Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, 76, the curiously named archbishop of Manila whose crucial support for his country's "people power" revolution of the 1980s made him one of the most politically influential members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, died June 21 in the Philippines.
The cardinal, who retired nearly two years ago, suffered from kidney and heart problems and had been prevented by health from attending the gathering of cardinals in Rome that selected a new pope this year.
Amid the swirling political ferment that engulfed the Philippines in 1986, the cardinal won international renown for helping tip the scales against the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos and in favor of Corazon Aquino.
At a key moment in February of that year, the cardinal called on his flock to surround the police and military headquarters in the nation's capital, Manila. More than 1 million people took to the streets, clutching Bibles and uttering prayers, in an outpouring that shielded anti-government rebels from attack.
That was one of the principal events in the revolution that forced the resignation of Marcos, whose regime, dating from the 1960s, had been accused of corruption, electoral fraud and violations of human rights.
Later, the cardinal, while delivering a homily at a Mass of thanksgiving, demonstrated what was described as unprecedented personal support for a political leader, clearly endorsing Aquino as he led a chant of "Co-ry! Co-ry!"
Beyond its effects on the Philippines, the peaceful ouster of Marcos has been cited as a milestone in the movement toward popularly chosen governments throughout the world.
The cardinal's actions did not necessarily make him a role model for political participation by the clergy, however. It was reported that he caused uneasiness at the Vatican and that he was summoned to Rome to explain himself.
Even as he challenged political authority, the cardinal was viewed as obedient to the authority of the church. He was known for staunch opposition to abortion and to artificial means of birth control.
In one example of his humor, the cardinal, who was one of the last of 15 children, told an interviewer that had his parents practiced birth control he never would have been born.
Those who met him found a rotund figure who was prone to wisecracks, and his jollity extended to his name. Visitors to his residence in Manila were received this way: "Welcome to the House of Sin."
It was reported that he received some votes in the gathering of cardinals that elected Pope John Paul II. Later it appeared that his name was being floated as a successor to John Paul, but he quickly quelled speculation.
"First of all," he said, "my name is bad."
The cardinal was born into a religious family, of Filipino and Chinese descent, in Aklan province. His country, with about 80 million people, is a stronghold of Catholicism in Southeast Asia, part of its heritage from the Spanish colonial period.
Jaime Sin was ordained as a priest in his mid-twenties and rose through the hierarchy to become bishop, archbishop and, in 1976, cardinal.
Although he had showed considerable ability early in his church career, some accounts indicated that in his early days in Manila, he showed little sign of his later opposition to the regime. But he was credited with vigorously resisting government attempts to raid a seminary in search of reputed political dissidents.
For years, his formal policy toward Marcos was described as one of "critical collaboration." While he refrained from condemnation of the regime, it was said, the cardinal nevertheless accorded himself the right to criticize, and he used it.
Objecting to inequality and opposing corruption, he was known as a voice of morality to Catholic communities throughout Southeast Asia.
As events reached their climax in the Philippines and an election was suddenly called, he admonished both Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, that holding on to power through fraudulent balloting schemes would be "unforgivable."
Sometime after the revolt that brought Aquino to power, the cardinal redefined his position on the government. While he still could be critical, his policy had become "critical solidarity."
The installation of Aquino did not bring to an end the cardinal's willingness to involve himself in political issues, especially those with a moral component.
He took issue at vital junctures with Aquino's successor, Fidel Ramos, and he later was influential in expelling the man who followed Ramos, Joseph Estrada. Estrada, who was the target of corruption charges, was ousted in 2001 after being impeached by the Congress.
"May God show him the heroic value of relinquishing his post for the sake of our people," the cardinal said.
In explaining his willingness to intervene in politics, he said the church "cannot proclaim eternal salvation to our flock when we are blind to the physical realities which deny them that very salvation here on earth."
Cardinal Sin retired after submitting the compulsory resignation letter at age 75.
"I have given my very best to God and country," he said in a statement. "I beg pardon from those I might have led astray or hurt. Please remember me kindly."