RIP Cardinal Jaime Sin

Another notable Filipino lost to the ages: Cardinal Jaime Sin has passed away. Cardinal Sin, as we called him in jest, was former Archbishop of Manila and Primate of the Philippines, and played a key role in the EDSA Revolution of 1986, using his formidable clout to help foment the peaceful, bloodless uprising against the kleptocratic Marcos dictatorship. He would again play a key role in Edsa II, the second uprising against Erap, which placed the current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in power.

Being a fencesitting church-state-separation Baptist, I wasn’t always sure that Sin’s active use of his position as Archbishop and Cardinal to influence Philippine political affairs was the best course, especially in the constitutionally dubious context of Edsa II, or in his very Roman Catholic opposition to contraceptives for population control. Nonetheless, having been reared among Jesuits and trained in liberation theology, I can see where Cardinal Sin was coming from, with regard to his push for social action and involvement as a means to empower the poor and underprivileged, of which the Philippines had many. The Filipino’s life is a bit richer for his work, and now a bit poorer in spirit for his passing.

(And we lost one of the best witticisms history has ever given us: a cardinal named Sin. It doesn’t get much better than that.)

Update: Fr. Reuter remembers Cardinal Sin at EDSA. Read it quick; Philstar’s website is still stupid about story archiving, and it may be replaced with a “File not Found” any minute now. The article is not without some chucklers, for example:

“Mother, get all your nuns into the chapel, and have them pray before the Blessed Sacrament, with arms extended… Pray for peace in our country…Pray that the grace of God will fall on us now!… And do not eat until I tell you!”

“The Cardinal called out the people, but the power on Edsa was the grace of God, coming to us through the Virgin Mary…..”

“Chino looked at the Cardinal, and grew at least three inches.”

Oh, that Father Reuter. One of my favorite Jesuits.