Posts Tagged ‘vatican’

Pope to Turkish authorities: religious freedom a key factor for peace

Vatican City, Nov 28, 2014 / 07:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis spoke to Turkish authorities on Friday of the need to create a lasting peace – one based on a fraternal solidarity which respects human dignity and man’s essential right t…

Pope: don’t be depressed – despite our ugly reality, we have hope

Vatican City, Nov 27, 2014 / 09:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily on Thursday Pope Francis said that although sin and corruption often seem to win out over good, Jesus gives us a promise of hope which enables us to keep “our heads held high.”

“Do not give way to depression: Hope! Reality is ugly: there are many, many cities and people, so many people who are suffering; many wars, so much hatred, so much envy, so much spiritual worldliness and so much corruption. Yes, it’s true, (but) all of this will fall!” the Pope said on Nov. 27.

The Roman Pontiff offered his reflections to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse for his daily mass. He began by turning to the day’s readings, which recount the ill fate of the biblical cities of Babylon and Jerusalem.

Both cities fell for different reasons, he said, explaining that Babylon “falls because of its corruption” and warned that when sin accumulates, “you lose the ability to react and you start to rot.”

Corruption gives a person a certain level of happiness, so they feel that they have power and that they are satisfied with themselves, the Pope said, however it leaves no room for God or for conversion.

“(The) word ‘corruption’ says a lot to us today: not only economic corruption, but corruption with many different sins; the corruption of that pagan spirit, that worldly spirit. The worst (form of) corruption is the spirit of worldliness!”

A corrupt culture makes you feel like you are already in heaven, however the truth is that “the corrupt culture is rotten.” Babylon, the Bishop of Rome said, is an example of every person and society who have distanced themselves from God, leading to corruption that eventually gives way to rot.

Jerusalem, on the other hand, falls because she fails to welcome her Bridegroom, the pontiff said. The city was “distracted,” and because of this it fails “to welcome the Lord who comes to her rescue.”

Pope Francis noted that although Jerusalem had the writings of Moses and all the prophets, “She did not feel in need of salvation. She left no room for salvation: her door was closed to the Lord!”

Although the Lord was knocking on Jerusalem’s door, her people were not willing to let him in, listen to him or be rescued by him, the Roman Pontiff observed, so she falls.

He then took the fate of the cities to a personal level, and asked those present which city they identified with: the “corrupt and self-sufficient Babylon (or the) distracted Jerusalem?”

Pope Francis continued, alluding to how the coming end of the Church’s liturgical calendar is a reminder of the end of times and of the Lord’s second coming.

Despite the fate of the two cities in the day’s reading, the pontiff stressed that “the message of the Church in these days does not end with destruction: in both texts, there is a promise of hope,” and Jesus urges us to lift our heads and not to be afraid.

“When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history, let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads,” he said, noting that while the world is still full of suffering and hatred, we know it will come to an end.

The Pope explained that the different evils and trials that we face “have their time,” which is now, and that we must endure this time with patience, like Jesus endured his passion and death.

He concluded his homily by praying that the Lord would give to all “the grace to be prepared for the banquet that awaits us, always with our heads held high.”

The Church isn’t static – she’s a pilgrim on a journey, Pope says

Vatican City, Nov 26, 2014 / 05:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis in his weekly general audience said that the Church on earth is on a pilgrimage to heaven guided by the Lord, who will lead us to the fullness of joy and truth at the end of time.

“In today’s catechesis we reflect on the Church (that is) on pilgrimage to the kingdom,” the Pope told those present in St. Peter’s Square for his Nov. 26 audience.

“As was well affirmed in the Second Vatican Council, the Church is not a static reality, but continually journeys throughout history to the final and marvelous goal, which is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Church, the Roman Pontiff continued, is not an end in herself, but is rather the “seed and beginning” of what will be experienced in heaven.

When faced with this reality we realize that our imagination is limited, and that the splendor of the mystery of the Kingdom of God far surpasses what we are capable of seeing or perceiving it to be, the Pope observed.

Questions that arise with realization are often “when will this final passage take place? What will the new dimension of the Church be like? What then will happen to humanity? And to the Creation that surrounds us?” he noted.

Scripture tells us that although we do not know the day or time that the Lord will come again, we know that he is preparing a “new dwelling,” in which “the universe will be transformed and we will be fully enveloped by joy, peace and the love of God in the new heavenly Jerusalem,” the pontiff explained.

Pope Francis then spoke of the beauty of the communion that exists between the heavenly and earthly Church, saying that the Church in heaven sustains and guides us through her intercession.

The Kingdom of God, the pontiff explained, “is already inside of us, (but) we go forward journeying with God; Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who are the fullness (of the Kingdom).”

As members of the pilgrim Church on earth, part of our mission entails praying for the souls in purgatory who are waiting to enter into eternal happiness, he continued.

However, he noted that from the Christian perspective, distinction is not made “between who has died or who has not, but between who is with Christ and who is not; this is the fundamental and decisive element for our happiness.”

The Bishop of Rome then referred to the writings of St. Paul, noting how the apostle tells us that at the end of time it will not only be humanity that is freed from corruption, but also the entirety of creation.

“All things will be brought into the fullness of being, truth and beauty. This is God’s design for us and the Church’s vocation,” he said, explaining that paradise is not so much a place as it is a state of being.

In this state, which is being prepared by for us by God, all of our hopes will be fulfilled and we will be freed from all evil, including death itself, the pontiff observed.

“Although we (often) ignore the time in which the end of all creation will arrive, we know by Revelation that God is preparing for us a new earth, where justice will dwell and happiness will satisfy the desires of the human heart in a superabundant way,” he said.

The Roman Pontiff concluded his address by asking for the intercession of Mary in helping us to be signs of hope for our brothers and sisters.

He greeted pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including England, Kenya, Nigeria, Canada, the United States, Spain, Argentina and México.

Is dialogue with terrorists a lost cause? Pope Francis says no

Aboard the papal plane, Nov 25, 2014 / 10:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to journalists in-flight on his way back from Strasbourg, Pope Francis touched on dialogue with extremist terrorists – saying that although it’s difficult, the door is never completely closed.

“Never give up anything for lost, never. Possibly you can’t have dialogue but never close a door,” the Pope said in response to a question posed by international reporters on the papal plane Nov. 25.

Although dialogue might be challenging – “you could say almost impossible” – the “door is always open, no?”

Pope Francis responded to six questions posed to him in Italian during a brief press conference held on his return flight from Strasbourg, France, where he addressed the local seat of European Parliament as well as that of the European Council.

In his response to the question on terrorism, posed by Andreas Englisch from Random House, the Pope noted how the journalist twice used the word threat when asking about “the terroristic threat and the threat of slavery,” particularly the slavery of human trafficking.

“It’s true. Terrorism is a reality and also a threat. But, slavery is a reality inserted in the social fabric of today. But for a long time,” the Bishop of Rome observed, saying that the phenomenon of human trafficking is “a drama” that often involves the sale of children.

He encouraged the handful of journalists present not to “close our eyes” to the daily reality of slavery, which exploits people.

Terrorism, on the other hand, has another aspect besides the terrorists we are familiar with, and that is “the terrorism of states,” the pontiff said.

“When things increase more and more and every state, for its part, feels the right to massacre terrorists and with the terrorists there are so many innocent people who fall. This is a high-level anarchy which is very dangerous.”

He explained that terrorism needs to be fought, and repeated what he said during the in-flight press conference on his way back from South Korea: “When you need to stop the unjust aggressor, you have to do it with international consensus. No nation has the right to stop an unjust aggressor on its own.”

Pope Francis had spoken about the presence of terrorism in both of his speeches for the day, first telling members of parliament that by holding true to their religious roots, they would become “more immune to the many forms of extremism spreading in the world today.”

The Pope said that cause of this extremist is due in large part to “the great vacuum of ideals” that are currently being espoused in the West, and warned that it is primarily because of “man’s forgetfulness of God and his failure to give him glory” that such violence arises.

In his speech to the European Council, the Pope said that peace is often “put to the test” by various forms of conflict, including religious conflicts and international terrorism which claims the lives of innocent victims.

This terrorism is “unfortunately bankrolled by a frequently unchecked traffic in weapons,” he noted, and condemned the ongoing phenomenon of the arms trade, as well as that of human trafficking.

During his return trip from Strasbourg Pope Francis also responded to a question from Spanish-speaking journalists regarding the current situation unfolding in Granada, Spain, in which three priests have been accused of abusing a youth over a decade ago.

The alleged victim, now a 24-year-old man, wrote a letter to the Vatican speaking of his abuse. He eventually received a call from Pope Francis, who encouraged him to go to local authorities, and has already filed a lawsuit against the 3 priests, who have been removed from their ministry.

In addition to the Pope’s words, the young man has also been in contact with Granada’s Archbishop Javier Martinez Fernandez, who has been in contact with both the victim and Vatican officials since mid-August.

When asked how he received the news of the alleged abuse, Pope Francis said that he took it with “great sorrow. Really deep sorrow. But, the truth is the truth and we shouldn’t hide it.”

The Pope said that he called the young man and told him “you go to the bishop tomorrow,” and also wrote the bishop telling him to “begin the work, to make an investigation and move forward.”

In addition to these topics, Pope Francis also responded to questions surrounding his devotion to St. Joseph, his return to France for a longer pastoral trip next year and the gaze with which he looks while on papal trips, whether it be as the Successor of St. Peter, the Bishop or Rome, or Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

He also answered questions surrounding the topics of transversality between nations, which he spoke about in his speech to the European Council, and whether or not he considers himself a “social-Democratic” Pope.

Before retiring for the rest of the flight, the Pope thanked journalists for their work on a “truly busy day,” and asked again for continued prayers.

Andrea Gagliarducci contributed to this report.

Pope tells ‘haggard’ Europe that human dignity is key to renewal

Vatican City, Nov 25, 2014 / 05:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis’ address to the European Parliament touched on a variety of issues, all of which, he said, ought to promote the “centrality” of the human person so that a true cultu…

Scholars: No, Benedict XVI doesn’t support Kasper in Synod debates

Vatican City, Nov 25, 2014 / 02:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new volume of Benedict XVI’s collected works includes an updated version of a 1972 essay in which he had suggested that the divorced and remarried could receive Communion – but the Pope had long since abandoned that position, scholars noted.

“In his book The Gospel of the Family, Cardinal Walter Kasper cites a 1972 essay by Joseph Ratzinger … it is unfortunate that Cardinal Kasper failed to mention that Ratzinger retracted the proposal or ‘Vorschlag’ outlined in his 1972 essay,” Dr. Nicholas Healy, an assistant professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., told CNA Nov. 24.

As a priest of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Joseph Ratzinger – who would later become Pope Benedict XVI – published an essay in 1972 which argued for access, under certain limited conditions, to Communion for the divorced and remarried. While affirming the indissolubility of marriage, Ratzinger and similar authors “appealed to certain passages in the Church Fathers that seem to allow leniency in emergency situations,” Healy wrote in a recent issue of Communio.

This line of argument was taken up in a 1977 book by Walter Kasper, who was then a priest of the Diocese of Rottenburg.

That year, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising, and in that capacity he participated in the 1980 Synod on the Family, where he stated that “it will be up to the synod to show the correct approach to pastors” in the matter of Communion for the divorced and remarried.

The concluding document of that synod, 1981′s Familiaris consortio, found that “reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they ‘take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.’”

Days after that document was issued, Cardinal Ratzinger was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Then, in 1991, a canon lawyer, Fr. Theodore Davey, suggested that Confession and spiritual direction could open up the way for the divorced and remarried to receive Communion, and cited Ratzinger’s 1972 essay in support of his position.

Cardinal Ratzinger quickly retracted the “suggestions” of his 1972 essay as no longer tenable, because they were made “as a theologian in 1972. Their implementation in pastoral practice would of course necessarily depend on their corroboration by an official act of the magisterium to whose judgment I would submit … Now the Magisterium subsequently spoke decisively on this question in the person of (St. John Paul II) in Familiaris consortio.”

The issue re-emerged in 1993, when Kasper, then Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, as well as two other German bishops, wrote a letter referring, according to Healy, to the teaching of Familiaris consortio as “a general norm that, while true, cannot regulate all of the very complex individual cases.”

The following year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a letter to bishops, reminding them that “if the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists.”

The letter, written by Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by St. John Paul II, moreover stated that “members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion … pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.”

Cardinal Ratzinger and his congregation followed up on that letter, which “was met with a very lively response,” by studying several of the more significant objections to it.

The cardinal’s follow-up letter, published in 1998, noting that while varying from the “oikonomia” practice of the Eastern Orthodox and the opinions of a few among the Church Fathers, the practice of the Catholic Church “recovered … the original concept of the Church Fathers,” which prohibits a “more varied praxis” regarding Communion for the divorced and remarried.

Finally, after his election as Pope Benedict XVI, Ratzinger wrote Sacramentum caritatis, the concluding document of the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist, which noted that “where the nullity of the marriage bond is not declared and objective circumstances make it impossible to cease cohabitation, the Church encourages these members of the faithful to commit themselves to living their relationship in fidelity to the demands of God’s law, as friends, as brother and sister; in this way they will be able to return to the table of the Eucharist, taking care to observe the Church’s established and approved practice in this regard.”

Healy described each of these final three writings of Ratzinger – from 1994, 1998, and 2007 – saying that “on each occasion he reaffirmed the ‘constant and universal’ practice of the Church of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.”

“In short, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is adamantly opposed to the proposal of Cardinal Kasper and suggests that the teaching office of the Church already has resolved this question with a certain definitiveness.”

Despite this, Ratzinger’s 1972 essay has been cited by Cardinal Kasper in support of his desire to admit the divorced and remarried, under certain conditions, to the Eucharist.

Yet in a newly-published edition of his collected works, available in German at the end of November, Ratzinger has amended the text of his 1972 essay. The emendation was first noted by Matthias Drobinski, of the German daily ‘Suddeutsche Zeitung’.

“The new version excludes the crucial final paragraphs quoted by Cardinal Kasper,” according to The Irish Times. “Now Benedict stops short of his earlier call, arguing instead for the Church to rethink existing marriage annulment procedures to allow greater leeway on dealing with remarried couples.”

“Church watchers suggest the redacted essay should be seen as a warning by Benedict to his little-loved German rival in the Vatican, Cardinal Kasper, who has been liberally quoting the essay to justify a more liberal church teaching on remarriage.”

Fr. Vincent Twomey, who studied under Ratzinger, told The Irish Times that the omission of those paragraphs “was a ‘significant’ attempt by the former pope to prevent his earlier words – written in a different context, time and role – being used against him now.”

Healy told CNA that the development in Ratzinger’s thought since his 1972 essay reflects a willingness to think with the Church in the light of the Magisterium.

“Joseph Ratzinger’s writings will remain a source and guide for future generations not only because of the breadth and depth of his wisdom, but, above all, because he shows us what it means to think with the Church. Sentire cum ecclesia means allowing one’s partial perspectives to be integrated into the greater whole of the Church’s faith and occasionally corrected by the teaching office of the Church.”

Pope says Mass of thanksgiving for India’s newest saints

Vatican City, Nov 24, 2014 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- God’s love is the “source” and “destination” of all holiness, said Pope Francis on Nov. 24, speaking of India’s newly declared saints during a Mass of thanksgiving in the Vatican.

The Mass was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica, and attended by pilgrims from India who have come to Rome to celebrate the canonization of  Saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Euphrasia Eluvathingal on Nov. 23.

Presiding over the celebration, the Pope expressed his gratitude for the Church in India. He said the country’s Kerala region, which is the birthplace of Saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Euphrasia Eluvathingal, is “fertile” with vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The Pope reminded the pilgrims who are in Rome for the canonization that, amid the celebrations and “intense spirituality,” they should also “contemplate the glorious work accomplished by the Lord through the lives and works of the new saints.”

Both members of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, Saints Kuriakose and Euphrasia serve as reminders “that God’s love is the source, destination, and support for all holiness,” Pope Francis said. He added the this love is manifested most clearly in “love of neighbor.”

He recalled how Saint Kuriakose, who founded the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in 1836 as the first male congregation of the Syro-Malabar Rite, spent his life working for the Church according to the maxim: “sanctification of self and salvation of others.”

For her part, Saint Euphrasia, who served as superior general for the congregation, “lived in profound union with God,” becoming an example to those around her who referred to her as “Praying mother,” the Pope said.

The pontiff concluded his homily by calling the faithful to follow the examples of Saints Kuriakose and Euphrasia, especially in their “love for the Eucharistic Jesus and the Church”, thereby advancing along “the path of sanctity.”

Cardinal Sarah appointment paves the way for new Curia

Vatican City, Nov 24, 2014 / 05:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Robert Sarah has been appointed as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — a decision that sets a decisive tone for Curial reform.

The cardinal’s first steps have been announced to the heads of the Vatican’s dicasteries during their meeting with the Pope this morning.

Until now Cardinal Sarah has served as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and will take over the post of Prefect of a congregation whose ranks have been profoundly changed since the previous prefect, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, was appointed archbishop of Valencia, Spain on Aug. 28.

Fr. Anthony Ward and Msgr. Miguel Anguel Ferrer, the two undersecretaries of the Congregation, were released with immediate effect Nov. 5, and replaced by Fr. Corrado Maggioni, who was promoted to the post of ‘unique undersecretary’ on Nov. 13.

This round of appointments came as a surprise, as Fr. Ward had been an appreciated official of the Congregation’s English section for more than 15 years. For his part, Msgr. Ferrer was a personal pick of Cardinal Canizares, with whom he shared a particular sensitivity for the traditional Latin Mass.

Msgr. Maggioni, on the other hand, is a disciple of Archbishop Piero Marini, formerly the papal Master of Ceremonies of John Paul II, who is known for being enthusiastic for innovative forms of the liturgy.

With his taste and experience, Cardinal Sarah is called to re-balance the Congregation for Divine Worship. The cardinal thus leaves the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which will likely be dissolved into a bigger Congregation.

Cardinal Sarah went to a private audience with Pope Francis Nov. 13. According to Vatican sources, the cardinal was requested to give his perspective on the possible enrolling of his dicastery into a larger structure, and he gave the Pope his suggestions. He was also asked if he was available for this new post.

The placement of Cardinal Sarah is the first of a series of major appointments. The Secretariat of State’s new “Foreign minister,” British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, was appointed last week.

It is expected that a new Substitute for General Affairs will also soon be chosen, thus replacing Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who has held the position as third-in-command since Benedict XVI’s reign.

If the archbishop were to be moved, it would be another signal of Pope Francis’ aim to shape the Secretariat of State with people chosen directly by the current Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Pope Francis tells how to bring about Christ’s kingdom

Vatican City, Nov 23, 2014 / 09:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On the Feast of Christ the King, during the canonization Mass of six new saints, Pope Francis said that Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes through his works of mercy–works that Christians must im…

Build on the fruit of missionaries, Pope encourages Zambian bishops

Vatican City, Nov 23, 2014 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his ad limina address to the bishops of Zambia on Monday, Pope Francis urged them to continue to build upon the efforts of missionaries to the country, a quarter of whose people are Catholic, and who are nearly all Christian.

“Looking back to the beginnings of the Church in Zambia, it is well known that the rich deposit of faith brought by missionary religious from lands overflowing with growth prompted your forebears to respond with their own works of charity, whose effects are felt throughout your country today,” the Pope said Nov. 17 at the Vatican.

“Despite the sometimes painful meeting of ancient ways with the new hope that Christ the Lord brings to all cultures, the word of faith took deep root, multiplying a hundredfold, and a new Zambian society transformed by Christian values emerged. It is at once evident how plentiful the spiritual harvest in your vast land already is – blessed with Catholic-run clinics, hospitals and schools, many parishes alive and growing across Zambia, a wide diversity of lay ministries, and substantial numbers of vocations to the priesthood.”

A southern African nation, Zambia was colonized in the 19th century; it is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. It has 11 dioceses, and has been relatively untroubled by war since its independence.

Pope Francis noted that today, “Zambians continue to seek a happy and fulfilling future in the Church and in society, despite great challenges which militate against stability in social and ecclesial life, in particular for families. When family life is endangered, then the life of faith is also put at risk. As you yourselves have recounted, many – especially the poor in their struggle for survival – are led astray by empty promises in false teachings that seem to offer quick relief in times of desperation.”

He urged that the bishops support the family, “for it is here that the Church’s well-being in Zambia must grow and be fostered. I ask you, with your priests, to form strong Christian families, who – by your catechizing – will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply, and thus be protected from those currents which may tempt them to fall away.”

“Affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children, helping them to nurture the life of virtue in the family,” he exhorted.

The bishops, he said, are to be close to young people so as to help them find their vocation, whether it is in marriage or “the celibate vocations to the sacred priesthood or religious life .. encourage young Catholics by living lives of virtue to experience the liberating gift of chastity as adults.”

“In a special way invite those who have grown lukewarm and feel lost to return to the full practice of the faith. As pastors of the flock, do not forget to seek out the weakest members of Zambian society, among whom are the materially poor and those afflicted with AIDS.”

The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the nation is around 13 percent, and the adjusted per capita GDP is $1,700.

“Despite all that the Church in Zambia faces,” Pope Francis said, “it is a time not to be discouraged but rather to offer the true freedom which only the Lord can give, sustained by the sacraments.”

“I encourage you to remain sensitive as shepherds to the spiritual and human needs of your closest coworkers: never tire of being kind and firm fathers to your priests, helping them resist materialism and the standards of the world, while recognizing their just needs. Continue also to promote the treasure of religious life in your Dioceses, so that outstanding examples may be brought forth of Zambian men and women seeking to love the Lord with undivided hearts.”

The Pope noted the Oct. 28 death of Zambia’s president, Michael Sata, and invited the bishops to “continue working with your political leaders for the common good, deepening your prophetic witness in defence of the poor in order to uplift the lives of the weak.”

“In all things, cooperate with the graces of the Holy Spirit, in unity of belief and purpose,” he concluded.

“The Lord of the harvest is preparing to send the rains he promises in due season; for you are cultivating his fields until he returns at harvest time. Until then, knowing well how much your work demands personal sacrifice, patience and love, draw on the faith and sacrifice of the Apostles to whose threshold you have come, in order to return strengthened to the Church in Zambia.”

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