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Jaime Cardinal Sin
Jaime Cardinal Sin (1928-2005), Roman Catholic cardinal, archbishop of Manila, and the highest dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines from 1974 to 2003. Sin’s religious position enabled him to influence Philippine social and political affairs. He is best remembered for his leading role in the People Power Movement, a four-day uprising that deposed Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Born on Panay Island in the central Philippines, Sin was ordained a priest in 1954 and became a diocesan missionary in the province of Capiz. He rose quickly within the church leadership, and in 1974 he was appointed archbishop of Manila and head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. In 1976 Sin was elevated to the College of Cardinals, becoming its youngest member.
Persecution of Catholic leaders in the Philippines became widespread under President Marcos, who considered the Catholic clergy among his opponents. Marcos, first elected president in 1965, imposed martial law and seized dictatorial powers in 1972. Cardinal Sin emerged as a leading critic of Marcos’s authoritarian regime, particularly after Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines in 1981 and spoke in favor of the protection of certain human rights. For the 1986 presidential elections, Sin was instrumental in forging an agreement between two other opposition figures—Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel—to run against Marcos on the same ticket, thereby preventing a damaging split in the opposition vote. The high point of Sin’s political intervention, however, came after Marcos attempted to claim victory in those elections. Sin broadcast a radio appeal for public support for Marcos’s opponents, which helped mobilize a large citizen uprising known as the People Power Movement. Faced with this mass support for his opponents, Marcos fled to Hawaii, and Aquino took office as the country’s new president.
Sin’s intervention in politics was a strong mobilizing force because for the majority of Filipinos, the authority of the church exceeded that of the state. The church had been a powerful institution in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, since Spanish colonization in the 16th century. In explaining his willingness to take a stand against political corruption, Sin said the church “cannot proclaim eternal salvation to our flock when we are blind to the physical realities which deny them that very salvation here on Earth.”
View Messages Given By Jaime Cardinal Sin