Thousands of Filipinos have begun flocking to the archdiocesan cathedral in Manila to pay their final respects to Cardinal Jaime Sin, who died Tuesday at the age of 76.
According to archdiocesan officials, the cardinal died from kidney problems and diabetes. He had been hospitalized for three days and died at 6:30am at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center in Manila.
The cardinal’s health problems prevented him from traveling to Rome last April for the funeral of John Paul II and participating in the conclave the elected Benedict XVI.
The local media highlighted Cardinal Sin’s role as a religious leader during the People’s Power revolution of 1986 that lead to the downfall of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Filipino president Gloria Arroyo expressed grief at the news of his passion and said the cardinal was “a greater liberator of the Filipino people who never stopped uniting Filipinos in the most crucial battles against tyranny and evil. His dream of a Philippines united in peace and justice led us to knock down the tower of Babel and build a unique and indivisible nation.”
“I was guided many times by his wisdom and his profound love of the poor and the oppressed, for he received his inspiration from the people like nobody else in his time,” she added.
Former president Corazon Aquino attended the first requiem Mass and remembered the cardinal as “a good shepherd” to whom she will always be grateful for his example. “I hope we can be a little bit like him, serving God, our country and our people,” Aquino said.
Born on August 31, 1928, Jaime Sin was the 14th of 16 children in an ethnic Chinese family. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1954 and consecrated as an auxiliary bishop for the Jaro diocese in 1967. He became Archbishop of Jaro in 1972, and of Manila in 1974. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1976.