Pope accepts Cardinal Sin retirement

Pays tribute to Manila archbishop’s dedication, names Rosales as his successor in archdiocese

The Vatican announced yesterday Pope John Paul II’s acceptance of the retirement of Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin at the age of 75 and the naming of Lipa City (Batangas) Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales as his successor.

Cardinal Sin’s resignation and the designation of Archbishop Rosales as his successor was officially announced by the Vatican in Rome at noon yesterday. The news was released in Manila through Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

“I can say with gratitude that I have given my very best to God and country. I beg pardon from those I might have led astray or hurt,” Archbishop Cardinal Sin said in a press statement.

The Holy Father expressed his deep gratitude to Cardinal Sin “for his unconditional dedication and love for the people entrusted to his care, first in Jaro and then in Manila, for his great affection and devotion to the Successor of Peter, for his constant affirmation of Christian values in social life, and for his untiring action in defense of the common good.”

Cardinal Sin will continue to govern the Archdiocese of Manila as apostolic administrator with the power of ordinary bishop until his successor is formally brought into office.

Asked about the Vatican announcement, the office of the Archdiocese of Manila said Cardinal Sin’s resignation “may or may not be due to his failing health.”

The cardinal submitted his letter of resignation after his 75th birth anniversary — the age of retirement for bishops and non-bishops — in accordance with the Canon Law last Aug. 31.

Cardinal Sin urged his flock to “love, respect, and obey Archbishop-elect Rosales.”

“He deserves your utmost love and esteem,” he said.

The influential Sin, from New Washington, Aklan, has battled failing health in the past few years, forcing him to limit public appearances. Despite this, he continued to celebrate important masses and issue regular pastoral letters which often are critical of government policies.

He is one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the country and led the faithful in Manila in criticizing the regime and eventually ousting President Ferdinand Marcos throuhg the People Power Revolution in February 1986.

Cardinal Sin also led Filipinos in unseating former President Estrada after Congress impeached him for alleged corruption in January 2001.

His successor, Archbishop Rosales, 71, was born in Batangas City on August 10, 1932. He was ordained priest on March 23, 1958, at the age of 25.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Manila in 1974 and bishop of Malaybalay (Bukidnon) ten years later in 1984. He became the archbishop of Lipa on March 18, 1993.

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