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TOFIL Awardee

Jaime Cardinal Sin
TOFIL Awardee for Spiritual Leadership, 1988


Someone has quipped that not to know or to be aware of Jaime Cardinal Sin, TOFIL Awardee for Spiritual Leadership, is almost a sin. For who could be untouched by the pervasive influence of this spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines?

The scenario is still fresh in everybody’s minds when in February 1986 the good Cardinal served as the spark plug with his heart-gripping appeal for all Filipinos to constitute themselves into a hitherto untried force without arms – People Power – in the historic phenomenon that freed the country from the dictatorship.

The Cardinal’s innate concern for the poor and the oppressed stemmed from his spiritual life. His activist orientation, however, was a special virtue seldom found in people of the cloth, particularly among those who have achieved eminence and primacy in the church hierarchy. At the risk of being controversial, he took it as his special mission, with the support of like-minded minds in the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, to have the voice of the Church heard on social issues that deeply affects the lives of the faithful.

Jaime L. Sin of New Washington, Aklan was ordained as a priest at 26. He served as a missionary priest, and as a First Rector and Domestic Prelate of Pope John XIII. He became a Bishop at 39, an Archbishop at 44, and was named Cardinal at 48, perhaps the youngest to be so honored. He was Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila in 1974, the same year that he was Vice President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines. A year after he became a Cardinal, in 1976, he was elected President of the CBCP and re-elected in 1979. As Cardinal, he became a permanent member of the Synod of Bishop in Rome and took on other memberships and special assignments in various Pontifical bodies.

The Cardinal wrote scores of articles and speeches on various Christian and faith-related subjects which saw print in important publications here and abroad, the most notable of which are those dwelling on Human Rights, Justice, and Peace. For his significant church-work and activist involvement in social concerns, he was honored with 24 honorary degrees in various schools here and abroad.

Apart from his heavenly reward, Jaime Cardinal Sin has no doubt earned a permanent niche in the hearts of all Filipinos who will be eternally be grateful to him for all the good he has done for the dispossessed and the downtrodden.

In 2003 the Cardinal retired as head of the Manila archdiocese. He died on June 21, 2005 due from multiple organ failure at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Manila.


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