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@MiserereNobis, @3DOP, and whoever else:

I'm having a conversation on Facebook about this article, which talks about the change that Pope Francis made to make it so that women can always serve as readers and altar servers without leaving it up to the discretion of the Bishop.

In your view, is this a doctrinal change or a change in the interpretation of doctrine/policy only?  I'm not going to argue with you, I'm just interested in how this is viewed by Catholics.  Thanks!

Quote

 

Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church law to make explicit that laywomen can act as readers and altar servers in liturgical celebrations, effectively removing a previous option for individual bishops to restrict those ministries only to men.

In an unexpected apostolic letter published Jan. 11, the pontiff says he is making the change to recognize a "doctrinal development" that has occurred in recent years.

That change, the pope says, "shines a light on how some ministries instituted by the church have as their foundation that common condition of baptism and the royal priesthood received in the Sacrament of Baptism."

 

Also, what is the "doctrinal development" that is being referred to?

Edited by bluebell
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I'm not Catholic, but here are my thoughts.

 

13 hours ago, bluebell said:

Also, what is the "doctrinal development" that is being referred to?

My guess is that it relates to the two commissions the article mentions. A further guess is the first one which talked about the role of women in the early Catholic Church.

I don't think this is ultimately something (in and of itself) that Catholics should be worried about. If the practice was already officially allowed in some circumstances (which various articles say it was), then it could only really be seen as a policy change rather than a doctrinal change. The AP article (via the Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/01/11/pope-says-women-can-read/) said "Pope Francis changed church law". Not being Catholic, I'm not sure what the policy/doctrine/church law distinction is though.

One other comment from the AP article I found interesting.

Quote

Lucetta Scaraffia, the former editor of the Vatican’s women magazine, however, called the new changes a “double trap.” She said they merely formalize what is current practice, including at papal Masses, while also making clear that the diaconate is an “ordained” ministry reserved for men.

“This closes the door on the diaconate for women,” she said in a phone interview, calling the change “a step backward” for women.

 

So I guess my additional questions for Catholics on this news:

1) What is the distinction between doctrine, "church law", and policy/

2) Have Catholic views of Pope Francis changed as similar letters have come out (women can read but still can't be ordained, yes to same-sex civil unions but same-sex marriage is still against church rules, etc)?

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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Hmmm.

This relates only to the new mass, which I haven't attended in a long time. There is no change to the traditional Latin mass. Here is my explanation without offering much of an opinion. I'll leave it to Rory to opine on the situation ;) 

Prior to Vatican II, females were not allowed in the sanctuary (where the altar is) during liturgical celebrations. The ambiguity of the documents of Vatican II and their most liberal interpretation and implementation (called "the spirit of Vatican II") led to many practices that were prohibited before. The new mass was a perfect vehicle for these new practices. Women/girls started serving as lectors (readers) and acolytes (altar servers). This was considered "extraordinary," meaning that it was not supposed to be the standard. It required the permission of the diocesan bishop. This was a blanket permission, meaning that the permission didn't need to be given every time. Even though it was technically "extraordinary," in practice it was quite ordinary -- it was basically allowed everywhere.

Now, with this change, it is no longer extraordinary and does not require a bishop's permission.

Pope Francis calls this change a recognition of a doctrinal development. It appears he is referring to the idea that women can do these things because of the "the royal priesthood received in the Sacrament of Baptism." Boy, that sure sounds like the protestant idea of the priesthood of all believers...

In practice, nothing is changing because women were allowed to do this already. It is just now codified in Canon Law, so presumably a bishop would not be allowed to forbid it.

16 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

So I guess my additional questions for Catholics on this news:

1) What is the distinction between doctrine, "church law", and policy/

2) Have Catholic views of Pope Francis changed as similar letters have come out (women can read but still can't be ordained, yes to same-sex civil unions but same-sex marriage is still against church rules, etc)?

1) Canon Law is the legal system that governs the Church. It is based on divine law (doctrine) and promulgated by the Pope, who has complete authority to do so. I suppose you could look at it as "big" policy that applies to the whole Church, like your Handbook of Instructions (I'm guessing, since I'm not really familiar with your Handbook outside of discussions on this board).

2) Absolutely. Liberal Catholics like him more, conservative Catholics not so much, traditional Catholics not really at all.

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6 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Hmmm.

This relates only to the new mass, which I haven't attended in a long time. There is no change to the traditional Latin mass. Here is my explanation without offering much of an opinion. I'll leave it to Rory to opine on the situation ;) 

Prior to Vatican II, females were not allowed in the sanctuary (where the altar is) during liturgical celebrations. The ambiguity of the documents of Vatican II and their most liberal interpretation and implementation (called "the spirit of Vatican II") led to many practices that were prohibited before. The new mass was a perfect vehicle for these new practices. Women/girls started serving as lectors (readers) and acolytes (altar servers). This was considered "extraordinary," meaning that it was not supposed to be the standard. It required the permission of the diocesan bishop. This was a blanket permission, meaning that the permission didn't need to be given every time. Even though it was technically "extraordinary," in practice it was quite ordinary -- it was basically allowed everywhere.

Now, with this change, it is no longer extraordinary and does not require a bishop's permission.

Pope Francis calls this change a recognition of a doctrinal development. It appears he is referring to the idea that women can do these things because of the "the royal priesthood received in the Sacrament of Baptism." Boy, that sure sounds like the protestant idea of the priesthood of all believers...

In practice, nothing is changing because women were allowed to do this already. It is just now codified in Canon Law, so presumably a bishop would not be allowed to forbid it.

1) Canon Law is the legal system that governs the Church. It is based on divine law (doctrine) and promulgated by the Pope, who has complete authority to do so. I suppose you could look at it as "big" policy that applies to the whole Church, like your Handbook of Instructions (I'm guessing, since I'm not really familiar with your Handbook outside of discussions on this board).

2) Absolutely. Liberal Catholics like him more, conservative Catholics not so much, traditional Catholics not really at all.

Thanks Mis!  Can I quote you in a facebook discussion?

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Just now, bluebell said:

Thanks Mis!  Can I quote you in a facebook discussion?

No problem. If you want, for context, you can also say that I'm on the traditional side of the spectrum.

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1 hour ago, 3DOP said:

Hi. I appreciate your friendly interest bluebell.

It would seem that this "doctrinal development" admits that the Catholic Church has been wrong for century after century in restricting the minor orders (acolyte, exorcist, lector, porter) to male seminarians preparing eventually for the priesthood. This is sad and I would say, proof, that the early church apostatized long ago, as LDS believe, if it were true. If this "doctrinal development" were true, the Church has been false in teaching that sacramental graces from the hands of a bishop are necessary for candidates to be gradually elevated year by year to the sub-diaconate, diaconate, and finally, the sacerdotal (sacrificial) priesthood. Apparently, the pope thinks that the graces of the minor orders are already present in every baptized person, male or female, after all, through the royal priesthood of all believers.

As if ignorance of the truth about the royal priesthood for thousands of years wasn't bad enough, the "doctrinal development" gets even worse. It would seem we also now recognize the reason another hideous error of the Church which followed from this ignorance. According to one recognized expert, the Catholic Church is even only now beginning to realize (doctrinal development?) the truth that women are "equally human"! From the article you cited, bluebell, a "recognized expert on women deacons" named Phyllis Zagano says:

"Here we have the Holy Father putting into law that women can be inside the sanctuary, women can be near the sacred," said Zagano, who is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University and also an NCR columnist. "That women are equally human." 

One reason I have been compelled to become a Traditional Catholic is in no small part because I see more clearly than most of my fellow Catholics, the disastrous implications with post Vatican II "doctrinal developments". I have been around Mormons on the internet for twenty years now talking about the Great Apostasy. I know what it means if the Catholic Church has been wrong for all these centuries about everything from the death penalty to sacramental theology. It would mean that the Catholic Church has been apostate for a long, long time. Catholics can't do flip flops on the death penalty, or minor orders, or the priesthood, and then call it development. Contradictory teachings can not arise from true, organic development. Teachings that are contradictory cannot develop from true to true. Interestingly, the experts never explain how through a development of thought, the Church taught the truth in the past as well as today. One can see good true development in the Church's teaching on the papacy, on our Blessed Mother, and so on. Truths surely grow and make progress in the Church, from seed to flower. Nobody, not even the pope has the authority to announce as "doctrinal development" an acceptance of beliefs about the royal priesthood that have often been declared erroneous by the Church for 500 years. They need to demonstrate how the seed that kept women out of the sanctuary became a flower that gives women graces that used to be considered limited to those who had Holy Orders whether minor or major. It seems much easier for me to believe and demonstrate that this claim of "doctrinal development" is in fact, "doctrinal rupture".

It is obvious to me that the pope and his followers around the world do not believe in one true church anyway. They aren't concerned about the fact that what they propose would imply that the Catholic Church has been morally and doctrinally false through its entire history. They do not care about the implications. Although the offices they seem to hold can be traced back to this false church, they are unruffled if anyone cares to connect the dots. I think they are pretty good at recognizing the way the world is now. I find it interesting that on an LDS board, apostasy discussions have really almost gone away. I am afraid it might be thought to be in bad taste for me, a Catholic, or someone else that is LDS, to point out the contradictions between what the pope says today as against his predecessors less than a hundred years ago. But maybe, I wonder, if that is not because many of you might be pondering over LDS practices and teachings that in your opinion, might need to be contradicted (doctrinally developed/revealed) too.

Personally, I believe that LDS can have it both ways. Because LDS do not have any claims of infallibility, you can more easily defend past errors in your church. Because of Catholic claims of infallibility, you can more correctly expose as detrimental to its claims, contradictions in Catholic thought and the practice that follows from it, such as denying for 2,000 years, at least in her worship, that "women are equally human". That's a pretty big mistake for the Catholic Church to be making until the 21st Century, don't you think?

3DOP 

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on it 3DOP.  I can tell it's a tender subject that is causing some real heartache for you, especially since you love your church so much.  Do you mind if I quote you in a facebook response to some people (not Catholic) who were discussing this article and trying to understand Catholic thoughts on it?

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On 1/16/2021 at 1:07 PM, bluebell said:

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on it 3DOP.  I can tell it's a tender subject that is causing some real heartache for you, especially since you love your church so much.  Do you mind if I quote you in a facebook response to some people (not Catholic) who were discussing this article and trying to understand Catholic thoughts on it?

Bluebell, hi. You have permission to post whatever you think would be of interest. I finished editing it just now for what I thought was more clarity, less verbosity, and better grammar. I am sure I will change my mind tomorrow and be dissatisfied with it again! You may use the updated or the old post as you see to be appropriate. I know I would be keenly interested in how the Facebook discussion is going. I bet Miserere would as well and perhaps a few of your fellow LDS here, that is if you can say anything without violating internet etiquette. (I should have thought that once I went public, anybody could quote me. Still, I appreciate the desire for my permission, bluebell.)  

Having made a few substantial changes, I would understand if anyone who has given favorable "ratings", might wish to remove them if what prompted the approval is now absent, or if something new has appeared that any of you might not like to appear to be seen endorsing.

Regards,

Rory

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2 hours ago, 3DOP said:

Bluebell, hi. You have permission to post whatever you think would be of interest. I finished editing it just now for what I thought was more clarity, less verbosity, and better grammar. I am sure I will change my mind tomorrow and be dissatisfied with it again! You may use the updated or the old post as you see to be appropriate. I know I would be keenly interested in how the Facebook discussion is going. I bet Miserere would as well and perhaps a few of your fellow LDS here, that is if you can say anything without violating internet etiquette. (I should have thought that once I went public, anybody could quote me. Still, I appreciate the desire for my permission, bluebell.)  

Having made a few substantial changes, I would understand if anyone who has given favorable "ratings", might wish to remove them if what prompted the approval is now absent, or if something new has appeared that any of you might not like to appear to be seen endorsing.

Regards,

Rory

The discussion has died down, and no one has commented on Mis's post, other than some "likes".  It had been focused on one person saying that Catholics don't struggle with doctrine vs. policy and another poster saying that they do have the same struggles with those concepts as we do in our church.  Neither are Catholic but both seemed to have some background in the religion (with one having been an ordained minister in the Anglican church before converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Thanks again! 

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On 1/16/2021 at 10:50 AM, 3DOP said:

Hi. I appreciate your friendly interest bluebell.

It would seem that this "doctrinal development" admits that the Catholic Church has been wrong for century after century in restricting the minor orders (acolyte, exorcist, lector, porter) to male seminarians preparing eventually for the priesthood. This is sad and I would say, proof, that the early church apostatized long ago, as LDS believe, if it were true. If this "doctrinal development" were true, the Church has been false in teaching that sacramental graces from the hands of a bishop are necessary for candidates to be gradually elevated year by year to the sub-diaconate, diaconate, and finally, the sacerdotal (sacrificial) priesthood. Apparently, the pope thinks that the graces of the minor orders are already present in every baptized person, male or female, after all, through the royal priesthood of all believers.

As if ignorance of the truth about the royal priesthood for thousands of years wasn't bad enough, the "doctrinal development" gets even worse. It would seem we must also now recognize another hideous error of the Church which followed from this ignorance. According to one recognized expert, the Catholic Church is even only now beginning to realize (doctrinal development?) the truth that women are "equally human"! From the article you cited, bluebell, a "recognized expert on women deacons" named Phyllis Zagano says:

"Here we have the Holy Father putting into law that women can be inside the sanctuary, women can be near the sacred," said Zagano, who is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University and also an NCR columnist. "That women are equally human." 

One reason I have been compelled to become a Traditional Catholic is in no small part because I see more clearly than most of my fellow Catholics, the disastrous implications with post Vatican II "doctrinal developments". I have been around Mormons on the internet for twenty years now talking about the Great Apostasy. I know what it means if the Catholic Church has been wrong for all these centuries about everything from the death penalty to sacramental theology. It would mean that the Catholic Church has been apostate for a long, long time. Catholics can't do flip flops on the death penalty, or minor orders, or the priesthood, and then call it development. Interestingly, the "experts" never explain how through a development of thought, the Church taught the truth in the past as well as today. One can see good true development in the Church's teaching on the papacy, on our Blessed Mother, and so on. Truths surely grow and make progress in the Church, from seed to flower. Nobody, not even the pope has the authority to announce as "doctrinal development" an acceptance of beliefs about the royal priesthood that have often been declared erroneous by the Church. They need to demonstrate how the seed that kept women out of the sanctuary became a flower that gives women graces that used to be considered limited to those who had Holy Orders whether minor or major. It seems much easier for me to believe and demonstrate that this claim of "doctrinal development" is in fact, "doctrinal rupture".

It is obvious to me that the pope, his bishops, and other followers around the world do not believe in one true church anyway. They aren't concerned about the fact that what they propose would imply that the Catholic Church has been morally and doctrinally false through its entire history. They do not care about the implications. Although the offices they seem to hold can be traced back to this false church, they are unruffled if it makes anyone despise what the Catholic Church has been in the past. I see little evidence that Pope Francis and his bishops even like Catholicism as it had been for nearly two thousand years. With their doubts about the Catholic Church being true and even being good throughout history, they seem quick to admit a new course, a sort of "Protestant Catholicism", if you will, that recognizes how bad, in their view, the Catholic Church has often been. But calling themselves Catholic gives them a platform and leadership role in global religion and politics. One cannot accuse them of failure to be pragmatic in the use of their offices.

It seems like a sign of new times to me that on an LDS board, apostasy discussions have really almost gone away. History has become less and less important, whether it is about whether the Book of Mormon is a true historical record, or whether the Catholic Church of the past had bad doctrine with a malevolent spirit. I am afraid it might be thought to be in bad taste for me, a Catholic, or someone else that is LDS, to point out the contradictions between what the pope says today as against his predecessors less than a hundred years ago. I wonder if that is not because some of you might be pondering over LDS practices and teachings that in your opinion, might need to be contradicted (doctrinally developed/revealed) too.

Personally, I believe that LDS can have it both ways. Because LDS do not have any claims of infallibility, you can more easily defend past errors in your church. Because of Catholic claims of infallibility, you can more correctly expose as detrimental to its claims, contradictions in Catholic thought and the practice that follows from it, such as denying for 2,000 years, at least in her worship, that "women are equally human". That's a pretty big mistake for the Catholic Church to be making until the 21st Century, don't you think?

3DOP 

Do I sense another anti-pope arising around the corner? ;) 

Do you really want to discuss apostasy? My LDS brothers like their Catholic brothers, and so don't want to call them apostate anymore.... but to me it is pretty clear that one of us is... for me it doesn't mean that you are a bad person or a bad "Christian" which seems to be the usual attitude towards apostates. Yet someone in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints trying to teach Catholic tenets and ideas is going to get themselves excommunicated. I'm sure it's the same result for someone in the Catholic Church teaching the tenets of some other group...

Just FYI does our Church have contradictions and/or errors? Yes, it does. But, although it has never claimed "infallibility" there are some recent teachings pretty darn close to it.

Edited by RevTestament
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5 hours ago, RevTestament said:

Do I sense another anti-pope arising around the corner? ;) 

Do you really want to discuss apostasy? My LDS brothers like their Catholic brothers, and so don't want to call them apostate anymore.... but to me it is pretty clear that one of us is... for me it doesn't mean that you are a bad person or a bad "Christian" which seems to be the usual attitude towards apostates. Yet someone in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints trying to teach Catholic tenants and ideas is going to get themselves excommunicated. I'm sure it's the same result for someone in the Catholic Church teaching the tenants of some other group...

Just FYI does our Church have contradictions and/or errors? Yes, it does. But, although it has never claimed "infallibility" there are some recent teachings pretty darn close to it.

It's an easy mistake, so may I gently point out the difference between tenet and tenant?

  • tenet - An opinion, belief, or principle that is held as absolute truth by someone or especially an organization.
  • tenant -
    • One who pays a fee (rent) in return for the use of land, buildings, or other property owned by others.
    • (by extension) One who has possession of any place. Synonyms: dweller, occupant
    • (computing) Any of a number of customers serviced through the same instance of an application. e.g. multi-tenant hosting
    • (law) One who holds a property by any kind of right, including ownership.
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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

It's an easy mistake, so may I gently point out the difference between tenet and tenant?

  • tenet - An opinion, belief, or principle that is held as absolute truth by someone or especially an organization.
  • tenant -
    • One who pays a fee (rent) in return for the use of land, buildings, or other property owned by others.
    • (by extension) One who has possession of any place. Synonyms: dweller, occupant
    • (computing) Any of a number of customers serviced through the same instance of an application. e.g. multi-tenant hosting
    • (law) One who holds a property by any kind of right, including ownership.

Yeah, my old feebled mind tried to type tenent, and the spell-checker said it was wrong, but I was too tired to care. Thanks. I went back and corrected it.

Edited by RevTestament
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On 1/17/2021 at 2:53 PM, 3DOP said:

Bluebell, hi. You have permission to post whatever you think would be of interest. I finished editing it just now for what I thought was more clarity, less verbosity, and better grammar. I am sure I will change my mind tomorrow and be dissatisfied with it again! You may use the updated or the old post as you see to be appropriate. I know I would be keenly interested in how the Facebook discussion is going. I bet Miserere would as well and perhaps a few of your fellow LDS here, that is if you can say anything without violating internet etiquette. (I should have thought that once I went public, anybody could quote me. Still, I appreciate the desire for my permission, bluebell.)  

Having made a few substantial changes, I would understand if anyone who has given favorable "ratings", might wish to remove them if what prompted the approval is now absent, or if something new has appeared that any of you might not like to appear to be seen endorsing.

Regards,

Rory

Got a response back!  One poster said--

Quote

 

interesting, and I'm not a Catholic, so I am happy to be corrected, but it seems like a mistake to say that the Catholic church is necessarily locked into defending everything in its history because of its claims of infallibility. As I understand it, the Catholic doctrine of infallibility only applies when the pope is speaking ex cathedra to define a teaching of faith or morals to the entire church, and he explicitly invokes his authority to speak infallibly on that issue, and that's so rare that it has really only happened a handful of times in the church's history.

I think you could make a pretty good argument that infallibility, as the Catholic church defines it, is not that different, in practice, from the way most members think of the authority of the President of the Church to define doctrine. There are theological differences, of course. The Catholic doctrine seems to me to focus more on whether the pope properly exercised his authority to speak in fallibly, while LDS scripture and teachings speak more about whether the prophet is "moved upon by the holy ghost" when speaking. But President Woodruff's line that the Lord would not allow the prophet to lead the church astray, as many church members interpret it today, is arguably an even stronger embrace of infallibility than the Catholic infallibility doctrine.

 

If there is anything you would like to say to him in response I can pass it along.

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On 1/18/2021 at 4:02 AM, RevTestament said:

Do I sense another anti-pope arising around the corner? ;) 

Do you really want to discuss apostasy? My LDS brothers like their Catholic brothers, and so don't want to call them apostate anymore.... but to me it is pretty clear that one of us is... for me it doesn't mean that you are a bad person or a bad "Christian" which seems to be the usual attitude towards apostates. Yet someone in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints trying to teach Catholic tenets and ideas is going to get themselves excommunicated. I'm sure it's the same result for someone in the Catholic Church teaching the tenets of some other group...

Just FYI does our Church have contradictions and/or errors? Yes, it does. But, although it has never claimed "infallibility" there are some recent teachings pretty darn close to it.

I don't know that there could be a "usual attitude" toward "apostates". You probably know that it is a word that means fallen away. 

Several  generations ago, it would have been different, and more like how you picture the Catholic Church. What I believe today is that many Catholics in authority are apostate. I used to be sure they retained their priestly authority. But it has recently come to my attention that there has been more serious monkeying around with the Sacraments than I had previously realized. At least Mormons say the right words for baptism.

For the very same reason that we are having this discussion about female deacons in the sanctuary, because of the "royal priesthood of all believers", there has been a trend that I was not aware of involving Novus Ordo priests and deacons inviting everyone present to help him confer baptism. Accordingly, they changed the words from "I baptize you..." to "We baptize you..." Unbaptized men are not candidates for receiving the priesthood. Just recently when this came to light, one "priest" recalled seeing a video of his own "baptism" where they used the improper form of words. Subsequently, he was baptized and ordained to the priesthood. How many "priests" don't have videos of their "baptisms"? All of this is because of the desire in the modern Catholic Church to deemphasize the sacerdotal priesthood and to overemphasize like Protestants, the royal priesthood of all believers.  

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On 1/19/2021 at 11:27 AM, bluebell said:

Got a response back!  One poster said--

If there is anything you would like to say to him in response I can pass it along.

The poster was well-informed about papal infallibility. But the infallibility of the Church's teaching goes well beyond that. As I explained in another post, the grandkids are here and I am having a respite, but they are coming soon...and I still haven't got the budget done!

Briefly, ecumenical council, consensus of the Fathers, along with the liturgical prayers of the Church, are other ways a Catholic should know infallible teachings, whether a pope has defined them or not.

I am going to miss these little ones so much. My little Beatrice is just learning to talk and in her softly lilting voice greets me over and over saying, "Hi Pop," before she comes and hugs my knees over and over again.

I don't want to sound like I am looking forward to their leaving tomorrow. I will miss them terribly and I tear up as I write these lines. I want you to know why I have had to be unresponsive these few days.

God bless, bluebell. Thanks very much for your interest!

3DOP 

Edited by 3DOP
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