philippines, he had to contend with the rising popular discontent with the dictatorial, martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda. True, they paid great lip service to the Catholic faith but did they serve the true interests of the people of the Philippines, especially when they brutally suppressed all opposition to their rule?

Eventually Sin decided to speak out in support of Cory Aquino, the widow of the assassinated opposition leader Benigno Aquino, in calling for an end to martial law. This led to massive popular demonstrations, often, significantly, led by nuns whom in such a devout country the riot police dared not attack. The outcome was what has been called "People Power". President Marcos fled the Philippines in February 1986 and the country reverted to democratic rule.

After that, Cardinal Sin prayed for peace and national reconciliation, whilst himself retreating to what seemed to be his preferred role as a pastoral leader.

Yet, again, he felt challenged a dozen years later. Joseph Estrada, who in 1998 was elected President by popular vote, turned out to be morally corrupt in office, which led to widespread discontent. Once again, Sin was unable to remain silent and, when he spoke out, the population followed in another demonstration of People Power. Estrada had to step down, albeit reluctantly, in 2001.

Like it or not, Jaime Sin played a major role in Philippine politics during the past three decades. Yet it is not just because of that that his death will be deeply mourned. For most Filipinos, he was a truly inspiring spiritual leader of the nation. On his retirement as Archbishop of Manila in 2003, he said, "My duty is to put Christ in politics. Politics without Christ is the greatest scourge of our nation."

Judy Stowe

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering