We are a people of dialogue. As such we have the moral obligation to search for the truth in freedom, the truth about God, about life, about ourselves, our country, our society, our world and the events around us.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Like All Great Personages, He was a Man of Contradiction

Like all great personages, he was a man of contradiction

Message at the funeral Mass for Jaime Cardinal Sin, Manila Cathedral June 28, 2005

On this prayerful day, the Church and the nation gather to bid final farewell to an outstanding Cardinal. Like all great personages, our beloved Cardinal Sin was a man of contradiction. He was loved and he was disliked. He was a gentle pastor and he was an unyielding prophet. He was a serious organizer and he was a witty jester. He was a conservative protecting the tradition of the Church and he was also a progressive who preferred work along the frontiers where brutal poverty broke human lives.

Unlike at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, there are no public banners clamoring for his early canonization “Santo Subito.” But etched in the heart of many of our people is an abiding sense of gratitude for the pastor and the shepherd that was Cardinal Sin.

That great gratitude of our people, we, bishops of the Philippines, also share.
No bishop stands alone. He needs an affective community where he experiences the unique joy reserved to those who belong to the brotherhood of bishops. We thank our brother Jaime who strengthened our ecclesial unity; he was a brother who regaled us with his humor and who came to our support in times of need.
No man, not even a Prince of the Church, enters eternity assured he has left nothing undoneand unfinished.

For Cardinal Sin, I surmise—the task he left undone which he leaves as a challenge to his bishop-brothers to assume and finish—is our much needed national reconciliation. He saw the great need for unity among Filipinos but it must have pained him deeply that his charisma remained insufficient to accomplish this elusive goal.

Dear Jaime, rest in the peace of our Father in Heaven. We your brother bishops shall carry on with our meager efforts the apostolate of national solidarity you left behind. Since we lack you instinctive insights into the essence of problems, since we are not gifted with your daring simplicity, and since we are unable to even imitate your unerring use of humor—we shall rely on your intercession in accomplishing this goal.

Vamos, Hermano Jaime! Vamos! Let us go to the Kingdom of our Father—for us to work for its coming, for you to enjoy eternal peace—in Christ united to His Spirit in company of our blessed Mother Mary whom you dearly loved during your sojourn in our vale of tears. Vamos… Jaime, vamos!

Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference

July 24, 2004