Benedict XVI’s resignation 5 years on. Your thoughts.

Five years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would abdicate, effective 28 February.  My posts on that day.   HERE

Lightening struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Feast then, as today, of Our Lady of Lourdes.

I remember where I was when I heard the news.  I’ll be you do too.

Five years down the road, what are your thoughts about this monumental event?

Please.  Switch on a filter or two and think before posting.  The moderation queue is ON for this and for all posts.

The Holy Father: ipsissimis verbis

Click HERE.

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Posted in Pope of Christian Unity | Tagged | 60 Comments

Carmelite Nuns seeking Priest Chaplain

The last time I played yenta for a group of sisters looking for a chaplain, the results were pretty good!  HERE

Today I received a note from Mother Mary Bethany OCD, of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Georgetown, California (D. Sacramento).

They need a new chaplain by MARCH.

I asked for some details and Mother wrote back:

We are requesting a (reverent) Novus Ordo Mass, which most of our Sisters are used to.  Our Divine Office is in English also.

Our chaplain would have the use of a furnished house on our property, a car, a stipend commensurate with his needs and/or our abilities.  We would hope for Confessions every two weeks, and a Benediction /Adoration service on Sunday afternoons.

We are located in the Sierra Nevada foothills in a quiet rural place, so our chaplain should be able to endure silence & solitude, with some limited apostolate to the little town of Georgetown if he is able.  Not necessary.

There are 14 of us, 2 novices in formation and 12 black veils, ranging in age from 20 – 85.

We’re dedicated to St Therese , we love the Holy Face devotions, we love St Teresa of Avila!

Our bishop is Jaime Soto (Sacramento) and he is aware of our search.

Our phone is 530-333-1617.

Fr. Yenta now steps aside.

I won’t do this very often.  However, when I saw their page about the restoration of a statue of Our Lady of the Clergy, I admit that my cold, black heart warmed slightly for maybe.. two beats.  I’ve been looking for a statue of her for a while.

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Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole, Women Religious | Tagged | Leave a comment

JUST TOO COOL! Wherein Fr. Z is AMAZED at … coincidences? I think not.

Okay… someone tell me what’s going on here!  (Trick question.  I think I know.)

As you recall, I have a great portable altar from St. Joseph’s Apprentice, and Pelican case to ship it in.  HERE

I also now have great reversible travel vestments for that altar, including little frontals.

I’m am also getting ready for an interesting pilgrimage to S. Italy and Sicily in April and May.

So… I’m thinking about this situation, of the portable altar, the case, the shipping.  What to do?


Meanwhile, I get out a DVD of… “Hey, I haven’t seen this for a while!”… For Greater Glory.  It’s about the Cristeros.

After weighing my options, I call St. Joseph’s Apprentice, and told him to start making a “Wilderness Altar” for me.  After all, I won’t need the internal storage space inside my other beautiful altar, because I have the case with the formable foam.  That’ll lighten the load and I’ll have more storage space.

I had seen photos of the Wilderness Altar on his site.  HERE

During our phone conversation, St. Joseph’s Apprentice told me how meaningful it had been to make that altar (above), which contains a relic of the Mexican boy martyr… Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río.

For Greater Glory… portable altar… St. José Luis Sánchez del Río ….

Then – out of the blue? – I get an email from a priest entitled “Viva Cristo Rey!”   With an attached photo of… St. José Luis Sánchez del Río!

Father says that TODAY is the Feast of St. José, who was murdered exactly 90 years ago today: 10 February 1928.

I called up St. Joseph’s Apprentice to tell him that, and he tells me that the first altar he ever made had a link to the… Cristeros.

He explained that he had built a shrine for his brother in law and the local priest came to bless it.  Afterward, the priest said he wanted an altar built for an altar stone he had been given by another priest.  It was from the Cristeros.  That was Altar #1!

So, folks, you tell me what’s going on with this.

I suspect that this project and the upcoming pilgrimage may have the smile of “Joselito”, which is a diminutive of “José… Joseph”, which might be used to describe a certain builder of beautiful portable altars, who was Cristeros inspired.

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Just Too Cool, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Concerning lying by omission, the perils of words, and the advantages of silence

At First Things there is a piece by Ramona V. Tausz, who rightly admires the discretion of Queen Elizabeth II regarding the media and too much public exposure.  She writes:

[T]here is something refreshing about Elizabeth herself. Nowadays, we expect our politicians, presidents, and even popes to be stars—celebrities who express their individuality in tweet-storms and air their every whim on Facebook. Elizabeth’s remarkable discretion (The Coronation marks the first time she has agreed to an on-camera interview) may strike us as both odd and downright boring. Yet her infamously “stringent control” over media access to the monarchy is integral to her success. For sixty-six years she has faced the challenge of balancing her individuality as Elizabeth Windsor with her public persona as Elizabeth Regina, and in all her time on the throne she has rarely permitted her personality to overshadow her office. It is this regal emphasis on office—on “the monarchy, not the monarch,” as Claire Foy’s Elizabeth puts it in The Crown—that Americans could stand to learn from.

Not only Americans.

I would also hazard to say, many churchmen around the world of every possible level.

Two principles.

1- Less is more.  Keep in mind that familiarity breeds contempt.
2 – By and large the media is not to be trusted.

The latter was evident to me and my recent unfortunate experience with a BuzzFeed reporter.  He was going to write an article about me anyway – I am convinced at the behest of people who pretty much hate my guts and want me silenced – and it probably would have been worse had I not consented to a meeting and interview before the final product was excreted for public view.

That experience was a good lesson, because it was an example of how reporters lie by understatement.  I wrote about understatement – HERE – also in regard to the Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin, who deceives – like Geryon with the face of an honest man – by leaving out something really important that ought not to be left out.  Leaving out something of critical importance is a form of lying.   In the case of the BuzzFeed piece, the reporter began his deception from the top, by quoting something controversial that I wrote, but – with ellipsis … left something critical out.  He deceived.

There is a great moment in the Old Testament that shows how deceptive “understatement” can be.   Take the machinations in the Book of Esther about Haman – loathed by Jews, and rightly so.

Haman was the adviser of the Persian King Ahasuerus.  This is the time of the Babylonian Captivity for the Jews.   Haman plots to have all the Jews killed.  He needs Ahasuerus to sign on.  How to convince him?  Haman lies to him by telling him the truth… partly.   First, Haman tells the king that that Jews are spread through his whole kingdom, which was true.  That makes the Jews seem to be a factor for the whole kingdom, were they to become a problem.  Next, Haman tells the king that the Jews obey different laws than the rest of the people, which was true but only partially true.  They obeyed the Jewish dietary laws, etc., but Haman left out that they also obeyed the king’s laws.  The omission of that last bit, the Jews’ obedience to the king’s laws, made the Jews seem a) widespread and b) disobedient, therefore dangerous.  Finally, Haman concludes with an plain lie: Jews must not be tolerated.  Ahasuerus issues the edict to kill all the Jews.  He deceives by the juxtaposition of truth, half truth and outright falsehood.

What Haman did was so appalling that, on the feast of Purim (celebrating the deliverance of the Jews) and their reading of the Book of Esther, when Haman’s name comes up in the text they substitute a noisemaker called a “grogger”, much like the twirly gizmos we use during the Triduum instead of bells.

That’s how most of the media, especially secular media, works.  Alas, that’s how some churchmen these days work as well.  I recently read something spectacularly wrong about the primacy of conscience that was perfectly deceptive, though it was couched in otherwise true terms.  Important – really important stuff was left out.

Haman – Patron of BuzzFeed, etc.

The Book of Esther is a terrific story, btw, and part of our family history.  I digress.

When we choose to speak, we should weigh words carefully and think.  The Italian proverb I learned in my first week or so of Italian seminary is: Prima pensa, poi parla, perché parole poco pensate portano pena … First, think, then speak, because words which have been weighed little bring penalties.  If we speak on something important, we must be careful to include all the bits that really matter to the topic.  The “whole” truth, as it were.

The flip side of speaking with precision, is not to speak at all. Not rarely in both the pulpit and the confessional I comment that we could avoid a lot of sins (trouble) if we were just to keep our mouths shut.   The more we talk, in general, the greater the chance is that we can get ourselves into trouble.  Unintentional trouble is still trouble.

But, “who am I to judge”?

So, churchmen out there… be careful.  Learn from the discretion of Queen Elizabeth when it comes to the press.  Less can be more.

And when WE are elected to the See of Peter, We shall – firstly, suppress the Jesuits, and then we will disappear into the Apostolic Palace for stretches of time so long that some will wonder if we have died.

At this point I will shut up and direct you all to Card. Sarah’s wonderful book.

Benedict XVI wrote a brief essay as an afterword for a future re-printing of Robert Card. Sarah’s great book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.


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WDTPRS – 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time: “kissing the porch”

kiss of peaceFor this Ordinary Form calendar Sunday, we have reached the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

In the Extraordinary Form this Sunday is the sober but helpful, purple-draped pre-Lent Quinquagesima Sunday.  The calendar is helping those who follow the TLM to prepare for a fruitful Lent.  The Gloria is already gone and the Alleluia has been buried until the resurrection.

In the Ordinary Form – still in cheery green with its Gloria and Alleluia – we have a Collect based on a prayer in the 8th c. Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis  for the Sunday after Ascension Thursday… yes, Thursday, not Ascension Thursday Sunday.

Deus, qui te in rectis et sinceris manere pectoribus asseris, da nobis tua gratia tales exsistere, in quibus habitare digneris.

Take note of the word gratia.

Pectus signifies a range of things from “the breast bone, chest”, “stomach” and therefore moral concepts like “courage” and other “feelings, dispositions”.  More on men with “chests” HERE. It also refers to the “spirit, soul, mind, understanding.” In the ancient world, the heart was thought in some ways to be the seat also of the mind and understanding, not just of feelings and emotions. It is reasonable to translate this as “upright and pure hearts”. Exsisto “to step out, emerge” and also “spring forth, proceed, arise, become.” It also means “to be visible or manifest in any manner, to exist, to be.”


O God, who declared that You remain in upright and pure hearts, grant us to manifest ourselves to be, by Your grace, the sort of people in whom You deign to abide.


O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.

I think they did a back-flip here to avoid using the word “deign”.  We need more “deigning”.


God our Father, you have promised to remain for ever with those who do what is just and right. Help us to live in your presence.

No reference to “grace”, even though it is at the heart of the original.

In today’s Collect the distinction between “be” and “show forth” is tissue thin.

We must be on the outside what we are inside.  Or rather, outwardly pious and practicing Christians must be sincerely and truly on the inside what we strive to show on the outside.

At baptism the Holy Spirit enters our lives in the manner of one coming to dwell in a temple.


With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes “habitual” or sanctifying grace and all His gifts and fruits by which we live both inwardly and outwardly in conformity with His presence.

We manifest His presence outwardly when He is present within. There is nothing we do to merit this gift of His presence and yet, mysteriously, we still have a role to play in His deigning to dwell in our souls.

If you (and others) don’t see the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit in your words and deeds… could it be asked if you are really in the state of grace?

We can make choices about our lives. We can make use of the gifts and graces God gives, allow Him to make our hands strong enough to hold on to all He deigns to bequeath, and then cooperate in His bringing all good things to completion.

That phrase in today’s prayer, in the literal rendering, “the sort of people in whom you have deigned to dwell” forces us to reflect on our treatment of and conduct towards our neighbor, whom Christ commands us to love in accord with our love of God and self.

Paul writes in 2 Cor 13:11-13:

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Of this verse St. John Chrysostom (+407) said,

What is a holy kiss? It is one that not hypocritical, like the kiss of Judas.  The kiss is given in order to stimulate love and instill the right attitude in us toward each other.  When we return after an absence, we kiss each other, for our souls hasten to bond together.  But there is something else which might be said about this.  We are the temple of Christ, and when we kiss each other we are kissing the porch and the entrance of the temple.”  (Homilies on the Letters of Paul to the Corinthians 30.2).

When we reflect on our treatment of other as temples, we might think about our comportment when “kissing the porch” within temples, our churches.

In the Ordinary Form, the “sign of peace” before Communion is an option a priest can chose or not chose to invoke.

Given its proximity to Communion, and given that the Blessed Sacrament is upon the altar, avoid long, distracting, undignified “signs of peace”, which are the formal liturgical echo of the “holy kiss” of which Paul speaks.

In Roman liturgical practice, the “kiss of peace” has a dignity which we must strive to reclaim.

Otherwise, please, let’s not do it at all.

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Wherein Fr. Hunwicke explained and explains today’s “Festum Ovorum”

A few years back the inimitable Fr Hunwicke offered us a brilliant post which about the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, nicknamed the “Festa ovorum”. THERE He is back for an updated crack it this year.  HERE

Here’s his offering from 2015.


Well, that’s how they describe the Saturday before Quinquagesima year by year in the very inferior-quality modern Oxford University Diary with its cheapo imitation-leather cover which – since the University Diary starts with the penultimate week of August – is already looking rather tatty by now.

The origin and purpose of Festum Ovorum is pretty certainly exactly what each one of you will have guessed from first principles: as on Shrove Tuesday, to have a binge before Lent. It has stayed on the University Calendar since the Middle Ages … just as, in this University, All Soul’s Day and Corpus Christi and the Assumption survived the ‘Reformation’. We know that this was not just a custom in alma academia, but flourished throughout the neighbouring country areas, where, in their illiterate vernacular way, the worthy yokels just called it Egge Satterday. However, purely by coincidence, it became, in this University, linked with an academic deadline: the last day on which bachelors were allowed to ‘determine’; that is, to complete the exercises for the degree of MA. And academics had a ‘Determination Feast’ to celebrate this, which goes back at least to the time of Lord Richard Holland (nephew of Richard II) who had his Determination Feast on the 21st and 22nd of February, 1395 (yes, I have checked that in Cheney). As late as 1603, “all the bachelors that were presented to determine did after their presentation go to every college where they were determining and there make a feast for the senior bachelors, videlicet, of muscadine and eggs; figs; raisons; almonds; sack;Grützner_Falstaff_mit_Kanne [It’s difficult to get true sack these days and my inner Falstaff mourns.] and such like”.

I suppose all this was quite a luxury spread in those days. Now we could buy most of it in Sainsbury’s [grocery store chain] and carry it home in those little orange bags. Except for the muscadines, which (look it up in the OED if you don’t believe me) are sweetmeats (North Americans might say ‘candies’) made from a pod near the fundament (check that as well, if you like, in the OED) of an asiatic deer (its secretion may have been a sexual attractant) and regarded as an aphrodisiac since the days when the trade routes brought both it, and its Sanskrit name, from India to Byzantiuum. It is now vastly expensive since the poor things have been hunted nearly to extinction – ah, the compulsions of homo sapiens, the so-called animal rationale. But I gather that chemists produce a synthetic version, probably every bit as authentic as the ‘leather’ covers of the University Diary. [ROFL!] The English sweetmeats made from musk were called ‘kissing cakes’ or … um …. er … ‘rising cakes’ … I bet the synthetic musk has less potent Rising Qualities than the Real Thing.

And, this year, [2015] by a neat coincidence, Festum Ovorum coincides with the Solemnity of S Valentinus! Dies bis potens!

Fr. Z kudos.

Let’s hear the Sack Speech:

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Posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

ASK FATHER: Could a diocesan priest choose to say only the TLM?

From a reader…


Could a diocesan priest decide that he will only celebrate the TLM? Is he allowed to do so? What could a bishop do if he disagrees with the priest?

First, a diocesan priest could decide to say only the TLM.  He would then have to live with the consequences.  His bishop and/or the pastor to whom he is assigned as an assistant may not like that decision.  The consequences would be nearly immediate.

So, Father says “YES!”, and the Bishop says, “NO!”

They go back and forth like this for a while.

In the end, Father has no real power to defend his decision.  He might be right or he may be wrong, but he has no effective power.

If the Bishop were unhappy enough, he would probably suspend Father, take away his faculties to celebrate Mass publicly, preach, hear confessions, etc.  He could move to remove him from his parish, if he is pastor.  The Bishop could reassign him, if he is an assistant, to just about anything… or nothing.   He could make Father’s life so awful that the he might want to leave the diocese or the priesthood.

The suspended or unassigned priest could appeal to Rome, but I’m 99.9% sure that he’d lose.  Rome would back the Bishop.

On the other hand, a Bishop capable of thinking outside the box might say, “Okay, Father. We were thinking about closing old St. Eulampius over in Pie Town, but why don’t you have a go with your Latin and so forth.”

It all depends on the bishop.  Some are open-minded.  Some are not. Some are creative thinkers.  Some are not.  Some are good-natured.  Some are not.  Some are really concerned for the good of the priests.  Some are not.   All of them are at times and in different circumstances a combination of all these.  They’re human, after all.

Most priests know where they would stand with their bishops on matters like these.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 15 Comments

Your parish priest and YOU.

I just received an email from a priest who informed me that today is the 200th anniversary of the day that St. John Vianney, arrived at his parish in Ars and began his work as a pastor with the care of souls.

The care of souls.

Cura animarum.

You don’t hear much about that concept today. The parish priest has a mission to fulfill that derives ultimately from the mission given by Christ to the Apostles. They exercise this mission through Holy Orders and due appointment. Aligned with the Church’s apostolic mission and faithful to it, they have a special bond with the people under their care, to care for their souls, to help them to heaven through teaching, governing and sanctifying, through adherence to and proper use of Creed, Code and Cult, each of which is ordered precisely for the end of the cura animarum: salvation of souls.

St. John Vianney, who would become the great Patron of parish priests – got lost on his way to Ars and had to ask the right direction from a couple of – ironically – shepherds.

It may be that your pastor has gotten lost. He may need encouragement and correction from lay people to guide him into his proper place and role.

You may need to care for the soul of the priest who has the care of your soul.

Lent is coming.

Perhaps you might consider undertaking a special daily prayer for your parish priests – especially if he is somewhat off the rails – and performing some daily act of reparation on his behalf.  Offer some mortification for his or their sake.  It could be that your parish priests are pretty squared away, but you know of a priest who is … lost.   Choose a priest who isn’t good to you or others, who is perhaps faithless or a heretic or scandalous in some way.   Those guys really need prayers, especially if they have by their appointments been given the care of souls and they are neglecting their charge.   They are at great risk of eternal damnation.

If you need a project for Lent, that could be a good one.


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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Saints: Stories & Symbols | 5 Comments

Quinquagesima Sunday – Prepare for the fight of your life!

QuinquagesimaIn our traditional Roman calendar, Sunday is Quinquagesima, Latin for the symbolic “Fiftieth” day before Easter.  This is one of the pre-Lenten Sundays which prepare us for the discipline of Lent.

The priest’s vestments are purple. No Gloria.  No Alleluia. The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604).

The Consilium’s liturgical engineers under Annibale Bugnini and others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays, much to our detriment.  (Cf. BugniniCare).

Those who participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will hear that the Introit refers to the “rock” and the Roman Station today is at St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill.


Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque, a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi.

This prayer is found in the ancient Liber Sacramentorum Augustodunensis and the L.S. Engolismensis.  I cannot find this prayer in any form in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.

You won’t find Quinquagesima either!  Thanks, Bugnini!

The ponderous Lewis & Short Dictionary reminds us that absolvo means “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie” or in juridical language “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.  The priest uses this word when he absolves you of the bonds of your sins.  Vinculum is “that with which any thing is bound, a band, bond, rope, cord, fetter, tie”.  This bond can be literal, as in physical fetters, or it can be moral or some sort of state.  You can be bound in charity or peace, or bound in damnation or sin.  In the case if sin, in liturgical prayer we find a form of vinculum or its plural with “loosing” verbs such as absolvo or resolvo or dissolvo. In ancient prayer the state of sin conceived as a place in which we are bound.  The bonds must be loosed so that we can escape and be free.

In the whole of the post-Conciliar Missal I don’t believe the combination peccata absolvere is found, but it is in ancient collections.  One finds the phrase with some additional term such as “bonds” or “ties” of sins.


We beseech You, O Lord, graciously attend to our prayers: and, having been loosed from the fetters of sins, guard us from every adversity.

What is the first thing an enemy does to you, once you are captured? 

  • He disarms you.
  • He shackles you.
  • He renders you powerless to do your own will.

Even when we have fallen into sin, we retain free will, but our will is already weakened due to original and actual sin.  We can become so mired in sin that we can’t rule ourselves.

The Sacrament of Penance is a great gift.  It frees us from our self-inflicted chains.

We must strive to live without mortal sin.

But we fall.  In mortal sin we divest ourselves, as it were, of our spiritual armor. We make ourselves prisoners.

We pray to God to protect us from the dire consequences of sin, including the attacks of the Enemy, which on our own without God’s help we cannot resist.

Among the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance, along with being freed from the chains of sins, is a strengthening to resist sin in the future.

These prayers of the pre-Lenten Sundays are meant to help us ready the stores in our interior fortresses before the spiritual battle of Lent.

We must empty out what does not serve and be filled with that which does.

Prepare yourselves for battle and Lent’s discipline.


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Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, LENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Sam Gregg takes off the gloves: Bp. Sanchez Sorondo on China

Sam Gregg, director of research at Acton Institute, has a strongly worded piece at Liberty and Law about the seriously bizarre remarks from Argentinian Bp. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, presently the head of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Sorodono Sanchez recently visited China and, subsequently gushed about how wonderful the communist state is and how Catholic social teaching has been implemented there.

Gregg has taken off the gloves.

The whole thing hits hard. Here’s a taste:


Bishop Sanchez’s peculiar ruminations about world affairs are, however, emblematic of how concern for precision and facts seems to have disappeared throughout much of the Vatican over the past five years. One need only recall the notorious 2017 Civiltà Cattolica article penned by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa: a piece which even some of its defenders conceded contained substantive errors about the history of religion in the United States and the role played by Evangelicals and conservative Catholics in American politics.

It doesn’t help the Holy See’s reputation to have some Vatican officials parading their fact-free, strikingly incoherent views of the world on the public stage. Bishop Sanchez’s claim that China is somehow one of the world’s leading exponents of Catholic social doctrine is frankly outrageous. It is also insulting to those Catholics and other Christians who have suffered so much for their faith under what is, after all, a regime that remains ideologically committed to atheistic materialism. In any organization that took reality and its own credibility seriously, such remarks would likely result in such a person being formally, if not publicly rebuked by more senior officials and perhaps even removed from office.


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Posted in Liberals, The Drill, You must be joking! | Tagged | 18 Comments


Please, in your charity, offer up a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel for Fr. D, who is in the midst of monumental changes.

Please, please… do this for this good priest.

Saint Michael Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.

St. Michael by Daniel Mitsui. Click for more.

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Posted in Urgent Prayer Requests | 7 Comments

Great column on German confusion by Archbp. Chaput of @ArchPhilly … auf Deutsch! “Liebe, Klarheit, und ihr Gegenteil”

The other day I posted about a terrific column by Archbp. Chaput of Philadelphia in their diocesan newspaper.

Wherein Archbp. Chaput wins the pastoral Super Bowl in @ArchPhilly

The Archbishop wrote about, among other things, the confusion being caused right now by certain German bishops who are giving support to blessings for same-sex unions.

When I wrote about his column, I thought that a German translation might be handy for German speaking Catholics.

Perhaps this will make it easier for German blogs and outlets to share this good column.

One of you readers has supplied it!

NB: It is NOT an official translation supplied by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  Also, I have posted this entirely by my own initiative.

Here it is:

Liebe, Klarheit, und ihr Gegenteil

Erzbischof Charles J. Chaput, O. F. M. Cap.

06. Februar 2018

An die Gläubigen der Kirche in Philadelphia:

Fast jeder, der versucht, das momentane Chaos um die Regierung in Washington zu verstehen, ist entweder (a) voreingenommen durch die Sichtweise einer der beiden politischen Parteien; oder (b) sehr verwirrt. Die meisten von uns werden wahrscheinlich in die zweite Kategorie fallen. Und das bedeutet, dass viele Bürger sich machtlos fühlen, dann angewidert, dann wütend. Wenn, wie die Heilige Schrift sagt, uns die Wahrheit frei macht, dann macht uns ihre Abwesenheit frustriert und schließt uns ein in einen Zustand der Ungewissheit. Oder, um es mit anderen Worten zu sagen: Verwirrung ist schlecht. Sie ist schlecht für die einzelne Seele, sie ist aber auch schlecht für die Wohlfahrt einer Gesellschaft, denn unvermeidlich folgen Spaltung und Streit.

Verwirrung kann verschiedene Ursachen haben. Einige davon sind ganz harmlos.
Jemand hört eine Nachricht falsch oder interpretiert sie falsch. Oder jemand drückt sich missverständlich aus. Oder Faktoren jenseits der eigenen Kontrolle – beispielsweise die Voreingenommenheit oder Nachlässigkeit einer Nachrichtenagentur – können die Weise der Kommunikation und Rezeption dramatisch beeinflussen und einfärben. Diese Dinge geschehen als natürlicher Teil des Lebens. Darum haben Anführer die besondere Aufgabe, klar, eindeutig, ehrlich und besonnen zu sein in dem, was sie tun und sagen. Sie müssen, “von der Liebe geleitet, die Wahrheit bezeugen” [Eph 4,15 EU], wie der heilige Apostel Paulus sagt. Leichtsinnig oder sogar absichtlich Verwirrung über eine wichtige Sache zu stiften, ist ein grober Fehler für eine jedwede Person, die Autorität hält. So ist es im öffentlichen Leben, und so ist es auch im Leben der Kirche.

Es gibt keine Liebe, keine Nächstenliebe, ohne Wahrheit. Genauso gibt es keine wahre Barmherzigkeit ohne Gerechtigkeit, die beseelt und geführt wird von der Wahrheit. Andererseits ist Wahrheit, die missbraucht wird, um andere zu demütigen; Wahrheit, die keine Geduld und Liebe aufweist, eine besonders hässliche Form von Gewalt.

Was also ist der Sinn dieser Ausführungen?

Im Lauf der letzten Wochen haben einige gewichtige Stimmen der Hierarchie der Kirche in Deutschland vorgeschlagen (oder es zumindest angedeutet), einen katholischen Ritus für die Segnung von gleichgeschlechtlichen Paaren, die zivil verheiratet oder eine solche zivile Ehe anstreben, zu unterstützen. Oberflächlich mag diese Idee großzügig und vernünftig klingen.
Allerdings ist – und so sollte es sein! – die Unbesonnenheit solcher öffentlicher Kommentare Grund für ernste Besorgnis. Es bedarf einer Antwort, denn was die Realität in einer Ortskirche betrifft, wirkt sich unvermeidlich auch auf andere Teile der universellen Kirche aus – gegebenenfalls sogar auf unsere Diözese.

Im vorliegenden Fall würde ein “Segnungsritus” einen moralisch verbotenen Akt unterstützen, egal wie aufrichtig die Intentionen der Person sein mögen, welche einen solchen Segen erbittet. Ein solcher Ritus würde das katholische Zeugnis bezüglich der Natur von Ehe und Familie völlig aushöhlen. Er würde die Gläubigen verwirren und zu falschen Annahmen führen. Und es würde die Einheit unserer Kirche verletzen, denn so ein Vorgehen kann man nicht ignorieren oder beschweigen.

Warum aber würde ein scheinbar so barmherziger Akt ein so großes Problem hervorrufen? Personen in bestimmten Lebenssituationen zu segnen, ist praktisch eine Ermutigung zu und Bestärkung in dieser Situation – in diesem Fall gleichgeschlechtliche Beziehungen. Die gesamte christliche Geschichte hindurch war und ist ein einfacher wie weiser Fakt immer maßgeblich: lex orandi lex credendi – unsere Art zu beten formt unsere Art zu glauben. Ein neu geschaffener Ritus verkündet und avanciert eine neue Lehre allein durch den Effekt der Praxis.

Generell gibt es zwei grundlegende Prinzipien, an die wir uns erinnern
müssen: Erstens, wir müssen alle Menschen mit Respekt begegnen und ihnen unsere pastorale Sorge zuteilwerden lassen, was sie als Kinder Gottes mit einer angeborenen Würde auch verdienen. Es soll betont werden, dass dazu auch jene Menschen gehören, die sich zum selben Geschlecht hingezogen fühlen. Zweitens, es gibt keine Wahrheit, keine wahre Barmherzigkeit und kein aufrichtiges Mitgefühl darin, eine Situation zu segnen, welche Menschen von Gott entfernt. Dies darf in keiner Weise verstanden werden als Zurückweisung von Personen, die eine solche Segnung wünschen. Allerdings weigern wir uns, die erkannte Wahrheit über die Natur von Ehe, Familie und die Würde der menschlichen Sexualität einfach zu ignorieren.

Wiederum: Wir alle sind menschliche Wesen, egal welche Stärken und Schwächen wir auch haben mögen, die ein Recht darauf haben, mit Respekt behandelt zu werden, wie es unserer gottgegebenen Würde entspricht. Wir haben auch ein Recht darauf, die Wahrheit zu hören, egal ob sie uns angenehm ist oder nicht – sogar dann, wenn es leider so scheint, dass dies die Einheit der Kirche selbst verkompliziert. Um die Gedanken Thomas von Aquins zu benutzen:
Das Gut der kirchlichen Einheit, von welcher Schisma das Gegenteil ist, ist weniger wert als das Gut der göttlichen Wahrheit, von welcher Unglaube das Gegenteil ist (vgl. S. Th. IIª-IIae q. 39 a. 2 co.).

Jesus sagt uns, dass die Wahrheit uns befreien wird. Niemals aber sagte er, dass sie uns angenehm sein wird. Immer noch sollen wir die Wahrheit in aller Klarheit hören – und sie teilen, in aller Klarheit, aber immer mit Liebe.
Verwirrung zu stiften in Anliegen, die zentrale Inhalte unseres Glaubens betreffen, egal wie gut die Absichten auch sind, wird nur dazu führen, eine sowieso schon schwierige Aufgabe noch schwieriger zu gestalten.

Euer Bruder in Jesus Christus,

+ Charles J. Chaput, O. F. M. Cap.
Erzbischof von Philadelphia

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Posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

New film about Sts Paul and Luke – 28 March @PaulMovie

I am looking forward to this:

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Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | 7 Comments

ASK FATHER: Must images be veiled from Passion Sunday or is it only an option?

From a reader…


Is there any authoritative rubric for the Extraordinary Form that requires statues and crosses be veiled in Church, or is it simply customary?

Our Extraordinary Form community is domiciled in a location that does not currently veil, and doesn’t seem inclined to do so.

In the traditional form of the Roman Rite there is a custom of covering statues, images, etc. of the Lord and saints (except for Stations of the Cross) from after Nones (of after Mass but before 1st Vespers) of 1st Passion Sunday onward. This custom continues in the Novus Ordo as well from the 5th Sunday of Lent:

In 1988 the Congregation for Divine Worship in Paschale Solemnitatis 57 said: “It is fitting that any crosses in the church be covered with a red or purple veil, unless they have already been veiled on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent.”

On traditional 1st Passion Sunday the Gospel is from John 8, when the Lord disputes with the Jews and they try to stone him. The Gospel says: “They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.”

The custom continues in the Novus Ordo.   But it is more than a custom in the Usus Antiquior.  It is necessary.

The 1962 Missale Romanum has a rubric which prescribes the veiling of images.  If memory serves, the instruction is also in the rubrics for the Breviarium Romanum and the Caerimoniale Episcoporum.

Here’s a shot of the page in the 1962 Missale Romanum (with my circling):

“Once Mass [of Saturday after the 4th Sunday of Lent] is finished, Crosses and images throughout the church are covered; which remain covered, Crosses indeed up to the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, but images until the Gloria is intoned at the Easter Vigil.”

This isn’t “may” be covered.  It is “are” covered.

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Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have three pressings personal petitions.

As I write today, one of them is… very heavy indeed, a strong sense of loss and near betrayal.

The moderation queue is ON… for ALL posts.

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Posted in PRAYER REQUEST | 20 Comments

8 Feb: St. Josephine Bakhita

St_Josephine_BakhitaSt. Josephine Bakhita is a truly amazing saint.  Check out a biography of her here.

Here is a quote from St. Josephine about her life as a slave:

“One day I unwittingly made a mistake that incensed the master’s son. He became furious, snatched me violently from my hiding place, and began to strike me ferociously with the lash and his feet Finally he left me half dead, completely unconscious. Some slaves carried me away and lay me on a straw mat, where I remained for over a month.

A woman skilled in this cruel art [tattooing] came to the general’s house…our mistress stood behind us, whip in hand. The woman had a dish of white flour, a dish of salt and a razor… When she had made her patterns; the woman took the razor and made incisions along the lines. Salt was poured into each of the wounds… My face was spared, but 6 patterns were designed on my breasts, and 60 more on my belly and arms. I thought I would die, especially when salt was poured in the wounds…it was by a miracle of God I didn’t die. He had destined me for better things.”

About her tormentors she would say:

“If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today…”

I would very much like to have her feast on the traditional Roman calendar.   Indeed, on the traditional calendar, today we celebrate the 12th c. founder of the Trinitarians St. John of Matha, who worked to ransom Christians who had been enslaved by members of the Religion of Peace.  Appropriate that they share a day.

Here is her….


Deus, qui beatam Iosephinam a servitute abiecta,
ad dignitatem filiae tuae et Christi sponsae adduxisti,
da nobis, quaesumus, eius exemplo,
Dominum Iesum crucifixum constanti dilectione prosequi
et in caritate ad misericordiam propensos perseverare.

The tricky word here is propensos from propendeo.  If we can’t get this word right, nothing happens correctly in the last part of the prayer.  Propendeo basically means “to hang forth or forward, hang down”.  However, it comes also to mean, “to be well disposed, favorable”, “to be inclined”.  This gives us the adjective propensus , a, um.  This means that we are asking God to make us to be people who are propensi.  This is the tricky part.  We must have here something like “grant to us… (to be) well-disposed (nos esse propensos) to persevere…”.


O God, who brought blessed Josephine out of abject servitude
unto the dignity of Your daughter and a spouse of Christ,
grant us, we beseech You, by her example,
to follow the crucified Lord Jesus with constant love
and to be well disposed to persevere in charity unto mercy.


O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery
to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified,
remaining steadfast in charity
and prompt to show compassion.

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Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 6 Comments

Considering Andy Warhol in view of certain homosexualist activists

At the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, there is a great article about the Pop Art icon Andy Warhol and Warhol’s faith and piety.

This may surprise some people: he was devout and practiced his faith… which is rather redundant.

Read the whole thing over there.

However, I thought this bit to be important, especially in light of the efforts of some who endlessly blare homosexual issues but without stressing the necessity of continence, chastity:

Religion kept Warhol from going over the brink. He attended Mass almost daily. Other days he would just slip into St Vincent Ferrer on Lexington Avenue, drop into the back pew and pray. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters volunteering at a soup kitchen, and befriended the homeless and poor whom he served. He put his nephew through seminary. Though openly gay, he endeavoured to remain celibate [read: chaste] throughout his life. When he refused to support the gay rights movement, many of his friends blamed his faith.

He lived with his mother until she died, and every morning they would pray together in Old Slavonic before he left for the Factory. He always carried a rosary and a small missal in his pocket.

What a contrast.

I sincerely believe that people with same-sex attraction, if they strive to be chaste and bear their subsequent suffering, will have a very high place in heaven.  The greater the burden and suffering, the greater the graces and reward.

Support of homosexual persons is obligatory for true Catholics.  However, also obligatory is the whole truth, which necessarily includes the explicit and clear renunciation of same-sex acts, which violate human dignity and do great harm to individuals and society.

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Pinks and Greens? “Hooah!”

Every time I see stories about the restoration of churches to proper order and purpose after costly wreckovation, the temperature of my beady-black heart warms a bit.

At Stars and Stripes I read that the Army is moving towards a change in uniform again.  This time, however, it forward towards tradition.

The old “Pinks and Greens” with WWII-era belted jackets and brown leather shoes may reappear.

Think about how the sudden and weird changes in the looks of things affected the Catholic identity of the Church Militant.

Tear out statues, whitewash walls, put in carpet, wreck altars…. Of course this did huge damage to our Catholic identity, not just our pocketbooks.  Similarly, uniform changes will affect something of the ethos of those who wear them.

Put priests in polyester gunny sacks and unworthy chasubles, surround them with craftsy projects made by and for 3rd graders, and you will change the presbyterate.

Put priests in cassocks and beautiful vestments, surrounded by precious vessels and art and you will change the men.

Both of those have an effect on congregations.

Which will tend to make a positive knock on effect?  A bunch of guys in shuffling along and grinning at people in the pews with little waves, looking in their loosely-fitting white flour bags with sleeves every bit as if they just got off the night shift at the Tasty Bakery, or a reserved line of men in cassock and surplice looking like they are going to worship the King of Fearful Majesty?

There is a connection between the habitus that is in us, interior disposition, and habitus that is on us, what we wear: habit and habit.  Clothes make the man?

So, Pinks and Greens?  Let’s see if I can translate this into “Army”…


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Wherein Archbp. Chaput wins the pastoral Super Bowl in @ArchPhilly

Two items concerning Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput have come across my scree in the last few hours.

First, today I received PDF (PDFs are clunky) of a column that that Archbp. Chaput wrote for their archdiocesan newspaper. In this column, the Archbishop explains – in light of recent idiocy in Germany, where Card. Marx (one of the Pope’s closest advisers and one of the most powerful figures in the fabulously wealthy German Church) – how the blessing of same-sex unions (suggested by Card. Marx and others) is a bad idea and must not be done.

Here is a taste. Mind you, the Archbishop addressed this letter to the people of Philadelphia. That said, he references developments outside of Philadelphia and it is for an internet diffused publication. This isn’t reserved or private.


Over the past few weeks, a number of senior voices in the leadership of the Church in Germany have suggested (or strongly implied) support for the institution of a Catholic blessing rite for same-sex couples who are civilly married or seeking civil marriage. On the surface, the idea may sound generous and reasonable. But the imprudence of such public statements is—and should be—the cause of serious concern. It requires a response because what happens in one local reality of the global Church inevitably resonates elsewhere—including eventually here. [Which is why Archbp. Chaput’s words must be widely diffused.  He should have someone translate it into German: I’ll publish it.]

In the case at hand, any such “blessing rite” would cooperate in a morally forbidden act, no matter how sincere the persons seeking the blessing. Such a rite would undermine the Catholic witness on the nature of marriage and the family. It would confuse and mislead the faithful. And it would wound the unity of our Church, because it could not be ignored or met with silence.

Why would a seemingly merciful act pose such a problem? Blessing persons in their particular form of life effectively encourages them in that state—in this case, same-sex sexual unions. Throughout Christian history, a simple and wise fact applies: lex orandi, lex credendi, i.e., how we worship shapes what and how we believe. Establishing a new rite teaches and advances a new doctrine by its lived effect, i.e., by practice.

There are two principles we need to remember. First, we need to treat all people with the respect and pastoral concern they deserve as children of God with inherent dignity. This emphatically includes persons with same-sex attraction. Second, there is no truth, no real mercy, and no authentic compassion, in blessing a course of action that leads persons away from God. This in no way is a rejection of the persons seeking such a blessing, but rather a refusal to ignore what we know to be true about the nature of marriage, the family, and the dignity of human sexuality.


That, in itself, was very good.

But wait! There’s more.

Archbp. Chaput also sent a letter to the clergy of that Archdiocese.  He explained, effectively, what he also wrote in his column.  Then he explicitly forbids priests and deacons in any way at all at any civil union of same sex-persons, or in any religious event that seeks to bless such an event.   He clarifies that this doesn’t constitute a rejection of persons, but rather a defense of the truth about marriage, the family and the dignity of human sexuality.

Inter alia, Chaput wrote: “[T]here is no truth, no real mercy, and no authentic compassion in blessing a course of action that leads persons away from God.”

For these two things alone, the column for the diocesan paper and the letter to clergy, Chaput deserves thanks and laurels.  I say “laurels” because the landscape we are working in is more and more like a battlefield that has swept over the vineyard, bringing chaos and ruin.

But wait!  There’s more.

I also read at Catholic World Report a speech that Archbp. Chaput gave to a men’s conference on 3 February in Phoenix.  It’s terrific.

Of special interest is his use of the imagery of Alzheimer’s, Blade Runner, knighthood and the crusades (I can hear arteries popping in lib skulls as I type).  Echoing St. Paul, he talks about the “new man” – the title of the talk is “Memory, Sex, and the Making of “The New Man” – and the armor of God that men must put on “because, like it or not, as Catholic men, we really are engaged in a struggle for the soul of a beautiful but broken world.”

Finally, Chaput lists something that I haven’t seen for many years. He reads off the Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus’ “22 Rules” – in bulletpoints – from his book Enchiridion militis Christiani or The Handbook or Manual of a Christian Knight.

Rule 1: Deepen and increase your faith.

Rule 2: Act on your faith; make it a living witness to others.

Rule 3: Analyze and understand your fears; don’t be ruled by them.

Rule 4: Make Jesus Christ the only guide and the only goal of your life.

Rule 5: Turn away from material things; don’t be owned by them.

Rule 6: Train your mind to distinguish the true nature of good and evil.

Rule 7: Never let any failure or setback turn you away from God.

Rule 8: Face temptation guided by God, not by worry or excuses.

Rule 9: Always be ready for attacks from those who fear the Gospel and resent the good.

Rule 10: Always be prepared for temptation. And do what you can to avoid it.

Rule 11: Be alert to two special dangers: moral cowardice and personal pride.

Rule 12: Face your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Rule 13: Treat each battle as if it were your last.

Rule 14: A life of virtue has no room for vice; the little vices we tolerate become the most deadly.

Rule 15: Every important decision has alternatives; think them through clearly and honestly in the light of what’s right.

Rule 16: Never, ever give up or give in on any matter of moral substance.

Rule 17: Always have a plan of action. Battles are often won or lost before they begin.

Rule 18: Always think through, in advance, the consequences of your choices and actions.

Rule 19: Do nothing — in public or private — that the people you love would not hold in esteem.

Rule 20: Virtue is its own reward; it needs no applause.

Rule 21: Life is demanding and brief; make it count.

Rule 22: Admit and repent your wrongs, never lose hope, encourage your brothers, and then begin again.

Finally, he concludes:

Maleness, brothers, is a matter of biology. It just happens. Manhood must be learned and earned and taught. That’s our task. So my prayer for all of us today is that God will plant the seed of a new knighthood in our hearts — and make us the kind of “new men” our families, our Church, our nation, and our world need.

Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Chaput.

For the work in question.

Manual of the Christian Knight.  (Kindle version is available for next to nothing!)


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Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Look! Up in the sky! Falcon Heavy lifts off.

I’ve been watching the SpaceX launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. They sent up Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster. This booster can lift 64 metric tons (141,000 lbs), more than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel. The Saturn V lifted more… but we’re not using that one anymore are we!

I have to admit that I had something of the same feeling that I recall when I was little kid, watching TV coverage of Gemini and Apollo missions.

The boosters landed successfully… upright… . Very cool.

Fast forward to about 7:53

Sitting in the roadster is “Starman”, visible at after 33:55 along with a strong taste of David Bowie’s Life On Mars.

Boosters, side and center core, land at 37:45 and at 38 or so, vibrations screwed up the camera’s antenna on the drone ship.  But it landed.  39:50 you get the car again.

Speaking of Life on Mars… did you see the British series?


There was a sequel: Ashes to Ashes, but it might not be in US format.

UPDATE: It seems the center core booster failed.

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