Philippine Cardinal apologises to poor for neglecting them
The influential Cardinal Jaime Sin apologised to the poor of the Philippines on Sunday, acknowledging that the church has neglected them and made them easy prey for selfish, powerful people.
"We would like to ask the poor for forgiveness," Sin said. "We should listen to the poor's complaints. We should not wait for another crisis before we open our eyes."
Sin made the rare gesture during a Mass at a historic shrine where tens of thousands of ousted President Joseph Estrada's mostly poor followers gathered for six days in late April before storming the presidential palace.
Riot police crushed the 1 May assault, regarded by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as part of a plot by opposition politicians to force her from power. At least six people were killed.
Speaking at the EDSA shrine, Sin offered reconciliation to the poor and assured them that the church is not "anti-Estrada, but pro-morality".
The shrine was the site of nonviolent gatherings called by Sin that helped topple dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and then Estrada in January.
Estrada won the presidency on a platform to help the poor, and the poor became the backbone of his once massive political support. But protests over allegations of corruption drove him from office on 10 January. He denies any wrongdoing.