, the country's bishops are claiming that the Venezuelan government aims to install a "military dictatorship, that is socialist, Marxist and communist."
The Catholic Church in Venezuela and the Venezuelan government have a long history of tension, but the comments by the president of the bishops' conference refer to a process initiated by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
to draft a new constitution for the country which he says, aims to end the many months of anti-government violence and bring peace to the country. However, the bishops have denounced the plan as illegitimate and illegal saying, that the proposed changes to the country's constitution would over-represent pro-government sectors that have support from less than a quarter of the population. Violent protests were sparked after the Supreme Court decided in April to strip the opposition-controlled parliament of its powers. Anti-government sentiment has also been fueled by the country's spiraling economic crisis in which Venezuelans have endured years of a deep economic recession with shortages of the basic necessities of life.
is reporting that child malnutrition is approaching crisis levels and the situation is getting desperate.
In the Philippines, the Catholic bishops
are calling for a "return to normalcy & peace as soon as possible." This statement comes as violence continues to escalate in the southern part of the country.
In a statement issued at the end of their bi-annual plenary meeting this weekend, the Philippine bishops are appealing for greater dialogue with Muslims, so that, “our faiths may not be exploited and abused for the sake of terrorism or violent extremism". We believe that the war in Marawi is not religious," the bishops said. We have heard of truly stunning stories of how Muslims have protected and helped Christians during the siege and also, how Christians have been assisting the thousands of Muslims who have fled from Marawi
."These are indisputable signs that there is no religious war".
At the conclusion of the plenary, the bishops elected Archbishop Romulo Valles
of Davao as the new president of the Catholic Bishop's Conference for the next two years.
Yet, however tragic and horrific this event was, it has somehow opened a new chapter in the relationship with their fellow Muslims. Cardinal Gérald Lacroix
, the archbishop of Quebec, recently spoke to me about how, after many months later, the Catholic - Muslim friendship and closeness has grown deep as a result of this sad moment in Canadian history.
That's all for today. I'm Noel Ocol.