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Why do people still think Catholics don't read the Bible?

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 06:31 AM
Original message
Why do people still think Catholics don't read the Bible?
4 readings at Sunday Mass X 52 Sundays X 3 cycles = 624.

The only thing I can't figure out is why so many of the readings from Paul consist of the long drawn out greetings that boil down to "Hello Corinth!"
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Beer Snob-50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. I think that generally, we Catholics tend not to make the bible
the focal point of our religious life. We tend to focus more on our relationship with God through prayer and good works.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. True, but I think the main reason is that

Protestants are told in their families and churches that Catholics don't read the Bible -- that they are not allowed to read the Bible because "the priests don't want them to find out the truth."

I was raised in the mainstream Protestant culture and I doubt it's changed too much. I was also told that Catholics worshipped Mary, worshipped statues, had to do everything the Pope said, and believed the Pope was perfect and could do no wrong. If you've ever tried to explain the doctrine of infallibility here at DU, you know how closed some peoples' minds are to hearing anything that interferes with their anti-Catholic prejudices.

My bullshit detector was well-developed at an early age, and all this sounded like BS to me, so I investigated Catholicism for myself.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yep, that's about the size of it
We were the minority where I grew up (I used to joke we were the n**gers of the community, but that's a bit extreme). People had all kinds of ideas about Catholics. It amazes me that even in this day and age they persist. This is why it disappoints me that certain American bishops appeared to be cozying up to the right-wing -- they think we're a cult, for chrissake! Why would any thinking Catholic play footsie with those people?
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-05 04:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. The truth is, in my area Catholics don't even own Bibles. I almost
became Catholic, my RW Catholic BF sent me the book Medjughore the Message (sp? is uncertain because my Catholic neighbor borrowed the book and refused to return it, even though my RW Catholic BF wrote a birthday greeting to me on the first page.) It was written by a Lutheran which I am.

I got the book April 26th and was in Bosnia less than a month later. I should have figured that the supposed Mary apparitions would have drawn more Catholics (she sold me on the idea and yet never went there, believing totally in the apparition).

She did actually buy a Bible, but really had no motivation in reading it. I only decided to believe or not at 29, and bought a Bible and read it. I think what Catholics miss is she kept telling me what the Bible said and she had never even read the Bible. That is the problem with Catholic school educated, they will tell you what the Bible says, without even having read it!

My whole family (on my dad's side is Catholic, most profess and where baptized and confirmed, but church is too hard for them) my aunt said who is liberal and church focused told me that she doesn't read the Bible because everyone has a different interpretation of the meaning of passages, so she didn't want to confuse herself!

That's why we challenge (I am not RW) those who tell us what the Bible says and they have never even read the book.

This is not intended to do anything but answer your question from an honest point of view.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-05 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Well, we do read the bible in Catholic school
Having been educated via one myself.

Since Catholics are not schooled to be evangelical (at least in my experience; although the social justice wing of the church does encourage activism) I doubt many of us are "challenging" other Christians on a regular basis.

Sorry you have that opinion of us based on your experience with Catholicism, but, I assure you, many, many of us do not fall in that category.

Actually, I have to laugh at non-Catholics who try to tell me the "meaning" of the Book of Revelations. (I've heard the same stuff from Catholics, too, in all fairness.) I've read Revelations and I defy anyone to make head nor tail of that thing. The best theory I've ever heard came from a Catholic priest: Revelations is actually written in a kind of code, to comfort the persecuted Christians of Nero's time.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Oh, I know that there a lot of very knowledgeable Catholic Bible
readers, I guess with most denom's you have those who do and do not read the Bible.

I was just merely pointing out that so many don't around here.

I think it is just that the RC is so large that the % is the same as in other denom's, just larger nos. in total. I hope I said that right.

As far as Revelations, that interpretation is very meaningful and I believe widely understood among those of us who remain close to the RC even though separated. I think the general population does not understand that is was written while Christians were being persecuted. That was the reason for the coded language (to describe the persecutors and not in way as to further the persecution).

Sometimes on the boards things come off a little snotty. I did not mean to if I did. I actually try to keep up with the RC Church and what is going on, because after all, all Christianity came thru your Church. We would not even have a Bible if it weren't for the early Church!
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Oh, I didn't think you were being snotty
I'm glad other people besides me have heard of that interpretation re: Revelations. The language itself is lovely, but I personally think it would be a mistake to take those passages literally.
The "coded" theory made sense to me, and I'm glad to hear there are others that agree.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I still think the early founders used the Eagle part of Revelations
as a sign also! Most were not particularly Christian, and yet, understood the power of Christianity. I am so suspicious of those who represent themselves (openly and vociferously) as Christians, because they always seem to act in an un Christ-like manner.
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
31. I remember the introduction to Revelations in my parent's bible
And I just found the Introduction to Revelations, which looks pretty similar to the one in mom and dad's bible, on the USCCB web site;

This much, however, is certain: symbolic descriptions are not to be taken as literal descriptions, nor is the symbolism meant to be pictured realistically. One would find it difficult and repulsive to visualize a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes; yet Jesus Christ is described in precisely such words (Rev 5:6). The author used these images to suggest Christs universal (seven) power (horns) and knowledge (eyes). A significant feature of apocalyptic writing is the use of symbolic colors, metals, garments (Rev 1:1316; 3:18; 4:4; 6:18; 17:4; 19:8), and numbers (four signifies the world, six imperfection, seven totality or perfection, twelve Israels tribes or the apostles, one thousand immensity). Finally the vindictive language in the book (Rev 6 :910; 18:119:4) is also to be understood symbolically and not literally. The cries for vengeance on the lips of Christian martyrs that sound so harsh are in fact literary devices the author employed to evoke in the reader and hearer a feeling of horror for apostasy and rebellion that will be severely punished by God.


And it goes on to say;

The Book of Revelation cannot be adequately understood except against the historical background that occasioned its writing. Like Daniel and other apocalypses, it was composed as resistance literature to meet a crisis. The book itself suggests that the crisis was ruthless persecution of the early church by the Roman authorities; the harlot Babylon symbolizes pagan Rome, the city on seven hills (17 :9). The book is, then, an exhortation and admonition to Christians of the first century to stand firm in the faith and to avoid compromise with paganism, despite the threat of adversity and martyrdom; they are to await patiently the fulfillment of Gods mighty promises. The triumph of God in the world of men and women remains a mystery, to be accepted in faith and longed for in hope. It is a triumph that unfolded in the history of Jesus of Nazareth and continues to unfold in the history of the individual Christian who follows the way of the cross, even, if necessary, to a martyrs death.

Though the perspective is eschatologicalultimate salvation and victory are said to take place at the end of the present age when Christ will come in glory at the parousiathe book presents the decisive struggle of Christ and his followers against Satan and his cohorts as already over. Christs overwhelming defeat of the kingdom of Satan ushered in the everlasting reign of God (Rev 11:15; 12:10). Even the forces of evil unwittingly carry out the divine plan (Rev 17:17), for God is the sovereign Lord of history.

The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. In the face of apparently insuperable evil, either from within or from without, all Christians are called to trust in Jesus promise, Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age (Mt 28:20). Those who remain steadfast in their faith and confidence in the risen Lord need have no fear. Suffering, persecution, even death by martyrdom, though remaining impenetrable mysteries of evil, do not comprise an absurd dead end. No matter what adversity or sacrifice Christians may endure, they will in the end triumph over Satan and his forces because of their fidelity to Christ the victor. This is the enduring message of the book; it is a message of hope and consolation and challenge for all who dare to believe.


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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Shrike...
that's the prevailing Catholic belief. Though some priests that I have met may also say that there MAY BE some prophetic undertones to Revelations, it's primarily a work that rails against the corrupt and abusive leaders of the time (Nero/Caligula) and to provide hope for the Christians who were suffering under Roman law.

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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Nothing like making yourself look foolish
Well hell, at least I'm consistent with my fellow Catholics.

Thanks for pointing that out to me.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. That makes more sense than anything else I've ever heard.
I didn't know that, but it's a very interesting angle. Thank you.
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AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-05 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. No, most Protestants haven't changed that much
And to answer Hedgehog's question while I'm here, I think the main problem most Catholics have is the never-ending litany of misconceptions, mistruths, and outright lies that others outside the faith insist on spreading.

I was raised fundamentalist and left it when I was 13 or 14, after finally getting tired of constantly hearing in my Sunday School class crass jokes about priests getting drunk on the sacramental wine, Mary-worship, and the rest. My best friend at the time was Catholic and I learned a lot from her. Rather than telling my SS teacher he was full of it, I just walked away and did not return to organized religion until I was 29 -- when I converted to Catholicism.

My mother, who was born in 1920, heard much more outrageous and revolting things about Catholicism from the leaders of her church while she was growing up...I never have fully understood the pure hate that some hold for Catholics. My husband, a cradle Catholic, has gotten his share of comments that he just shrugs off. I find it much harder to do so.

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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. To be fair, it cut both ways.
I remember when I was growing up, there was still deep suspicion
on both sides of the divide.

I was raised Protestant, and there were three Catholic children in
our street, two of whom were not allowed to play with the rest
of us, because we were Proddies. It was very sad, because we'd see
them looking out their windows as we played together, but when
we'd go over and ask if they could come out and play, they'd just
shake their heads. The third girl probably had the most devout
mother of them all, but she was completely open and friendly to
everyone. In fact, she taught us quite a lot about what Catholics
believe, and I think it helped me to develop a more accepting
attitude than my parents had.

And yes, as a Methodist I studied the bible - did scripture exams
on it - and learned to sing a lot of hymns. I felt as I grew older
that I lacked the personal relationship with God that my Catholic
friend had, because I didn't really know how to pray. I was only
taught two prayers, the Our Father and Grace, and that was one of
the things that prompted me to start investigating the Catholic
Church.

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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. I stick with the New Testament, those chapters related to Matt. 25:40
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. True
My parents have a bible that they got either as a wedding present or for the first Christmas after they married. It's still sitting on the bookshelf today. It doesn't get much actual use. My parents never made the bible the focus of religious life so most of exposure to the various parts of the bible came through readings at church. I don't own a bible either. I never felt the need to have a physical copy of the bible. I can and do go on line if there's something I want to read, or look at my parent's bible.

Come to think of it my maternal grandma didn't have a bible that I ever saw, and she was a practicing Catholic her entire life. I know she had her mother-in-law's old German bible - which my mom has now - but I don't remember ever seeing a bible at her house. I don't remember if my paternal grandparents had one either and they're both practicing Catholics. (And Grandpa would rather read farm magazines so he can imagine being out on the farm again).
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
10. I don't know.
I've read the bible, many times. Some passages more than others. But, I read it. And I was born and raised Catholic.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Dorian, keep reading and reading. The Bible is a gift from GOD
and you will be amazed by it's revelations! I, with a chronic infirmity, read the very long Book of Job, 4 times in 3 months.

It was so awesome, (God), in the unmasking of the TRUTH!

May the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit be with you!
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-05 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. One of my teachers in high school told me...
...that when she was growing up, Catholics were not permitted to read the Bible. I should add that she was brought up in Europe and probably was born around 1920 or later, so it's a different era completely.

I'm a baby boomer and recall having a Bible around the house in some form or another throughout my growing up. At first communion, we received missals that contained Gospel passages. I don't recall what their criteria was for including a particular passage in the missal.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-05 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. That is why Separation of Church and State is so important!
Edited on Sat Dec-10-05 08:48 PM by I_Make_Mistakes
I believe as I believe, and you believe as you believe. We are very close, but separated! Whose version should we be forced to believe, Bushes?

That is the problem with "God" (by whose definition, understanding and teaching) in the classroom! My Methodist contractor and I had this very conversation recently, and, he as a proponent of God teaching, switched up real quick!

Edited for emphasis: Andrea Yates's God!
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-05 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I think you may have misunderstood my original post.
My discussion with the teacher was personal and unrelated to school and any instruction I received from her. She taught a German class.

This is the story: I happened to have brought my Bible to school and was reading it on a break. She walked by and was interested in looking at it briefly. It was then that she made the observation that she had not been permitted to read it in her youth.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I do understand what you are saying, she was not permited by
whom (to read the Bible)? Yhe US supposedly, has laws against this type of thing.

We are in the age of the Chosen (Bush, Bin Ladin, Zwa (not even gonna try to spell his name), etc.

Yep, God tells them to kill (murder) and torture people. I see no difference between them, none at all.

Here is what I see, T. Blair is no longer in the picture (got his condenmation, the Brit's are way smarter and cynical), Poland's whatever, they call their Pres., got his set, and it will trickle up to those who will go down in history as complicit enablers!

It will be called, "The Age of Unravelling of the Chosen", and the end to the self-proclaimed-Chosen!

They don't get the power of the lesser, (I have to admit, I didn't get it until recently), WE the PEOPLE (not of any specific country, have the power, to shut THEM down tomorrow!)!


Can you imagine, labor personnel not going to work for a week? The whole monopolistic system would crash, Kaboom!







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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-05 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. My teacher was a Lithuanian Catholic.
I was referring to how she was instructed by the church in her youth. She came to adulthood during World War II and survived bombing raids.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-13-05 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Okay, I think that I may have gotten your point, I am Lithuanian
but not Catholic, the rest of my dad's family is. I am not up on the time that Lithuania was Polish occupied and then Russian occupied. My dad said my great grandfathers papers said Russian-Pole, not Lithuanian. I guess, I did miss your point, but, if you could clarify that would be meaningful!

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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-13-05 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. The whole point of the thread...
...is answering the original question posed, i.e., why do people believe that Catholics do not read the Bible?

I have one example of a living person who said she was not permitted to read the Bible during her youth, and my impression was that it was the leadership of the church, not the state, that gave her that instruction.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-13-05 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Exactly
A lot of people, Catholics and non-Catholics think Catholics don't read the Bible. I think we're very weak on identifying particular chapter and verse because we haven't studied it in a structured manner, but that a lot of us have read it informally and have absorbed it and can paraphrase sections of it. We know more of the Bible than we give ourselves credit for.
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I_Make_Mistakes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-13-05 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Well, let's all be clear, most of us profess to be catholic (universal
church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ), I said that because alot of us Christians don't even know the foundation of our church!

Yes, the early Church held masses in Latin and the Bible was written in Latin so that the masses were not provided the opportunity to read the Bible and truly understand the Mass. I can relate, I was in Bosnia (some will get in) in 2000, and it is weird having a Mass celebrated in a language you don't understand. I, as a catholic, understand that we were all products of that early church, and though separated (by small differences) we all come from the same early traditions.

I think the church was trying to defend against the misinterpretation of verses by the largely un educated masses. The most prolific RW zealots, are the most undereducated persons among us. They vote against their own interests because a few highly educated persons have given them Bible quotes to support that point if view.

I am an ELCA Lutheran, in the tradition of Martin Luther, who had the Bible translated into his common language, German, so all could read and understand it's wondrous revelations.

I think, as I have said before, there are alot of any denom/non denom who call themselves that name, and have no idea what they are professing. There are plenty of RC reading Catholics, as well as, Presby's, Lutheran's, Episcpoles's etc, but, we all have a lot more that aren't Bible reading within our own community.

I think it is those who don't know the Lord, that memorize a few (usually harmful because they are taken out of context) quotes and use them to intimidate those of us who continue to read and learn from the Bible.

I have a chronic health condition and read Job, 4 times in 3 months. The first reading was identifying with the suffering, the second was almost the same, but with a separation from the suffering. The third time I read the book, I saw the false witness by Job's companion, saying that he somehow deserved his suffering. The fourth reading, lead me to the Revelation, how dare we mere mortals challenge God the creator of all things. I can't even guess what the next reading will render!

The Bible can be a blessing to those who search with an open heart, but a curse to those who read with a closed heart (they will cease to learn and lock on to a passage that serves their own needs).

I think that the RC tried in the past to protect the ignorant from harming themselves, but now, that has been slowly changing and that is why we have so many educated, Bible reading Roman Catholics.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-14-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. I find myself thinking of Job a lot these days
Specifically the verses about "where were you when I formed the mighty leviathan...". I think the Creationists and Intelligent Design people should read those verses carefully and retire from the field with some humility. (Of course, any scientist is allowed to tell me that it looks random, but that doesn't mean that it was random.)
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-14-05 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
26. St. Paul never saw a run on sentence he didn't like
Most of the recent versions do clean up Paul's grammar.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-15-05 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. I wonder about that
Does Paul sound like that because that's the way Paul sounds, or because Paul has been tortured to fit Latin syntax?
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
28. I guess some priests don't read the bible still
Father told us in Church today that Mary is seen at the Miracle at Cana and then not again until the Crucifixion. He must have forgotten about that little embarrassing episode where Jesus's brothers (?!?) dragged her to confront Jesus to demand that she tell Jesus to stop making trouble and come on home. It just goes to show that we all remember the parts that we like the best.

By the way, does anyone realize how subversive today's reading from the Hebrew scriptures really is? All right, David, (and by extension, all you shakers and makers thoughout history), go ahead and build your temple. Just ry to box me in. But stand back and watch out to see what I and a little teenage girl, the lowest of the low, intend to spring on you. It's all wrapped up in solemn language, but it's worthy of Anansi the Spider.
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