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Lawful government must stay, says Cardinal Sin

Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, denounced the desecration of a Catholic shrine and called on the Filipino people to protect the duly constituted government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amidst the massive protests by supporters of ousted President Joseph Estrada

"The enemies of democracy are a handful of people led by a few political leaders, candidates for the senate, connected with the old establishment", a local source told the Fides news agency. "The nation is in crisis; the enemies of law and public order are threatening."

Cardinal Sin was disturbed by the fact that the protest was being held at the EDSA national Shrine, which he said is holy ground and a symbol of peace.

At the request of the president of the Philippine Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Quevedo, prayers were held in dioceses across the archipelago in reparation for the EDSA Shrine's desecration.

Rector Mons. Villegas reports that the protesters are using foul language, singing obscene songs, disregarding the holiness of the Shrine, including the removal of the Vatican flag. Pictures of the ousted president have been pasted on the huge image of the Blessed Mother which stands prominently on top of the Shrine.

In his message to the people, Cardinal Sin said it was almost impossible to pray over the noise and rioting. "They are profaning a house of prayer, temple of God, monument to peace…They have positioned the loud speakers facing the doors of the church making it next to impossible to have a decent liturgy inside the church."