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Author Topic: Copts, Catholics, and Circumcision  (Read 4826 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 26, 2010, 03:41:59 PM »

I didn't know that the Council of Florence absolutely forbids circumcision (even if one rejects the idea that circumcision is necessary for salvation). Since, as far as I know, many in the Coptic Church do practice circumcision, how does that affect Catholic/Coptic relations?

Quote
ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF FLORENCE (1438-1445)

Session 11—4 February 1442

[Bull of union with the Copts]

It firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ's passion until the promulgation of the gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But it asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation. Therefore it denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the sabbath and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 05:36:26 PM »

Do the Copts actually have some ritual attached to circumcision? Does this bull affect those (including many Catholics) who have their children circumcised by doctors for health/ cultural reasons?
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 05:43:16 PM »

Do Catholics actually follow this canon?  I think this might be one of those examples of an outdated canon that is only followed at the time and place it was in, not necessarily an eternal canon.

Can a Catholic confirm this?

As for Copts, there is no ritual as far as I know of circumcision.  At least among the more modern Copts, this a medical practice, not a cultural one.

As far as the Coptic practice in the 15th Century, I'm not sure.  It is true though, for example, males are baptized in the 40th day, and females on the 80th day.  As to why, I cannot tell you except maybe some sort of Coptic interpretation of the Mosaic law preserved into the Church.

Besides, today, it seems the Catholic Church cares more about dogma than the literal acceptance of ecumenical councils, so even the idea to accept Chalcedon does not hinder the Catholic Church's offering of unity, and it seems that Coptic Catholics today seem to keep a lot of the anti-Chalcedonian saints as their own.  The major difference between Coptic Catholics and Orthodox is the Petrine Primacy, the most important dogma in the Catholic Church, interestingly enough.
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 06:58:42 PM »

Does this bull affect those (including many Catholics) who have their children circumcised by doctors for health/ cultural reasons?
Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 07:13:45 PM »

Perhaps this is relevant:

Quote
The following century, king Suseynos (1607-32) became Catholic in the hope of an advantgeous militry alliance with the west, but his successor drove the Catholic missionaires out of Ethiopia again when they tried to assert full-blown Catholicism. Alphonsus Mendes, who was sent out as patriarch of Ethiopia, demanded that all Ethiopian Christians be re-baptized, and the priests re-ordained, though he permitted the married priests to remain married. He prohibited the Ethiopian custom of circumcision, and insisted that Saturday be turned from the Sabbath as observed by the Ethiopians to a fast day as observed by Ethiopian Christians.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 09:23:28 PM »

I thought I just remembered reading some historical EOTC admonishment of the faithful not to circumcise their children.

Yes, I know that not all Coptic and Ethiopian practices are the same, but from what I can tell the majority are, and the two have an obvious connection.
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 06:45:07 AM »

I thought I just remembered reading some historical EOTC admonishment of the faithful not to circumcise their children.

Yes, I know that not all Coptic and Ethiopian practices are the same, but from what I can tell the majority are, and the two have an obvious connection.


It's a very interesting issue. The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical, but in our Church we cling to many Judaic traditions that were fulfilled in Christ- not because we view them as means of our salvation, but because these Judaic practices teach us and remind us of the perfect fulfillment they have in Christ. For example, we do not cling to the Ark of the Covenant or circumcision for our salvation, but we embrace these traditions because they were vital in leading us to Our Lord.


Selam
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 07:43:52 AM »

Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

If one refuses to circumcise his/her, is he/she excommunicated? And is it demanded from adult converts?
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 08:18:00 AM »

Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

If one refuses to circumcise his/her, is he/she excommunicated? And is it demanded from adult converts?

No! Absolutely not! It is simply an ingrained religious custom- very significant, but in no way required.


Selam
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 05:52:37 PM »

circumcision is customary in the coptic church...

i want to shake hands with every bishop from the Council of Florence
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 08:44:40 PM »

circumcision is customary in the coptic church...

i want to shake hands with every bishop from the Council of Florence
LOL. Submit to the Vatican and you can kiss their hands.
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 10:46:15 PM »

The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical,

Or it could be inconsistency because of ignorance; people not really thinking entirely rationally with their religion.

Don't you think it would be important to take the spirit of this passage to task instead of just ignoring it because of your Judaic heritage?
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 10:46:15 PM »

circumcision is customary in the coptic church...

i want to shake hands with every bishop from the Council of Florence

Why? Just because of their condemnation of circumcision? I can't think of much else that was admirable about the council.
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2010, 12:03:58 AM »

The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical,

Or it could be inconsistency because of ignorance; people not really thinking entirely rationally with their religion.

Don't you think it would be important to take the spirit of this passage to task instead of just ignoring it because of your Judaic heritage?

Our sons are not circumcised.


Selam
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2010, 11:59:20 AM »

i want to shake hands with every bishop from the Council of Florence

Are you serious?

I'd like to shake Nestorius' hand and ask him, "What in the world were you thinking?"
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2010, 06:15:50 PM »

The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical,

Or it could be inconsistency because of ignorance; people not really thinking entirely rationally with their religion.

Don't you think it would be important to take the spirit of this passage to task instead of just ignoring it because of your Judaic heritage?

Our sons are not circumcised.


Selam

Well good on you, then.  Tongue laugh
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2011, 04:47:22 AM »


It's a very interesting issue. The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical, but in our Church we cling to many Judaic traditions that were fulfilled in Christ- not because we view them as means of our salvation, but because these Judaic practices teach us and remind us of the perfect fulfillment they have in Christ. For example, we do not cling to the Ark of the Covenant or circumcision for our salvation, but we embrace these traditions because they were vital in leading us to Our Lord.


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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2012, 06:22:32 AM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2012, 08:47:46 AM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
I went to a "Catholic" high school.  The shower room.
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2012, 10:11:05 AM »

The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical,

Or it could be inconsistency because of ignorance; people not really thinking entirely rationally with their religion.

Don't you think it would be important to take the spirit of this passage to task instead of just ignoring it because of your Judaic heritage?

Our sons are not circumcised.


Selam
I'm sure they are glad you are broadcasting that.  Grin lol
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2012, 10:11:53 AM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
I went to a "Catholic" high school.  The shower room.
I thought you were just condemning homosexuality in another thread...  Grin I kid! I kid!
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2012, 10:33:08 AM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
Here:

The Church is neutral on the question of whether Christians should circumcise their sons. If, after due consideration, a Christian feels that circumcision is in the best interest of his son, he is acting within his parental rights.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2012, 04:29:26 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Quote
Among us, circumcision may be omitted, or may be done without any legal prescription.  The words of the Apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians shows this.  He indeed said, "Circumcision is nothing and the prepuce is nothing, but justice is observance of the commandments of God." Similar is his saying to the Galatians in the fifth chapter of his letter, "To be circumcised avails nothing, nor to be uncircumcised; but faith which is fulfilled with charity."  And he repeated this in the sixth chapter of the same letter, saying, "Circumcision and the prepuce are nothing, but the usefullness of deeds is the new creation of baptism."  The external interpretation of his words reveals a prohibition of circumcision because his intent was to prohibit the obligation to observe the Law of the Old Testament, the basic precept of which is circumcision.  And Paul has called the Ancient Law by its basic precept, as the Holy Books get their names from their basic contents, such as the book of Creation and the book of Numbers.  In the same way the Law of the Old Testament is called by the name of circumcision in the place already mentioned, and the other is called by the name of prepuce..

 However, they should abstain from circumcision after having been baptized.  And there are other necessities which have been mentioned also in a book other than this one. As for utility, a sage among philosophers and those who know science in all its aspects has said that with circumcision, the organ of concupiscence becomes weak and cool.  When practiced with agreement, circumcision is advisable in the saintly Christian law."
Ethiopian Fetha Negast Church Law

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2012, 04:48:14 PM »

i want to shake hands with every bishop from the Council of Florence

Are you serious?

I'd like to shake Nestorius' hand and ask him, "What in the world were you thinking?"

I don't know that he knew what he himself was thinking. He's confident in his proclamations, but uncertain in his understandings. To be a good heretic, you have to have these two things. And, of course, it doesn't hurt to make up fun ditties for the masses to sing.
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 05:09:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I thought I just remembered reading some historical EOTC admonishment of the faithful not to circumcise their children.

Yes, I know that not all Coptic and Ethiopian practices are the same, but from what I can tell the majority are, and the two have an obvious connection.


It's a very interesting issue. The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical, but in our Church we cling to many Judaic traditions
Yes, at face value this appears a contradiction, but you must get etymological about it. ገዘረ gazara "to circumcise" which comes from a root which can either mean "to cut" ገረዘ (garaza) or "to buy, own" ገዛ (geza) which is also related to the concept of sovereignty.   So the word is saying we should both not "cut" or further "buy/own (i.e., under legal contract as in the Law where it says all males must be circumcised and dedicated as slaves to the Lord). Remember what Apostle Paul said, "You were bought with a price?"  Further it is written "Engedeh ende Ehud angazara" with the term እንደ (ende="like,as") which could literally be translated as, "So then, like the Jew Do-Not Circumcise."We are not to circumcise like the Jews did, which implies as a legal obligation, hence the concept of ownership or lordship.  Christians are not obligated by law or religion to practice circumcision, rather it is strictly a matter of culture and taste.  After all, remember that circumcision is not exclusively a Jewish thing, it is a feature if indigenous Semitic culture across East Africa, predating all of the Abrahamic religions, and is found from Egypt to Kenya, from Sudan through Ethiopia.  It is as indigenously Semitic as is monotheism (the Semitic "pagans" of Ethiopia were/are also monotheists before any exposure to Abrahamic faiths).  This further agrees with what Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of John 7:22, "Therefore Moses has given you circumcision, not that it is of Moses himself, but it is of the fathers.."  So in Ethiopian Orthodox, circumcision is perfectly acceptable so long as it is both strictly a cultural feature (i.e., not necessarily religious) and further not a matter of religious obligation (i.e., not coerced by the clergies) as a matter of Salvation (such as for reception of the Mysteries).

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2012, 03:56:49 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I thought I just remembered reading some historical EOTC admonishment of the faithful not to circumcise their children.

Yes, I know that not all Coptic and Ethiopian practices are the same, but from what I can tell the majority are, and the two have an obvious connection.


It's a very interesting issue. The Divine Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church states, "Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come." Yet circumcision is almost universally practiced by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. It seems paradoxical, but in our Church we cling to many Judaic traditions
Yes, at face value this appears a contradiction, but you must get etymological about it. ገዘረ gazara "to circumcise" which comes from a root which can either mean "to cut" ገረዘ (garaza) or "to buy, own" ገዛ (geza) which is also related to the concept of sovereignty.   So the word is saying we should both not "cut" or further "buy/own (i.e., under legal contract as in the Law where it says all males must be circumcised and dedicated as slaves to the Lord). Remember what Apostle Paul said, "You were bought with a price?"  Further it is written "Engedeh ende Ehud angazara" with the term እንደ (ende="like,as") which could literally be translated as, "So then, like the Jew Do-Not Circumcise."We are not to circumcise like the Jews did, which implies as a legal obligation, hence the concept of ownership or lordship.  Christians are not obligated by law or religion to practice circumcision, rather it is strictly a matter of culture and taste.  After all, remember that circumcision is not exclusively a Jewish thing, it is a feature if indigenous Semitic culture across East Africa, predating all of the Abrahamic religions, and is found from Egypt to Kenya, from Sudan through Ethiopia.  It is as indigenously Semitic as is monotheism (the Semitic "pagans" of Ethiopia were/are also monotheists before any exposure to Abrahamic faiths).  This further agrees with what Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of John 7:22, "Therefore Moses has given you circumcision, not that it is of Moses himself, but it is of the fathers.."  So in Ethiopian Orthodox, circumcision is perfectly acceptable so long as it is both strictly a cultural feature (i.e., not necessarily religious) and further not a matter of religious obligation (i.e., not coerced by the clergies) as a matter of Salvation (such as for reception of the Mysteries).

stay blessed,
habte selassie


Give thanks for the excellent clarification dear brother.


Selam
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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2012, 05:16:48 PM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
I went to a "Catholic" high school.  The shower room.
Jut because something is done in practice, that doesn't mean it is allowed in theory.
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2012, 08:11:05 PM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
I went to a "Catholic" high school.  The shower room.
Jut because something is done in practice, that doesn't mean it is allowed in theory.

Yeah, that's like saying only arriving to liturgy at "meta fovou theou" and still communing anyway is acceptable in the Greek Church.
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2012, 09:07:16 PM »

Nope. Catholics today may circumcise their children.
Source please?
I went to a "Catholic" high school.  The shower room.
Jut because something is done in practice, that doesn't mean it is allowed in theory.
Evidently it has  been allowed in theory for some time:
Quote
Even some Christians circumcise their children, the Copts, for instance, and the Abyssinians, in Africa; and among the Filipinos, the same may be said of most of the Tagalos, who are Catholics. To these last, however, it is a mere ceremony without religious import.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03777a.htm

Aquinas, as always, has something interesting to say:
Quote
St. Thomas holds that circumcision was a figure of baptism: this retrenches and restrains the animal man as that removed a part of his body — which physical act indicated the spiritual effect of the sacrament (De Sac., Summa, III, Q. lxx, a. 1). He gives three reasons why the organ of generation rather than any other was to be circumcised:

Abraham was to be blessed in his seed;
The rite was to take away original sin, which comes by generation;
It was to restrain concupiscence, which is found especially in the generative organs (III, Q. lxx, a. 3)
It doesn't say a thing about Florence, interestingly enough, but has this to say:
Quote
According to his teaching, as baptism remits original sin and actual sins committed before its reception, so circumcision remitted both, but ex opere operantis, i.e. by the faith of the recipient, or, in the case of infants, by the faith of the parents. Infants that died before being circumcised could be saved, as were those who lived prior to the institution of circumcision, and as females were even after its institution, by some sign — the parents' prayer, for instance — expressive of faith. Adults did not receive the remission of all the temporal punishment due to sin as in baptism: — "Adulti, quando circumcidebantur, consequebantur remissionem, non solum originalis peccati, sed etiam actualium peccatorum; non tamen ita quod liberarentur ab omni reatu p næ, Sicut in baptismo, in quo confertur copiosior gratia" (III, Q. lxx, a. 4). The main points of the teaching of the Angelic Doctor were commonly held in the Church, even before the days of St. Augustine, who with other Fathers maintained that circumcision was not a mere ceremony, but a sacramental rite. (Cf. City of God XVI.27)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 09:07:54 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2012, 09:58:17 AM »

It is interesting how Thomas interprets circumcision, but that clearly refers to Jews before Christ. As for the Catholic Encyclopedia article, it does not state whether the procedure is allowed for Roman Catholics. However, it does speak of "the uncircumcision of the New Law".

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« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2012, 11:31:13 AM »

It is interesting how Thomas interprets circumcision, but that clearly refers to Jews before Christ. As for the Catholic Encyclopedia article, it does not state whether the procedure is allowed for Roman Catholics. However, it does speak of "the uncircumcision of the New Law".


The Vatican abolished all its canons for itself with the Code of Canon Law in 1917, which has been superseded now by the 1983 and 1990 Codes.  None have a prohibition of circumcision, so if not before, the Vatican has allowed it at least since then.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 11:32:25 AM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
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« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2012, 11:53:00 AM »

btw, one of the dumber posts I've seen on this issue:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2011/02/catholics-who-circumcised-do-not.html
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
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« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2012, 07:12:00 AM »

The Vatican abolished all its canons for itself with the Code of Canon Law in 1917, which has been superseded now by the 1983 and 1990 Codes.  None have a prohibition of circumcision, so if not before, the Vatican has allowed it at least since then.

I'll verify that. But if that is true, does that mean the canon from the Second Council of Lyons that excommunicates anyone who does not explicitly affirm the filioque is repealed as well?
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