Monday, June 30, 2008
Transformed by the Trinity by Sr. Carol Frances Jegen, BVM

I recently was asked to review the new book "Transformed by the Trinity" written by Sr. Carol Frances Jegen, BVM. Overall, I found the book disappointing. I offer my thoughts on each of the chapters below. For positives, the book was organized well and it was a fast, easy read. But, theologically, the book is flawed.

Chapter 1: "The Befriending Spirit"

The most distracting aspect of this chapter is the continued repetition of "Befriending Spirit". Sr. Jegen virtually completely refers to the Holy Spirit as "the Befriending Spirit", which is highly distracting. Even more problematic, Sr. Jegen rarely uses the term "Holy Spirit" even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "'Holy Spirit' is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son" (CCC 691). Throughout the entire chapter on the "Befriending Spirit" there is no mention of any council before Vatican II, even though doctrines on the Holy Spirit were fundamental in numerous ancient councils. Leaving out such references causes this Chapter to lose credibility. Even the Bibliography at the back of the book lists only recent books - the oldest was written in 1971. Why does she omit thousands of years of Theological disputations on the Holy Spirit?

Chapter 2: Jesus

Sr. Jegen in this chapter cites literation theologican Sobrino positively (36), even though liberation theology has been condemned by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Another controversial theologian, Jürgen Moltmann, is cited. No references to any of the numerous saints or theologians before Vatican II.

Chapter 3: Jesus' Abba and Ours

The most glaring error of this chapter is a further quotation of Sobrino: "The Father suffers the death of the Son and takes upon himself all the pain and suffering of history" (44-45). It is heretical to say that God the Father died on the Cross. This statement seems to sound like Patripassionism, a long-held heresy.

Chapter 4: The Meaning of God as Tripersonal

This chapter read quickly and easily, but I found it without any great spiritual insights. There were far too many peace and justice issues mentioned.

Chapter 5: Making All Things New

Again, Sr. Jegen references liberation theology: " the light of liberation theology...[we understand] that the lives of crucified peoples are continuations of Jesus' sufferings" (88).


Sr. Jegen offers no dogma on the Holy Trinity. She merely offers a few anecdotes and numerous references to social justice and liberation theology. I was disappointed in this book. For real information on the Trinity, find a copy of another truly Catholic book.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Introit: Ss. Peter and Paul

Intriot: Nunc scio vere, quia misit Dóminus Angelum suum: et erípuit me de manu Heródis, et de omni exspectatióne plebis Judæórum. (Ps. 138: 1, 2) Dómine, probásti me, et cognovísti me: tu cognovísti sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam. V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Nunc scio vere...

English Translation: Now I know in very deed, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. (Ps. 138: 1, 2) Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Now I know in very deed...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Greater Than You Think by Fr. Thomas D. Williams
Over the past few days I have read "Greater Than You Think" by Fr. Thomas D. Williams. This book is simply superb. Fr. Williams writes this book as a response to the arguments of popular atheistic writers - Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett. Breaking down their arguments into several sections - Religion in General, Religion in Society, Faith/Science/Reason, and Christianity under Fire - Fr. Williams offers thoughtful and highly effective counter arguments to the atheistic writers. How exactly do the atheist's arguments compare to the facts? Do the atheists use logic fallacies such as ad hominem attacks? Fr. Williams responds powerfully. In the final chapter, Fr. Williams turns the tables on atheists and asks "What are the real fruits of atheism for both the individual and society?" Once again, Fr. Williams uses facts and not opinion.

Tired of the blasphemous, outrages tirades from atheistic authors? Tired of lies said about Christianity and our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you read some of these atheistic works and would like to read the counter position? Are you an amateur apologist who enjoys evangelizing? If you have answered yes to these questions, please consider this excellent recourse. Every apologist should have a copy of "Greater Than You Think" readily available on their bookshelves.
Product Description

The recent runaway bestsellers God Is Not Great and The God Delusion have left Christians feeling defensive but not necessarily equipped to refute the accusations of nonbelievers. The bestsellers have also provoked those who are the fence about whether God exists, and if so, whether He's good. In his trademark elegant prose, Father Williams provides accessible but intellectually rich answers for both groups. Questions include "Isn't religion just another name for superstition (or magic or myth)?""If God is all-good and all-powerful, how can evil exist in the world?" and "Hasn't science disproved God's existence?" For believers and those searching for something to believe in, Father Williams offers an easy-to-use resource for building up one's own faith and igniting others'.

About the Author

Thomas D. Williams, LC, ThD, is Vatican Analyst for CBS News and a professor of theology at the ReginaApostolorumPontificalUniversity in Rome. He has also worked extensively for NBC News and Britain's Sky News, covering church and ethical issues, including the final illness and death of Pope John Paul II, the 2005 papal conclave, and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Father Williams also regularly appeared in the MSNBC series The Ethical Edge and is author of several books and dozens of articles, both scholarly and popular.
"Greater Than You Think" is available for sale on

Book Giveaway

Note: The contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone that participated.

Attention Readers of This Blog! I am hosting a book giveaway of "Greater Than You Think". The first five readers who respond via email with the correct answers to the following questions will win a free copy of "Greater Than You Think".

The following answers can all be found on my website (A Catholic Life). If you do not remember some of these answers, simply search my blog using the search feature in the right-hand column. When you have the answer to each question, email me the answers at acatholiclife[at]

In your subject line include the words "Book Giveaway". Be sure to include your mailing address in case you are a winner. If you are a winner, I will notify you. As soon as five winners have been chosen, I will add a note in this post informing everyone that the contest is closed. Only citizens of the United States of America and Canada are eligible for this giveaway.


1) According to the Traditional Catholic Calendar of 1955, what day of the year is the Feast of St. Pius X?

2) How did our modern musical notes (do, re, mi, et cetera) obtain their names? (Hint: Because of which saint)

3) In which year was Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli painted?

4) Who said the following? "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment." And, what similar words did St. Pius X have to say on this topic?

5) At what Chapel in Jerusalem are our Lord's footprints still visible? What event occurred their in the earthly life of our Lord?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

June 23 is the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist since June 24th is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets. Along with solely the sinless Blessed Virgin Mary and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church remembers the birth of St. John the Baptist. Together, the Church only liturgically celebrates these three holy births.

From the propers of the Mass for June 23, the Introit occupies a place of importance, expressing comfort and hope:
Fear not, Zachary; thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John; and he shall be great before the Lord, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb; and many shall rejoice at his birth. V. (Ps. 20: 2) In Thy strength, O Lord, the king shall joy; and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Fear not, Zachary...
From a sermon given on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine proclaims, "When John was preaching the Lord's coming, he was asked, 'Who are you?' And he replied: 'I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.' The voice is John, but the Lord 'in the beginning was the Word.' John was a voice that lasted only for a time; Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal."

As we prepare for the Nativity of St. John, which used to be a holy day of obligation, we focus on the Scriptures and the Traditions of the Church. The Gradual Prayer from the Vigil Mass' propers is taken from John 1:6-7, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came to bear witness to the light, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people".

As we seek to pray daily with the Church's liturgical prayers, we now turn to the exemplar figure of the last of the prophets of whom Jesus said, "Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11). An interesting fact is that our musical scale (do, re, mi) took its names from the tones of the Vesper Hymn for St. John.

I will be celebrating the great festival of the Nativity of St. John by having a traditional Bonfire, during which old, worn-out sacramentals are reverently burned. Describing this ancient custom, Fish Eaters writes:
The temporal focal point of the festivities, though, is the building of fires outdoors in which to burn worn out sacramentals and to serve as a symbol of the one Christ Himself called "a burning and shining light" (John 5:35). These fires used to be huge, communal bonfires, and this still occurs in parts of Europe, but smaller, "family-sized" fires will do, too. The fire is built at dusk, with this blessing from the Roman Ritual, and allowed to burn past midnight:

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray. Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify + this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to Thee Who art light eternal; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

The fire is sprinkled with holy water; after which the clergy and the people sing the "Ut queant laxis":

O for your spirit, holy John, to chasten
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
So by your children might your deeds of wonder
Meetly be chanted.

Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to your father promise of your greatness;
How he shall name you, what your future story,
Duly revealing.

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at your wondrous birth, again returneth,
Voice to the voiceless.

You, in your mother's womb all darkly cradled,
Knew your great Monarch, biding in His chamber,
Whence the two parents, through their offspring's merits,
Mysteries uttered.

Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,
And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,
One God Whose glory, through the lapse of ages,
Ever resounding.

P: There was a man sent from God.
All Whose name was John.

Let us pray. God, Who by reason of the birth of blessed John have made this day praiseworthy, give Thy people the grace of spiritual joy, and keep the hearts of Thy faithful fixed on the way that leads to everlasting salvation; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.


After the blessing, a decade of the Rosary is prayed while walking sunwise -- clockwise, not widdershins -- around the fire, the old Sacramentals are reverently burned, and then the party begins. In most places, brave souls leap over the flames of the bonfire -- an act which is given different meanings in different places, with most saying it is an act to bring blessings.

If you're in a farming family, it is customary to carry torches lit from this fire through your fields to bless them. Whether you're a farmer or not, tend the fire as late as you can go (at least until after midnight) and have fun. If you have a fireplace, light a fire in it with flames from the bonfire to bless your home. Note that it is customary, too, to save some of the ashes from this fire to mix with water to bless the sick.
It is my hope that many of my readers will take part in similar celebrations on the night of June 23, as we begin to celebrate the birth of holy St. John. Christ Himself is truly the "burning and shining light" (John 5:35), which knows no darkness. And St. John the Baptist was his herald. Let us pray with joy on June 24, the Collect from his feastday: " O God, Who hast made this day honorable to us on account of the birth of blessed John, grant Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of everlasting salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God... Forever and ever. Amen"

Fasting on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist

Days of Fasting and Abstinence (like Holy Days of Obligation) varied from country to country and even within the countries. As such, some colonies that would form the United States kept it while others did not.

The South East Colonies (in modern-day Florida and Louisiana) kept the Vigil of the Nativity of John the Baptist as a fasting day. Fast days were, by definition, days of abstinence as well. The Western Colonies (in modern-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California) were included in the ecclesiastical province of Mexico. Their feasts and fasts were regulated by the Third Council of Mexico (1585). Per those rules, the Vigil of St. John the Baptist was a day of fasting and abstinence.

After America's foundation and as new territories were added, the territories generally kept the laws formerly in place. There was no uniformity in America from 1776 until 1885. Uniformity was established by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1885. By this time, the Vigil (June 23) ceased being a fast day anywhere in America. And the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24) ceased being a Holy Day of Obligation anywhere in America.
Courage Apostolate

I wanted to share the following email that I received from a blogger, who is a member of Courage. Courage is an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, which ministers to those with same-sex attractions and their loved ones.

I find your blog very interesting and educational and I admire your zeal for Orthodox Catholicism. I share the same view with you. Your obedience to your superiors is definitely praiseworthy. I pray that you remain faithful to your vocation. By the way, I am a member of Courage, the Roman Catholic Church's apostolate for people struggling with same-sex attraction. You can visit for more details. You can add it to your long list of links too. I will also link you to my blog. Hope you can link mine too. My blog is about my struggles to live a chaste life despite my condition. I read with great interest your article about people with deep-seated homosexual tendencies desiring to enter the religious life. In our group, we have ex-seminarians who are struggling with same sex attraction and I know a person in our group who is also contemplating of entering the priesthood. What can you say about that personally? How can you tell that person without offending his sensibilities that maybe, just maybe, a religious life is not the right vocation for him. Im very much aware about the Holy Father's instructions on those candidates for priesthood with homosexual tendencies. I hope you can counsel me on this. God bless you brother.

Going Straight
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Patriarch Alexy II: Unacceptable to Bless Homosexual Unions

Moscow, June 19, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia considers church blessing of homosexual unions unacceptable though it becomes wide spread among Protestant communities in the West.

"Blessing of the marriage urges God to bless childbearing and giving birth," Alexy II said at his meeting with general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance Neville Callam in St. Daniel's monastery in Moscow.

"We have every reason to think that the majority of Baptists share our concerns for today's state of Christian communities in the world and together we can oppose these destructive tendencies," the patriarch said.

The Baptist World Alliance's general secretary believes "militant secularism has become the highest and the strongest challenge" Christians face today.

"We, Baptists, also oppose this cancer of secularization and we seek to spread the good news of Jesus Christ like you do," Callam said. He hopes that friendly relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Baptists will develop and it will let both parties "denounce the monster of secularism."

The patriarch reminded that the resolution of the last joint seminar of the Moscow Patriarchate and Russian Baptists held in 2006 "expressed deep concerns with alarming tendencies in some Protestant communities which revise Biblical norms of morality and ordain women." The resolution further stated "the necessity to reach harmonic unity between human rights and moral values."

The Russian Orthodox Church suspended contacts with the Lutheran Church of Sweden as it "not only blessed homosexual "marriages," but even worked out the text for blessing them in the church," Alexy II noted.

The Moscow Patriarchate had to suspend relations with the Episcopal Church of the USA as its leaders ordained an open homosexual.

Friday, June 20, 2008
Orthodox leader suggests "Dual Unity" for Eastern Catholics

Constantinople, Jun. 19, 2008 ( - The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople has responded favorably to a suggestion by the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for a system of "dual unity" in which Byzantine Catholic churches would be in full communion with both Constantinople and Rome.

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople welcomed the proposal in an interview with the magazine Cyril and Methodius, the RISU news service reports. The acknowledged leader of the Orthodox world suggested that the "dual unity" approach would produce something akin to the situation of the Christian world in the 1st millennium, before the split between Rome and Constantinople.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church-- the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches-- had offered the possibility that Byzantine Catholics might seek communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, without giving up their communion with the Holy See. Patriarch Bartholomew expressed distinct interest in the idea, saying that "the mother Church in Constantinople holds the doors open for the return of all her former sons and daughters."

Patriarch Bartholomew acknowledged that a restoration of unity would require study, and important differences would have to be overcome. However, he observed that major steps have already been taken to resolve disagreements-- most importantly the revocation of the mutual decrees of excommunication issued by Rome and Constantinople against each other in 1054.

While Catholic and Orthodox theologians continue their efforts to reach agreement on doctrinal questions, Patriarch Bartholomew said, "the people at the grass roots have to come together again." He pointed to the "dual unity" idea as a possible step toward practical unity.

Cardinal Husar, the Ukrainian Catholic leader, has suggested in the past that the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics of Ukraine should unite under the leadership of a single patriarch. That provocative suggestion is particularly interesting for two reasons.

First, Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine argued for years-- particularly since emerging vigorously from the shadow of Communist repression-- that the Ukrainian Catholic Church should be accorded the status of a patriarchate. Both the late Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have expressed some sympathy for that suggestion. The Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church is substantially larger than other Catholic churches that are recognized as patriarchates, including the Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian and Coptic Catholic churches. However, Kiev is not a historical patriarchal see like Antioch or Alexandria. And the recognition of a Ukrainian Catholic patriarchate would be sure to provoke outrage from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has complained frequently and bitterly about the activities of Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine.

Second, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is badly split, with three different groups competing for recognition as leaders of the Byzantine faithful. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev Patriarchate is led by Patriarch Filaret, who was once acknowledged by Moscow but broke with the Russian Orthodox Church after Ukraine gained political independence. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate retains ties to Russian Orthodoxy. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, smaller than the other two, has frequently sided with the Kiev patriarchate in efforts to form a single, unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine, independent from Moscow.

Source: Catholic World News
Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Uruguay in Dire Need of HLI Family's Help

As I write you today, the situation in Uruguay is extremely perilous!

The agents of death are intentionally sacrificing the women and unborn of Uruguay in order to establish an abortion beachhead in Latin America.

A loophole in Uruguay’s laws allows for “abortion counseling” in public hospitals. Acting as “counselors” abortion advocates tell vulnerable women that they’d be better off killing their babies ... and that abortion is a “reproductive right.” Official statistics reveal that 90% of Uruguayan women “counseled” in this way choose to have an abortion. And once they do, medical personnel tell them how to obtain the drug Misoprostol in pharmacies or on the black market ... and how to use it at home in order to abort their babies.

As you know, however, taking Misoprostol alone does not always result in an abortion. It’s only half of the RU-486 regimen. And the callous individuals in Uruguay who are telling women to take Misoprostol know this!

Not surprisingly, then, 56% of the mothers who begin these Misoprostol abortions come back to the hospitals hemorrhaging and needing a dilation and curettage (D&C) to finish the abortion.

This is precisely what the heralds of the culture of death want to happen. They are literally creating the “unsafe abortion” crisis that they plan on using to launch a new call for legalized abortion-on-demand in Uruguay. And if a few thousand unsuspecting women die in the process, so be it.

Even as you read this, our HLI pro-life missionaries are working round the clock to expose this treachery.

But they desperately need your help in order to succeed.

We can make a big difference for them ... and at relatively little cost. For example:

* $10,000 will enable HLI to sponsor a conference that would instruct pro-life activists on what’s going on, organize them into a cohesive force, and show them how to mobilize the people to demand that government officials restore Uruguay’s lifelong pro-life and pro-family laws.

* $14,000 will allow HLI to provide materials – films, publications and preborn baby models – to pro-life high school teachers in every school in the country, which they can use to refute the abortion propaganda now rampant in Uruguayan schools and instill in young people respect for innocent human life.

* $5,000 will allow HLI to publish brochures, pamphlets and other publications to HLI’s pro-life missionaries who are on the ground and ready to distribute these materials all across the country.

We need to act now to help spread the truth about what the culture of death has in store for the women and babies of Uruguay.

Click here to send an emergency contribution that HLI will use to help the people of Uruguay cast out the abortion demon. Time is of the essence.

Catholics for a Free Choice and other liberal pro-abortion groups have targeted this small Latin America nation to become the abortion base of operations from which they will spread out and impose their anti-life agenda throughout all of Latin America. Years of anti-life propaganda has already reduced the country’s fertility rate to below replacement levels. And earlier this year, the agents of death put on an international abortion conference in Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo. Conference leaders had the gall to promote the use of Misoprostol as a way to end “unsafe abortions” ... all the while knowing that this “abortion cocktail” would in fact lead to the deaths of many women and create the very crisis they proclaim to the world they are trying to prevent!

Right now, only a few brave pro-lifers – led by HLI’s pro-life missionaries – stand in the way of these “murderers” and “liars.”

This is your chance to help rescue an entire country – and quite possibly an entire continent! – before it becomes the next victim of the culture of death!

Click here to send HLI the largest gift you can give today.

And please join me in invoking the heavenly aid of Uruguay’s Guardian Angel. Lift your heart to God and say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Do this right now:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend the people of Uruguay in battle! Be their protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil! By the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about Uruguay seeking the ruin of souls!

May God bless you!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Russian Orthodox Reject Interconfessional Worship, 12 May 2008

Once again it has been asserted in the Russian Orthodox church of the Moscow patriarchate that they do not consider it possible for Orthodox persons to perform divine services jointly with representatives of other Christian confessions.

"We wish to affirm once again our intention to refrain from participation in joint worship with persons of other confessions," a worker in the Secretariat for Inter-Christian Relations of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, the priest Alexander Vasiutin, told the "Interfax-Religion" portal.

He said that this matter has acquired new pertinence in the process of preparing for the XIII General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches which is scheduled for July 2009 in Lyons (France).

The news agency's interlocutor, who also is a member of the assembly's organizing committee, noted that "the position of the Russian Orthodox church, unfortunately, does not always meet with understanding among representatives of other local Orthodox churches."

As an example, Fr Alexander told how at a recent session of the organizing committee Metropolitan of Gaul Emmanuel (Constantinople patriarchate) responded to the suggestion of refraining from performing interconfessional worship at the assembly by saying that "the position of representatives of the Moscow patriarchate on this matter reminds one of the behavior of a man who has a wife but doesn't sleep with her."

In addition, the representative of Constantinople posed the question, "why do representatives of the Moscow patriarchate always refuse to participate in joint worship with non-Orthodox, while Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and all-Rus participated in joint worship with Catholic clergy in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris when he was there?"

"There is no need to repeat the information disseminated by many church and secular news media that in reality an Orthodox prayer service was conducted in the Paris Notre Dame cathedral at which representatives of the Roman Catholic church were merely present, including Archbishop of Paris André Vingt-Trois. But one cannot speak of any joint service or worship in this case," Fr Alexander stressed. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)

Source: Russia Religion News
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Requiem Mass for Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Andrew Bertie

The New Liturgical Movement has several excellent photographs (including the above image) from the Requiem Mass offered for the repose of the soul of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Andrew Bertie.

His full title was His Most Eminent Highness Fra Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ. He was the fourth cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Image Source: Via, New Liturgical Movement
Spanish Cardinal urges Parents to Resist Government Indoctrination

Toledo, Jun. 13, 2008 ( - A Spanish cardinal has called upon Catholic parents to "use all legitimate means in your power to defend your right to determine the moral education of your children." Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera spoke out in response to the obligatory "Education for Citizenship" classes that will be introduced in some Spanish public schools in the next academic year. He warned that the courses offer "a moral formation that is not determined by parents" and sometimes contradicts the moral teachings of the Church. In a pastoral letter issued for the close of this academic year, Cardinal Cañizares argued that "public authority cannot impose any certain moral code on all people, whether it be supposedly a majority choice, or Catholic, or any other kind." That authority is reserved for parents, he insisted. Addressing himself specifically to administrators of Catholic schools, the cardinal said that they should not accept the "Education for Citizenship" curriculum because it "would go against your mission." Even public schools should not promote the course, he continued, because it would violate "the ideological neutrality they should have." Cardinal Cañizares strongly encouraged citizens to use every means to stop the imposition of the moral-education program, assuring them that "there is still time remaining to change the course of events." Political activism is amply warranted in this case, he added, because parents "are not asking for anything more than they should have." Source: Catholic World News
Archbishop Capalla on Mass Dress Code

MANILA, Philippines - A Catholic bishop on Wednesday said that "freedom of expression" should not be used as an excuse for some churchgoers who continue to ignore a "dress code" inside the church.

Davao archbishop Fernando Capalla said it is foolish to invoke personal freedom in the choice of dress for liturgical functions.

"We have to admit that, while living in society, our personal freedom is limited by the rights of others. And if we want to live in peace and harmony with others we have to observe certain proprieties of behavior," he said in a statement on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website.

Capalla said the dress code is a sign of propriety and reminded all Catholics in the archdiocese that liturgical functions require decent and simple attire.

According to him, he issued the reminder not because he took offense felt insulted, but he is simply concerned about order and propriety in human relations.

"This applies to both ministers and the faithful and there are liturgical guidelines to this effect," he said.

"I am only supporting what the home, the school, and social and civic institutions are supposed to be doing on this matter," he added.

Capalla said that in the celebration of the Eucharist, which the Church considers a solemn occasion, churchgoers are required to be in their decent attire.

"Everyone should be able to dress up simply and decently even not elegantly for Mass. (But) to come to Mass in short pants or jogging pants would be out of place and can be very improper and unbecoming (behavior). Short pants are for the person's privacy or sporting occasions, so are the jogging pants. Beach wear and working outfits are not for the solemn and sacred celebration like the Mass," he stressed.

"Sunday best has become a common expression of people who know the value of the Sunday celebration and so those who pride themselves on self-respect choose the best for the Lord. I am not very sure now whether that passage in the Gospel where an invited guest was thrown out because he was not dressed properly, is applicable here. It seems it is," he added. - GMANews.TV

Friday, June 13, 2008
Beatification soon for 250 Spanish Civil War Martyrs

Valencia, Jun. 12, 2008 ( - The Spanish financial newspaper La Gaceta de los Negocios reports that the Vatican has given the green light to the beatification of 250 Spaniards martyred in Valencia during Spain's Civil War. The Vatican has not issued any formal announcement. 

Valencia's Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco opened the cause in 2004 for 183 priests, 10 religious, and 57 laymen, including a woman who was 9 months pregnant, who was asked her captors to let her give birth to her child so that she could baptize him but sadly her request was denied. In 2001, John Paul II beatified 226 other Valencian martyrs of the Spanish Civil War. 

 Source: Catholic World News
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Romanian Clerics Create Trade Unions to Protect Themselves from their Executives

Bucharest, June 11, Interfax - Priests of the Romanian Patriarchate come from different regions of the country to join trade unions to protect their own interests from the church management.

In particular, some time ago, 20 priests filed documents to Iasi court for incorporation of the "Holy Virgin Protection" trade union. Later, 35 clerics from Oltenia province declared the official incorporation of the independent "Good Pastor" trade union and their intent to hold a strike action aimed at protecting their rights.

"There is an abyss between the church hierarchy and the priests who serve in churches. We are put under pressure, and have already lost some of our members," priest Nikolay State, vice-president of Good Pastor, said in his interview to the Gyndyl newspaper.

He also said that Oltenian priests were seeking to create their trade union for several years. The main objective of trade union members is to oppose low wages of priests and support their right to make decisions related to their parish without prior approval of the diocese.

Besides, trade union members are seeking for the right to run for any position in administrative bodies without prior consent of their executives.

The Metropolitan of Oltenia, however, warned the priests, who had established the trade union, of their possible defrocking.

"There is the principal incompatibility of priests' servicing and trade union activity, because the priest's mission is to unite people with each other and the God, and any trade union activity involves confrontation and separatism," the official message of the metropolitan reads.

Source: Interfax Religion
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hildengard von Bingen's "Marriage of the Heavens and the Earth" have also had an opportunity to review Hildengard von Bingen's "Marriage of the Heavens and the Earth". This CD is a collection of Hildengard's best compositions - a true gem to own!
After being forgotten for several centuries, Hildegard von Bingen is recognized today as one of the universal minds in Western culture. The abbess at the monastery of Saint-Rupert close to the town of Bingen, Hildegard was a composer, writer, physician and visionary who lived in the 12th century A.D.

Hildegard von Bingen s music is undoubtedly her most inspiring legacy. She is considered one of the leading composers of the Middle Ages. One of her works, the Ordo Virtutum, has been called the first form, and possibly the origin, of opera. She composed seventy-seven more songs mostly for her monastery. Only a few decades ago, this incredible treasure was rediscovered and presented to a larger audience.

Jade Music is proud to release Marriage of the Heavens and the Earth, an album by Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe that contains some of von Bingen s best known compositions.

For more than 15 years, Catherine Braslavsky has been playing Hildegard von Bingen s music. Herself a composer and Greogorian chant enthusiast, she also studied Indian, Judeo-Spanish and harmonic chant. She is currently also pursuing her research on ancient music. Soloist, musical director, and teacher, she has performed all over Europe, the United States and Japan. With Joseph Rowe, she recorded six albums that explore contemporary sacred music, and sacred music of Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Into Great Silence Soundtrack it is stereo-typically identified as a silent film, "Into Great Silence" features a variety of sounds, including beautiful Gregorian Chant. I have already watched the film three times, and I whole-heatedly recommend the soundtrack for "Into Great Silence". Tracks include "Matins", "Pentecost Matins", "Corpus Christi", "Salve Regina", and others!

Click here to preview some of the songs.
Olivier Messiaen: Never Before Released

I was recently given the opportunity to review Olivier Messiaen's "Never Before Released" CD. Featuring "La Mort Du Nombre", "Offrande Au Saint Sacrement", and twelve other tracks, I enjoyed listening to this CD, even though it certainly was not my favorite soundtrack of piano. If you enjoy piano music, you should appreciate adding this CD to your collection.
Jade Music, the specialty arm of Milan Records, is proud to commemorate Olivier Messiaen s 100th birthday with the album entitled Never Before Released. Messiaen was born in the French town of Avignon into a literary family and entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11.

He would become a leading composer and organist of his time, traveling the globe and performing in major concert venues. In 1949, Messiaen s Turangalîla-Symphonie was performed for the first time in the United States and conducted by Leonard Bernstein. He drew his inspiration from very diverse influences such as Japanese music, Greek and Hindu sources and Roman Catholicism.

The album Never Before Released regroups works from three different sources. Some songs were unpublished and kept only in Messiaen s archives Offrande au Saint Sacrement, Prélude pour Orgue, Chant dans le style Mozart, Quatre Inédits pour Piano et Onde Martenot, and Prélude pour Piano. Some songs were published but never available to the public Monodie, Pièce pour le Tombeau de Dukas, Pièce pour Piano et Quatuor à cordes, and Chant des Déportés. Finally, some songs were published but are no longer available on CD La Mort du Nombre, and Le Merle Noir.

This exceptional recording includes, among others, performances by his wife, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, the BBC Choir and Orchestra, Guy Deplus, and is a tribute to a major figure of 20th century contemporary music
Catholic-Orthodox Unity Unlikely

Moscow, June 9, Interfax - A complete holy communion between Orthodox believers and Catholics is very unlikely, Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations, Archbishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, said in an interview with the newspaper Soyuznoye Veche of the Russia-Belarus Union Parliamentary Assembly.

"I think we should not expect the complete unity of Orthodox and Catholic rites. The division occurred almost 1,000 years ago and it can hardly be repaired," he said.

The archbishop said he does not think the differences between Orthodox believers and Catholics will evaporate in the third millennium.

At the same time, certain theological differences do not hamper cooperation and possible joint protection of common values, he said.

"We will not unite but we can learn to be allies and partners. We should not be rivals, we should be Christians who may differ in certain theological intricacies but have practically the same ideas about morals and social values," he said.

Source: Interfax Religion
Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Humanae Vitae Prophecies

Pope Paul VI has been called a prophet for his intuitions expressed in the 1968 encyclical, Humanae vitae, about what would happen to society if contraception ever became widely used. But a “prophecy” is much more than just a prediction: it is really a view of reality and an assessment of what happens when the right order of things is snubbed. All the Old Testament prophets told the people of Israel, in unambiguous terms, that they had turned their backs on the Lord’s covenant (God’s view of reality) and that the consequences would be dire if they persevered in that apostasy. Succeeding generations of scholars, who saw the fulfillment of the prophets’ words, then scrupulously wrote their prophecies down for posterity—lest anyone forget them!

Brother priests, faithful to the Magisterium, in a certain sense, we are the true prophets of our modern times when we teach God’s view of reality to our world. Or rather, we are the scribes who echo the teachings of our great papal prophets for the benefit of our flocks. Let us make sure our people know what the Prophet, Paul VI, said in Humanae vitae forty years ago so that their marriages, and their souls, will not perish.

The four prophecies of Humanae vitae are clear, but also stubborn, views of reality. They are unequivocally countercultural. Paul VI said that if a society accepted contraception as a way of life (like all economically developed societies have), then several consequences would inevitably result:

* First, contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity. Not hard to see this one right? When you separate babies from the marital act there is nothing binding that act to, well, marriage. Fornication (pre-marital) and adultery (extra-marital) have thus skyrocketed with the massive practice of contraception.

* Second, Pope Paul predicted that contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.” Hmm, let’s see if this one was right: “normal” youthful entertainments in our society today include that despicable MTV channel, hooking up, salacious reality TV shows, heavy metal music, wicca and the New Age, drugs and ubiquitous internet porn. In Janet Smith’s famous words: has anyone noticed a “general lowering of morality” lately?

* Third, Paul VI said that contraception would lead men to cease respecting women in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners. Clearly, this prophecy has been vindicated many times over by pornography alone, the most lucrative business in the modern world. That entire industry is singularly dedicated to the “selfish enjoyment” of men.

* Finally, the Holy Father said that massive acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments. He predicted, in other words, that contraception would pass from a “lifestyle choice” to a weapon of mass destruction, and how dreadfully his prophecy has been vindicated by population control and coercive sterilization programs, fertility reduction quotas and the promotion of abortion literally everywhere in the world.

Should the blame for all these terrible evils of our modern times be laid at the feet of contraception? Well, yes—at least largely so. That’s the truth that we, as priests, must absolutely get clear so that we can hand this on to our people. Contraception’s destruction of the integrity of the marital act—as unitive and procreative—has dire consequences for society and for souls. Contraception is a rejection of God’s view of reality. It is a wedge driven into the most intimate sphere of communion known to man outside of the Holy Mass. It is a degrading poison that withers life and love both in marriage and in society. No wonder everything goes wrong when contraception shows up.

The Prophet has warned us. Now it’s our turn to warn our people. Brothers, their very souls are at stake!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Maternal Deaths Down In Nicaragua Once Abortion Is Eliminated

Maternal Deaths Down In Nicaragua Once Abortion Is Eliminated

Unsuspecting pro-life cultures are regularly assaulted by the “logic” of the international abortion promoters who push their anti-life agenda into every culture that will cave in to the pressure. Their main argument goes roughly like this: “When abortion is not legal, women have abortions anyway but in unsafe conditions and back-alley clinics with untrained people who injure and kill them. All this death and injury is totally unnecessary and we could just solve the problem overnight by legalizing abortion to make it safe and keep all these poor women from dying.”

That’s the main argument which, in one form or another, is repeated ad nauseam by the abortion lobby to sympathetic healthcare providers, social workers, government leaders and the media. It can be an effective argument for legalized abortion because people are generally more willing to sacrifice the rights of the unseen child for the immediate perceived needs of the suffering woman. However, that argument is a ruse. Abortion doesn’t work the way they say it does. In reality, legalized abortion, besides killing babies, creates a climate of disrespect for women’s health that leads to a greater number of maternal deaths. Let’s take another look at the most fascinating and heroic case study in the abortion wars that our modern age has seen: Nicaragua.

That marvelous little pro-life country in Central America is a good example of what happens when a country chooses a culture of life. Remember that Nicaragua made abortion completely illegal in 2006 and then reaffirmed that prohibition in 2007. The overall positive results for Nicaraguan women have been just amazing. The abortion promoters screamed that making abortion illegal would cause women to die in droves because of more back-alley abortions, but that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite is true—fewer women are dying now! A recent publication by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health noted that the overall maternal mortality rate decreased by 58% in the year that abortion has been made totally illegal. There were 21 maternal deaths for 2007 compared to 50 maternal deaths the year before. This is a stunning reversal!

The lie that women will die from back-alley, “unsafe,” abortions is nothing but a scare tactic to coerce pro-life cultures into compliance with abortion. The truth is that abortion-free cultures have a greater respect for women and babies and are not subject to that degrading pall of killing that lies over the medical profession. In the case of Nicaragua, their rejection of abortion in 2006/2007 coincided—not surprisingly—with a greater provision of basic pre-natal services for pregnant women and accompaniment in childbirth which is what led to the surprising turn-around in the maternal death rate. Even aside from legal protection of babies, pro-life cultures just protect women better, it’s that simple.

We don’t have to listen to the liars who tell us that legalized abortion is “safe.” Women are much safer in countries where abortion is not legal. Abortion enthusiasts were never able to use the maternal death argument in abortion-free Ireland which has the lowest rate of maternal deaths in the world. They are also confounded by pro-life cultures like Poland that restricted abortion in 1993 and has seen a phenomenal increase in maternal wellbeing ever since.

The abortion promoters tell us that certain abortions are unsafe. They’re half right. Actually, all abortions are unsafe. The numbers don’t lie.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Monday, June 9, 2008
Bishop Renato Corti Disciplines Three Traditional Priests

Rome, Jun. 9, 2008 ( - Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, has formally removed three pastors who were suspended last year because they insisted on celebrating only the traditional Latin Mass.

Fathers Alberto Secci, Stefano Coggiola, and Marco Pizzochi, who have been under suspension since last fall, have now been replaced in their parish assignments. The three priests were disciplined by their bishops for refusing to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass.

The suspensions had drawn different reactions from the priests' parishioners. In Father Secci's parish, 600 people signed a petition saying that they would attend Mass only if it was celebrated in the extraordinary form. Father Coggiola's parishioners were reportedly divided, with some supporting their pastor and others praising the bishop for taking disciplinary action against him.

Source: CWNews
True Inculturation: Kenya, 1937

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Protest the Birth Control Pill

Please learn why the Catholic Church is opposed to artificial contraception.

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Source: Humane Vitae
Friday, June 6, 2008
Mass at Basilica di San Nicola in Carcere

The following photos are of a Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal at the 11th Century Basilica di San Nicola in Carcere, which is merely a 10-minute walk from Saint Anselmo on the via del Teatro di Marcello.

Image Source: Used with Permission of the person that emailed them to me.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Corpus Christi Procession at Ss. Philomena & Cecilia in Brookville, IN

These and other photos are from Una Voce Carmel.

Ss. Philomena & Cecilia’s is an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Fr. Gerard Saguto is the administrator of the apostolate, if you would like more information on Mass times or joining the Parish please call the rectory 765-647-0310.
Novena to St. Anthony of Padua

Novena to St. Anthony of Padua - Say once a day for nine days, especially beginning on 4 June and ending on 12 June, the eve of the Feast of St. Anthony. 

O White lily of purity, sublime example of poverty, true mirror of humility, resplendent star of sanctity. O glorious St Anthony, who didst enjoy the sweet privilege of receiving into thy arms the Infant Jesus, I beseech thee to take me under they powerful protection. Thou in whom the power of working miracles shines forth among the other gifts of God, have pity upon me and come to my aid in this my great need.

(Mention your intentions here). 

 Cleanse my heart from every disorderly affection, obtain for me a true contrition for my sins and a great love of God and of my neighbour that serving God faithfully in this life, I may come to praise, enjoy and bless Him eternally with thee in Paradise. Amen 

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. 

Visit Catholic Tradition for a longer traditional novena to St. Anthony, with a distinct prayer for each day of the novena.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Eucharistic Procession in Birmingham to End Abortion

Under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Monday 9th June to Sunday 15th June 2008

Priests and people praying the rosary are to process with the Blessed Sacrament round the abortion clinic on Arthur Road Edgbaston Birmingham 15 following the route of Arthur Road, Carpenter Road and Ampton Road

On the weekdays from Monday 9th June to Saturday 14th June 2008 inclusive we will start with Mass at the Oratory Church, Hagley Road, Edgbaston at 3pm and after travelling to Arthur Road priests (one carrying the Blessed Sacrament unseen) and people will process once round the route. It will take about 20 minutes.

On Sunday 15th June 2008 we will start at Arthur Road at 2pm (no Mass) and process (priests vested) round the route seven times, carrying the Blessed Sacrament openly, accompanied by the ringing of bells.


During the event supporters will pray before the Blessed Sacrament at St. Dunstan’s Church, Kings Heath and other venues praying many Rosaries. We invite everyone to join us in prayer from their churches or homes or elsewhere, especially the old and the sick.


1. For a conversion of heart among the organisers and staff of the abortion centre and centres generally so that they and others may join the present movement to stop abortions world wide. They will know at first hand the distressing effects abortion has on women and the cruel death visited on the babies aborted. They must know too about the lucrative and shameful sale of aborted baby parts.

2. To reinstate the priesthood in the eyes of the people, one of God’s purposes at the original Siege of Jericho on which we model this prayer crusade.

To help with organisation please let us know in advance, if you can, on which days you intend to participate.

Contact us on 0121 705 9317 or 0121 706 1973

Please tell your priest friends and encourage them to come on one or more days
Image Source: Wikipedia
Updated Books for Sale Listing

Today I updated my list of Books for Sale. If you are interested in any of the books for sale, please email me.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Unconfirmed: Vatican Allegedly Denounces Medjugorje Apparitions

I have not been a supporter of Medjugorje because some of the alleged messages of Medjugorje seem to contradict Catholic Tradition.

Some of the Alleged "Messages" from Medjugorje:

"All religions are equal before God," says the Virgin. (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p. 317

"I do not dispose of all graces...Jesus prefers that you address your petitions directly to him, rather than through an intermediary." (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p.181, 277-278)

"God directs all denominations as a king directs his subjects, through the medium of his ministers" ("The Apparitions at Medjugorje," by Fr. Svat Kraljevic, 1984, p.58)

"It is you who are divided on this earth. The Muslims and the Orthodox, like the Catholics, are equal before my Son and before me, for you are all my children." (Fr. Ljubic, p.71)

"The Madonna said that religious are separated in the earth, but the people of all religions are accepted by her Son." Ivanka Ivankovic (The Apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, Francisco Herald Press, 1984)

Question: "Is the Blessed Mother calling all people to be Catholic?" Answer: "No. The Blessed Mother says all religions are dear to her and her Son." Vicka Ivankovic. (The Visions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje, St. Martin's Press, August, 1992)

The Teaching of the Church:

Pope Innocent III: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)

Pope Boniface VIII: "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

Pope Eugene IV: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." (Cantate Domino, 1441.)


Emphasis is in bold and my comment are in red. Importantly, I am unable to verify any of this information from a trusted, well-known source.
The Vatican has denounced a group [interesting news. I would like to confirm this statement with more sources] who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary more than 40,000 times in the past 27 years.

The six Bosnian 'seers' attract five million pilgrims a year to their home town of Medjugorje, providing a lucrative trade for local businesses.

Hundreds of thousands travel there each year from Britain alone.

The Vatican has rejected claims made by the six Bosnian 'seers' that they have seen the Virgin Mary more than 40,000 times over the past 27 years

But now one of the most respected voices in the Roman Catholic church has accused the visionaries of perpetuating a 'diabolical deceit'.

Andrea Gemma, 77, a bishop and once the Vatican's top exorcist, told a magazine in Italy: 'In Medjugorje everything happens in function of money: Pilgrimages, lodging houses, sale of trinkets.

'This whole sham is the work of the Devil. It is a scandal.' He said the Vatican would soon crack down on the group.

The Medjugorje phenomenon began on June 25, 1981, when six children told a priest they had seen the Virgin on a hillside near their town.

A church investigation dismissed the vision, and the Vatican banned pilgrimages to the site in 1985. But many Catholics ignored the ban. [Confirmation is needed of these statements]

Today, the seers own smart houses with security gates and tennis courts and expensive cars. One is married to a former U.S. beauty queen.
Catholic officials in the U.S. have recently banned the group from speaking on church property during their world tours, on which they allegedly take the Virgin with them.

Source: Daily Mail

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