06/21/2005, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Mgr Cruz: Cardinal Sin, "a man larger than life"

Mgr Oscar V.Cruz, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, described Cardinal Sin to AsiaNews as a man "with the truth of the Gospel always before him, who never feared powerful people".

Lingayen-Dagupan (AsiaNews) – The death of Cardinal Jaime Sin "has shaken the foundations of the Filipino Church and society", but his memory "is immortal". This is what Mgr Oscar V.Cruz, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, had to say to AsiaNews about the life and legacy of the man he called "an elder brother".

"Cardinal Sin leaves a legacy not only for the Filipino Church but for the entire nation. I believe his memory will be immortal, because the work he achieved during his lifetime ensured he became an integral part of the society of this country. You know, he saved the Philippines from destruction," said Mgr Cruz. He is referring here to the role played by the deceased cardinal during the years of the dictatorship and overthrow of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

"He was a man who was never afraid of confronting powerful and influential people in defence of the truth and to promote human rights. This was the reason why corrupt and wicked people of this country never found support from Cardinal Sin. His courage and strength came from always bearing in mind that the truth of the Gospel is much more powerful than any other force".

At the moment, Filipino society seems to be reliving the years of the "Rosary Revolution": instead of marking the 107th anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence of the Philippines, on 11th June, the country's bishops declared a "Day of national Mourning", together leading a large demonstration to the Kilusang Makabayang Ekonomiya (KME National Economists' Movement) to protest against corruption and bad government in the country. "It is impossible that his spirit is not with us at this time when we face another crisis linked to power," continued Mgr Cruz. "Even if his body is no longer on this earth, we know that even if things go badly, we will never be without his help."

The funeral will be held in the cathedral of Manila, although the date has not been confirmed as yet. "I don't think the capital would ever dream of forgoing this privilege and honour to another city in the country," said the prelate. The archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan's personal memories are many, because he shared a good part of his life with the cardinal: "I was the rector of his seminary, I was his auxiliary bishop, I worked for a long time by his side. I consider him an elder brother, and I must say I learnt so much from him. I have also said that for me he was a blessing, because after my appointment as bishop [3 May 1976 in the cathedral of Manila ndr], he explained to me what to do and what not to do to give the best to the Church and to this society."

The archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan has already organised an ongoing sequence of masses in the cardinal's memory and for the repose of his soul.  However, the archbishop is "sure that there are masses under way in all the country, because frankly, this man was larger than life, much larger".

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