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Pope Francis Said That You Don't Have To Believe In God To Get To Heaven?

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#21 Storm Rider

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:52 AM

I think Vatican II clarified this point. 3DOP, is that correct?


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#22 why me

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 04:03 AM

Here is what the catechism says:

 

Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion but the imputability of the offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and circumstances. (ccc. 2125)

 

So it seems that he may be okay, if this is interpreted in a certain way. However, it doesn't say anything about atheists but the nature of the atheism as a philosophy. Perhaps a more humanistic atheisim?


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#23 Ran

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 04:38 AM

The Catholic Church addressed atheism in the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes)

 

 

19. The root reason for human dignity lies in man's call to communion with God. From the very circumstance of his origin man is already invited to converse with God. For man would not exist were he not created by Gods love and constantly preserved by it; and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator. Still, many of our contemporaries have never recognized this intimate and vital link with God, or have explicitly rejected it. Thus atheism must be accounted among the most serious problems of this age, and is deserving of closer examination.

 

The word atheism is applied to phenomena which are quite distinct from one another. For while God is expressly denied by some, others believe that man can assert absolutely nothing about Him. Still others use such a method to scrutinize the question of God as to make it seem devoid of meaning. Many, unduly transgressing the limits of the positive sciences, contend that everything can be explained by this kind of scientific reasoning alone, or by contrast, they altogether disallow that there is any absolute truth. Some laud man so extravagantly that their faith in God lapses into a kind of anemia, though they seem more inclined to affirm man than to deny God. Again some form for themselves such a fallacious idea of God that when they repudiate this figment they are by no means rejecting the God of the Gospel. Some never get to the point of raising questions about God, since they seem to experience no religious stirrings nor do they see why they should trouble themselves about religion. Moreover, atheism results not rarely from a violent protest against the evil in this world, or from the absolute character with which certain human values are unduly invested, and which thereby already accords them the stature of God. Modern civilization itself often complicates the approach to God not for any essential reason but because it is so heavily engrossed in earthly affairs.

 

Undeniably, those who willfully shut out God from their hearts and try to dodge religious questions are not following the dictates of their consciences, and hence are not free of blame; yet believers themselves frequently bear some responsibility for this situation. For, taken as a whole, atheism is not a spontaneous development but stems from a variety of causes, including a critical reaction against religious beliefs, and in some places against the Christian religion in particular. Hence believers can have more than a little to do with the birth of atheism. To the extent that they neglect their own training in the faith, or teach erroneous doctrine, or are deficient in their religious, moral or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than reveal the authentic face of God and religion.

 

20. Modern atheism often takes on a systematic expression which, in addition to other causes, stretches the desires for human independence to such a point that it poses difficulties against any kind of dependence on God. Those who profess atheism of this sort maintain that it gives man freedom to be an end unto himself, the sole artisan and creator of his own history. They claim that this freedom cannot be reconciled with the affirmation of a Lord Who is author and purpose of all things, or at least that this freedom makes such an affirmation altogether superfluous. Favoring this doctrine can be the sense of power which modern technical progress generates in man.

 

Not to be overlooked among the forms of modern atheism is that which anticipates the liberation of man especially through his economic and social emancipation. This form argues that by its nature religion thwarts this liberation by arousing man's hope for a deceptive future life, thereby diverting him from the constructing of the earthly city. Consequently when the proponents of this doctrine gain governmental power they vigorously fight against religion, and promote atheism by using, especially in the education of youth, those means of pressure which public power has at its disposal.

 

21. In her loyal devotion to God and men, the Church has already repudiated(16) and cannot cease repudiating, sorrowfully but as firmly as possible, those poisonous doctrines and actions which contradict reason and the common experience of humanity, and dethrone man from his native excellence.

 

Still, she strives to detect in the atheistic mind the hidden causes for the denial of God; conscious of how weighty are the questions which atheism raises, and motivated by love for all men, she believes these questions ought to be examined seriously and more profoundly.

 

The Church holds that the recognition of God is in no way hostile to man's dignity, since this dignity is rooted and perfected in God. For man was made an intelligent and free member of society by God Who created him, but even more important, he is called as a son to commune with God and share in His happiness. She further teaches that a hope related to the end of time does not diminish the importance of intervening duties but rather undergirds the acquittal of them with fresh incentives. By contrast, when a divine instruction and the hope of life eternal are wanting, man's dignity is most grievously lacerated, as current events often attest; riddles of life and death, of guilt and of grief go unsolved with the frequent result that men succumb to despair.

 

Meanwhile every man remains to himself an unsolved puzzle, however obscurely he may perceive it. For on certain occasions no one can entirely escape the kind of self-questioning mentioned earlier, especially when life's major events take place. To this questioning only God fully and most certainly provides an answer as He summons man to higher knowledge and humbler probing.

 

The remedy which must be applied to atheism, however, is to be sought in a proper presentation of the Church's teaching as well as in the integral life of the Church and her members. For it is the function of the Church, led by the Holy Spirit Who renews and purifies her ceaselessly,(17) to make God the Father and His Incarnate Son present and in a sense visible. This result is achieved chiefly by the witness of a living and mature faith, namely, one trained to see difficulties clearly and to master them. Many martyrs have given luminous witness to this faith and continue to do so. This faith needs to prove its fruitfulness by penetrating the believer's entire life, including its worldly dimensions, and by activating him toward justice and love, especially regarding the needy. What does the most reveal God's presence, however, is the brotherly charity of the faithful who are united in spirit as they work together for the faith of the Gospel(18) and who prove themselves a sign of unity.

 

While rejecting atheism, root and branch, the Church sincerely professes that all men, believers and unbelievers alike, ought to work for the rightful betterment of this world in which all alike live; such an ideal cannot be realized, however, apart from sincere and prudent dialogue. Hence the Church protests against the distinction which some state authorities make between believers and unbelievers, with prejudice to the fundamental rights of the human person. The Church calls for the active liberty of believers to build up in this world God's temple too. She courteously invites atheists to examine the Gospel of Christ with an open mind.

 

Above all the Church knows that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart when she champions the dignity of the human vocation, restoring hope to those who have already despaired of anything higher than their present lot. Far from diminishing man, her message brings to his development light, life and freedom. Apart from this message nothing will avail to fill up the heart of man: "Thou hast made us for Thyself," O Lord, "and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee."(19)

 

Emphasis mine.


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#24 Darren10

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:28 AM

I think that the problem with what the Pope said is found in whether it changes the doctrine of the catholic church. I don't believe that this is what catholic doctrine teaches. But I could be wrong. Growing up catholic I was aware of what hell was and who will go there. I do think that atheists were heading there when I was a boy. But I could be wrong about this.

 

I'm no expert neither, but my understanding is that the Pope is not teaching anything not already canonized by the Catholic Church but this concept may be taught differently by different authorities within the Catholic Church. See Reverend Rosica's statement in response to the Pope's letter. Rosica outright eternally condemns any and all who do not join and remain in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. (Not remaining applies to you, why me ;) ). The Pope, however, is the primary authoirty on Catholic doctrine and I think he was clarifying a teaching of the Catholic Church.


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#25 Ran

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:38 AM

Rosica outright eternally condemns any and all who do not join and remain in the Holy Roman Catholic Church

 

He was, most likely, referring to this statement from the Second Vatican Council (as quoted in the Catechism)—

 

"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."


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#26 Tacenda

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 06:05 AM

I'm no expert neither, but my understanding is that the Pope is not teaching anything not already canonized by the Catholic Church but this concept may be taught differently by different authorities within the Catholic Church. See Reverend Rosica's statement in response to the Pope's letter. Rosica outright eternally condemns any and all who do not join and remain in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. (Not remaining applies to you, why me ;) ). The Pope, however, is the primary authoirty on Catholic doctrine and I think he was clarifying a teaching of the Catholic Church.

Sounds very much like what happens in our church.
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#27 Darren10

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 06:13 AM

Boring sacrament meeting talks.

 

That's when I giggle the most. If I'm ever blessed to sit next to you during Sacrament I'll give you a few tips.


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#28 Darren10

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:04 AM

He was, most likely, referring to this statement from the Second Vatican Council (as quoted in the Catechism)—

 

"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."

 

Thanks for the reference. I think The similarity here is that under LDS theology, one must receive the covenants and rituals under the holy priesthood of God in order to receive the highest point of salvation. These ordinances, rituals, and covenants are found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So while I know of no definitive statement by the LDS Church that people must be "Mormon" to be saved, essentially, one must receive the ordinances found only in Mormonism for the highest degree of salvation.


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#29 BCSpace

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:52 AM

Pope Francis Said That You Don't Have To Believe In God To Get To Heaven?

 

Which heaven and do you have to spend a stint in hell to get there?


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#30 Bart Burk

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 11:04 AM

Which heaven and do you have to spend a stint in hell to get there?

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.


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#31 thesometimesaint

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 11:30 AM

In the LDS view there is no death bed repentence. Those that didn't have the opportunity to have the Gospel fully taught to them in this life, will receive that opportunity in the next.

 

We mere mortals don't have the authority to decide if/when an individual has had the opportunity to be fully taught the Gospel.


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#32 Bart Burk

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 11:42 AM

In the LDS view there is no death bed repentence. Those that didn't have the opportunity to have the Gospel fully taught to them in this life, will receive that opportunity in the next.

 

We mere mortals don't have the authority to decide if/when an individual has had the opportunity to be fully taught the Gospel.

What exactly would be the difference between death bed repentance and after death repentance?  You don't believe a person can repent and turn to God as they are dying?  Isn't that limiting God's power to save someone?  It seems to me the full gospel is very simple.  Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead.  Anyone who exercises faith in that should be in pretty good shape.  Everything else is just an apendage.


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#33 Storm Rider

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:37 PM

The confusion revolves around a misunderstanding of what is taking place. We are judged on the truths we have been given. The repentance necessary is for not living those truths; one that has not received the fullness is not penalized for not having that opportunity. Do you see the difference?

The ordinances are assured for all. How we live by the truths given is where choice is so important. I don't think there is repentance after this life.
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#34 Bart Burk

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:59 PM

The confusion revolves around a misunderstanding of what is taking place. We are judged on the truths we have been given. The repentance necessary is for not living those truths; one that has not received the fullness is not penalized for not having that opportunity. Do you see the difference?

The ordinances are assured for all. How we live by the truths given is where choice is so important. I don't think there is repentance after this life.

Can a person who has reached the age of reason be baptized without repentance?  So could a person in the afterlife receive the gospel without repentance?  And since all of us sin in some form after reaching the age of reason, wouldn't a person always need to repent before receiving the gospel?  Isn't knowing we shouldn't lie or steal just an understanding we are given without respect to our understanding of the gospel as a matter of natural law? An atheist would need to come to God with a contrite heart to be accepted no matter what kind of knowledge he/she had prior to death.


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#35 Questing Beast

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:08 PM

"Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience." = "Never lie to yourself". Seems totally compatible to me....


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#36 Anti-NOMunistJackMormon

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

I think after we die is the only way we "know" anything. God, our Father in Heaven would be an all-knowing judge one you can't possibly decieve. Based upon that I believe anyone could receive complete salvation if given complete knowledge after death of God and Jesus. If one were to reject it then I suppose they would probably go to hell by choice.

 

Just because Elder So and So knock on the door and want to discuss the church with you and you aren't converted does not constitute a rejection of Christ simply because  Elder So and So "knows" the truth. He may passionately and rightfully believe to "know" which is fine, but his heart and knowledge is not the same as the faith and "knowledge" given to another.

 

To me it seems so Calvinistic and making no sense that some people of faith claim to "know" everything God knows and make God's judgements here on earth about who goes to Hell. It's almost blasphemous when you think of it.

 

I once had a group of friends shun me for years because I didn't go on a mission. One of them had wanted badly to apologize for years to me after having a major crisis of faith. When she did see me at wedding reception, she ran up and bear-hugged me almost knocking me over, much to the chagrin of my DW. She apologized and I simply told her not to worry about it, and that it was something that happend. 

 

I don't know what happens when we die and no one else really does either. I have belief in what happens and pretty much so does everyone else. No one though can make the final judgement except God.


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#37 3DOP

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:52 PM

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

 

 

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.

 

In other words all his atheism will be forgotten when someone stops being an atheist

 

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

 

 

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.

 

 

 

If that is what the pope said, fine. Who ever taught that the atheist who would "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart," would be damned? I can't think of any religion between Salt Lake, Mecca, Jerusalem, Geneva, or Rome that ever said atheists can't change their minds. Do atheists think that we teach that if they become theists who sincerely go to God with contrition, there is still no hope? Who hasn't flirted with atheism at some point in their life? That would damn just about all of us. Like the current pope (apparently), and every pope for the last 2,000 years, I believe that those who "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart...can be saved."

 

The headline isn't really warranted if this is the context. Its a strange "atheist" that "goes to God with a sincere and contrite heart". I don't call a person who does that an atheist.


Edited by 3DOP, 12 September 2013 - 01:55 PM.

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#38 Darren10

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 03:07 PM

If that is what the pope said, fine. Who ever taught that the atheist who would "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart," would be damned? I can't think of any religion between Salt Lake, Mecca, Jerusalem, Geneva, or Rome that ever said atheists can't change their minds. Do atheists think that we teach that if they become theists who sincerely go to God with contrition, there is still no hope? Who hasn't flirted with atheism at some point in their life? That would damn just about all of us. Like the current pope (apparently), and every pope for the last 2,000 years, I believe that those who "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart...can be saved."

 

The headline isn't really warranted if this is the context. Its a strange "atheist" that "goes to God with a sincere and contrite heart". I don't call a person who does that an atheist.

 

The article I linked to did portray the Pope saying that atheists, remaining atheistic, may get to heaven. Upon further investigating, Pope Francis was really saying that a repentant atheist may get there and that all sin previous to his/her coming unto God moment would e based upon sinning against his/her own conscience. Coming unto God with a , as the LDS doctrines declare, "broken heart and contrite spirit", may indeed be the recipent of God's infinite mercy and be eternally blessed for it.


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#39 3DOP

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 03:09 PM

I think Vatican II clarified this point. 3DOP, is that correct?

 

Vatican I is pretty clear:

If any one shall have said that the one true God, our Creator and our Lord, cannot be known with certitude by those things which have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

 

First Vatican Council, Session III, Apr. 24, 1870, Canon 1 on Revelation.

 

That is how the Church speaks when She intends to make a teaching forever binding. Such strong words are rarely used in the life of the Church. It may be that we have gone 143 years now and this is the last time they were used. "Anathema", as many understand, means accursed. It would seem difficult to reconcile one being at the same time saved and accursed.  

 

Here is how the Church speaks when She has offered the faithful non-binding, but serious speculations for us to respectfully ponder:

 

"There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the church's infallible teaching authority.

 

 

Pope Paul VI, General Audience of Dec. 1, 1966, speaking of the recently concluded Second Vatican Council.

 

So in general, I would suggest that Vatican II did not overturn, much less clarify, what was already made binding at the First Vatican Council. I do not see anything in Vatican II in regards to atheism that cannot be reconciled with Vatican I. But if someone should propose that there is conflict, the Vatican I canon is a "solemn dogmatic definition backed by the church's infallible authority."


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#40 Pa Pa

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 03:27 PM

Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
 
This article explains that Pope Francis emphasized that all people when they do good come closerto Christ and may find eternal redemption.
 

 
Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!
 
So, we have that and just to be clear, reverend Thomas Rosica is NOT a spokesperson for the Catholic Church as news outlets have reported:
 


 
Catholic Church confirms atheists still go to hell, after Pope Francis suggests they might go to heaven

 
With all this said, my thoughts turn to LDS doctrines of "hell". If I'm not mistaken "hell" which is Sheol in Hebrew was understood as a place where souls are temporarily held and then released for God's final judgment. Under Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, it was taught and it is understood today that the souls will be released because Christ overcame death and thus unlocked the gates of hell and allowed all persons to be resurrected. The resurrection of the body, ergo, the reunification of the body and spirit is, according to Doctrine and Covenants, a redemption of the soul. That this redemption is for all unconditionally. It is pure mercy that Jesus did this for all mankind.
 
But then there is the redemption from sin. That is, unmistakably, from the blood of the Lamb of God. Jesus Christ taught that all *must* believe in Him to be saved and under LDS theology, the gospel of Jesus Christ will be taught to all those who did not accept it in mortality. This way, literally all who have lived or are alive all will be taught about Jesus Christ and after accepting Him, how to come unto Him under covenant. As Peter declared, the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached unto those who are dead. With this understanding, all individuals, even atheists, will be taught about Jesus Christ, have a choice to receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior, and be shown how to fully and completely come unto Him through the priesthood authority.
 
I actually see lots of commonalities between what Pope Francis and Reverend Thomas Rosica said regarding "believers" and "non believers" and eternal salvation as taught by the LDS Church. What are your thoughts?

It seems to me everyone, even including Billy Graham have moderated their positions. Bu Calvinists remain firm, all but the pre-selected are going to hell.
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