Jaime Sin

Article

May 17, 2022

Jaime Lachica Sin (August 31, 1928 – June 21, 2005) was a Filipino Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Manila. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1954, Sin worked as a missionary in the mountain villages of Panay and was subsequently rector of the St. Pius X seminary in Roxas for ten years. In 1967, Sin was ordained a bishop and assisted Archbishop Jose Maria Cuenco in leading the Archdiocese of Jaro. After Cuenco's death in 1972, Sin was named his successor. Two years later, he was appointed Archbishop of Manila. He was the de facto spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. He was created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1976. During his time as Archbishop of Manila, he became increasingly critical of the dictatorial regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. In 1986, Sin played a pivotal role in the fall of Marcos during the EDSA revolution. Even after the restoration of democracy, he continued to meddle in politics in the Philippines. He criticized progressive bills on contraception and divorce. In 2001, Sin was again implicated in the fall of a Philippine president. In January of that year, Joseph Estrada was forced to resign on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Sin passed away two years after his retirement in 2003. He was given a state funeral, after which his remains were interred in Manila Cathedral.

Biography

Origin

Jaime Sin was born on August 31, 1928 in New Washington, a place in the central province of Aklan in the Philippines. He was the seventh child in a family of nine children. His father, Sin Puat-co, was a Chinese who grew up in the city of Amoy, now called Xiamen. After becoming a widower, he emigrated to the Philippines around the age of 30. There he initially earned a living as a street trader in the capital Manila. After a few years he took the boat to Panay, to settle there in New Washington. He started a sari-sari shop there and was quite successful with it in a short time. Within five years his store was the largest in New Washington, at the time a town of about 10,000 people. During one of his visits to neighboring Kalibo, he met Maxima Lachica, twenty years his junior. After some time of courtship, Sin Puat-co converted to Catholicism for the very devout Lachica. He was baptized by the local priest and then took the name Juan Sin. Shortly afterwards, in February 1912, the couple married. Together they further expanded Sin's successful store. There was also a family expansion after the wedding. However, the first seven children all died in infancy. The children after that, with the exception of twins born after Jaime, all reached adulthood after being advised to bottle-feed them.

Vocation and training as a priest

From an early age, Sin showed an extraordinary interest in the priesthood. As a child, he played mass almost daily and was also an altar boy at the New Washington church. When he decided as a teenager that he wanted to become a priest, his father was against it at first. However, Mother Maxima was very happy with his decision and, without involving his father, helped him with his application for the St. Vincent Ferrer seminar in Jaro. He started training in June 1941, but his stay in the seminary would not last long. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines in December 1941, the institution had to close its doors. In 1943 his mother arranged for him to live in a rest home for priests in Kalibo pending reopening. He did the housework and cared for the priests during the years that the Japanese lived in the Philippines