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Quotes and news

Maduro attacks Vatican ‘violence’

The tension between Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and the Catholic Church continued to increase after his strong disapproval of a recent Vatican statement opposing his government’s plan to rewrite the nation’s Constitution. The plan had been criticised by the Venezuelan bishops and then by the Vatican.

Maduro used the very common tactic of alleging divisions in the Church. He said: “One thing is us, Catholics, the people of Christ; another is the trajectory of Pope Francis as a defendant of the peoples with his humility, and another very different one is the structure of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the bureaucracy.”

Maduro also accused the Vatican of “violence against the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela’s legitimate government, and Venezuela as a whole”.

Ethicists warns of ‘gene editing’

David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in England, strongly criticised the recent experiments in ‘genetic editing’ of human embryos. He said the procedure is a clear acceptance of eugenics – the science that tries to control breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.

Jones remarked that the experiment also involved “the reproductive exploitation of women” who contributed eggs for the research and the “experimentation on and destruction of embryos” in the process. Jones pointed out that the procedure aims “not to make people better but to make ‘better’ people.”

‘Pope loves China’

“Pope Francis loves China and the people of China,” Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told an audience in Beijing. Sanchez Sorondo is president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He was speaking in Beijing during a conference on organ donation. His comments were given prominence by the State-controlled media.

14.5m Christians in Middle East

There are 14,526,000 Christians in nine Middle Eastern states . This is an increase of close to a quarter of a million since 2010. The countries surveyed are Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey. Their total popu­lation is 258 million. The report was based on a recent study by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association on Christians in the Middle East. The number of Christians in the Middle East in general is going down due to persecution. In Syria alone the number has fallen from 2.2 million in 2010 to 1.2m.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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