But it was after the opposition leader Benigno Aquino was murdered at Manila airport as he returned from exile in 1983 that Sin's criticisms increased. He warned that there was an ugly mood in the country, which could lead to results that would hurt the poor. When Ronald Reagan pushed Marcos into a general election, Sin urged Aquino's widow Cory to run. As the government became more repressive in its efforts to win the vote, the national bishops' conference issued increasingly outspoken pastoral letters.Imedla Maros commented: "With the death of Cardinal Sin, let us pray that all Filipinos will at last be united in spirit." (Make of that remark what you will...)
After Marcos's victory, Mrs Aquino used the Church's radio station to call for non-violent resistance, prompting the defence minister and vice-chief of the defence staff to break with Marcos. As troops marched on their headquarters, Sin went on air calling "all the children of God" to protect the two former government members. During the next three days, hundreds of thousands of unarmed Filipinos formed a human shield in Manila's Avenue of the Epiphany of the Saints, pressing rosaries and sandwiches on the tank crews and thrusting flowers down the barrels of their guns and prevented them reaching the errant pair.
Soon Marcos fled to Hawaii. The whole episode was a miracle, Sin declared, "scripted by God, directed by the Virgin Mary and starring the Filipino people". After attending a large open-air Mass with President Aquino, he visited the Soviet Union and China before arriving in Rome. At his audience with Pope John Paul II, Sin declared that a moral dimension, not a political one, had been involved in the recent events. "He smiled because he understands," Sin explained afterwards. "He comes from Poland."
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Cardinal Sin, RIP
The Telegraph obituary focuses mainly on the late Cardinal's wit, but also gives a good account of the fall of the Marcos regime: