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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from April 2005

we've had it worse, boys by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

For the ecclesiastically despondent Catholic, few forms of self-medication are as effective as a careful read through Owen Chadwick's The Popes and European Revolution (Oxford: 1981). When one realizes just how grim the situation looked from the vantage point of the late 18th century, our current...

Teddy Bear Refused Blessing at Austrian Confirmation Service by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

April...

More Neuhaus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

Neuhaus has some pointed remarks on an article called "Gay Adolescents in Catholic Schools" by Robert Mattingly, S.J., of Washington's Gonzaga College High School: Mattingly acknowledges the perils encountered by gay adolescents and cites familiar findings: the suicide rate is five times higher...

Les Intellectuels! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

Father Richard Neuhaus's Public Square column from the March First Things is now on-line, and contains several excellent items. First, check out this quotation from William James in Neuhaus's appraisal of Christian Smith's The Secular Revolution: William James foresaw the new circumstance in a...

I guess you hadda dasein. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

Those fun-loving, if excommunicated, deaconesses of the Austro-Bavarian Virtual Diocese post a photo montage proving that feminists haven't lost the sense of humor that made them famous: Pope: "Talk to them, Joe!" Ratzinger: "What should we do...

Too Much Paid Work? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 1, 2005

My last comments in this section were written one week ago on Good Friday. Since then, my determination to write something every day or two has been thwarted by what most of us would consider a happy circumstance: too much paid work. Trinity Communications (the non-profit corporation which runs...

morning meditation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2005

From the Code of Canon Law: Canon 395 §3: The Bishop is not to be absent from his diocese on Christmas Day, during Holy Week, or on Easter Sunday, Pentecost and Corpus Christi, except for a grave and urgent reason. From the Catholic Relief Service Newsline: March 28. CRS President Ken...

Alter Christus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2005

Occasionally we all need a bit of uplift, and no doubt you'll be as edified as I by the following glimpse of contemporary pastoral spirituality, available thanks to the newly expanded archive at Bishop-Accountability.org. It's an excerpt of an interview with serial molester Fr. Leo Landry...

Equally alarmed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2005

Opening of ABA President Robert J. Grey, Jr.'s letter to the rank and file: As members of the legal profession, I know you share my concern over the public's misunderstanding of the judiciary's role and the politically motivated criticism of the judiciary stemming from the Terri Schiavo case,...

on killing the inconvenient by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2005

Discussing the hypocrisy surrounding the Schiavo killing, Mark Steyn makes the following observation, "If an al-Qa'eda guy got shot up resisting capture in Afghanistan and required a feeding tube and the guards at Guantanamo yanked it out, you'd never hear the end of it from the American Civil...

The Coming Conclave by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2005

In December 2003, we published in Catholic World Report, a series of articles on the coming conclave that remain relevant, especially today obviously, as the Catholic Church prepares to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II:"The Coming Conclave" tells us what to expect from the conclave, what...

abortionists against late-term abortions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2005

How's this for a switch? An "abortion provider" in favor of limiting abortions. From the U.K. Telegraph: One of Britain's largest abortion clinics wants to cut the upper limit for terminations to 20 weeks because advances in medical science mean that the babies are "potentially viable".Marie...

A paragon of bad taste by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2005

Even in announcing the death of a Pope beloved throughout the world, the New York Times manages an ill-mannered dig, promoting the liberal agenda. In the last few weeks before his death, he deteriorated to the point where he seemed, as his spokesman once said, to be 'a soul pulling a body' - an...

Liberal Jesuits & the Late Pope by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2005

May the Lord preserve our pontiff and give him lifeand make him blessed upon the earthand deliver him not to the will of his enemies. Sinéad O'Connor, during a 1992 appearance on SNL, ended her performance of a Bob Marley song by ripping a photo of Pope John Paul II top to bottom while chanting...

The Passing of John Paul II by Christopher Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 4, 2005

In his fictionalized account of the death of Socrates, Plato makes the philosopher’s friend Crito ask him: “Socrates, what are your instructions to me and the others about your children or anything else? What can we do that would please you most?” “Nothing new, Crito,” Socrates responds, “but what...

Steyn on why they just don't get it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2005

P.J. O'Rourke once noted the irony that, when you move from abstract rhetoric to concrete interest, liberals display a disappointingly toddler-like view of liberty: for them, it means the freedom to put absolutely anything into their mouth. Writing on liberal media's inability to understand the...

smoking gun! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2005

The invaluable Terry Mattingly at Get Religion has a great post concerning a revealing editing goof that was captured in an on-line New York Times story about the legacy of Pope John Paul II. In the midst of the web version of Ian Fisher's April 2nd NYT article, hanging in the dead space...

what we know about the next pope by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2005

CWN has learned, through confidential sources deep inside the Vatican, that the next Pope will be a Catholic. Oh, you're not surprised? Then maybe you're not a member of We Are Church, WomynChurch, EcoChurch, or any of the other groups now emerging to lobby-- uselessly but noisily-- for the...

Whose church did he destroy? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2005

It wasn't easy to match the bad-taste standard set by the New York Times in reporting the Pope's death. But the Times editors have managed to outdo themselves, finding Thomas Cahill to trash the late Pope's memory, proclaiming that John Paul II has destroyed the Catholic Church. Here's just...

Complacent Cahill by Leila in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2005

Well, Diogenes, I guess I have this to say about Thomas Cahill. He displays a fatuous willingness to mix historical assumption, faulty middle term distribution, and yet mildly creditable conclusion in that frustrating way that passes these days as analysis. Exasperated, we stand by, trying...

minds and hearts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2005

Christianity Today's weblog has an interesting synopsis of the views of John Paul II held by...

Well represented? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2005

Oh, good. The Catholics of the US will be represented at the Pope's funeral. The presence of these legislative leaders will, no doubt, make Cardinal McCarrick comfortable....

Lesson learned by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2005

Having maintained a cautious silence while Terri Schiavo was starved to death, Bishop Robert Lynch now comments on the historic event, and draws a lesson for his flock: My recommendation to you is this: never miss an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and friends; never let a day...

Translation Talk by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 6, 2005

My recent column The Trouble with Translations drew a record amount of feedback. No fewer than 47 visitors and supporters chimed in. Let's look at the points they raised. Referenced Article: The Trouble with Translactions Happily, the vast majority agreed with the importance of linguistic...

Bring Out Your Dead, Mate! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2005

Shocking, but true. Catholic detractors of John Paul II are in such lamentably short supply in the southern hemisphere that journalists find themselves obliged to EXHUME media-savvy critics to help foul the patch of turf over the Pope's grave. Australian radio commentator Stephen Crittenden...

irrelevant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2005

And here's to you, Christine Amanpour, for providing us with the most... um... unusual insight on the current doings in Rome. The sage of CNN opined: The real question, of course, is how the Church will keep itself relevant in the centuries to come, or even in the next generation. Amanpour...

nil de mortuis by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 10, 2005

The U.K. Guardian's Polly Toynbee has an op-ed in dispraise of John Paul II that is remarkable for condensing the Leftist worldview into 1200 words of wrath. Toynbee predictably scores the hierarchy for its approach to the sex abuse scandal -- in which reproach she stands inside Christian...

incoming by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 10, 2005

Flashback to Iraq in mid-September of last year, and the following vivid account of the battle between insurgents and Marines in that cemetery at Najaf: "When you have that many people, that many rifles, that many machine guns, you have grenades exploding, rocket-propelled grenades exploding,...

romanità by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2005

Even his staunchest supporters might have wished Cardinal Law had been sent to Brescia for three days to look for a replacement belt for the vacuum cleaner, instead of taking an embarrassingly conspicuous role in the pre-conclave ceremonies. I can't believe, though, that the victim group SNAP...

The Times regrets the error by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2005

Steady Hand Valued in Pope Cape Catholics want new pontiff to be like the last one:consistent and conservative. Something has gone seriously awry at the Cape Cod Times. Above are the headline and slug-head of a story on contemporary Catholics -- in Massachusetts, no less -- that does NOT...

out of step by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2005

Bad news, friends. The New York Times has announced that "the Vatican's teachings on a number of subjects, including contraception, the ordination of women, and homosexuality, are out of step with the beliefs and lifestyles of most American Catholics." No doubt you're as horrified as I am to...

The Pope as Monarch: Reflections on Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 11, 2005

As I ponder the life and death of John Paul II, I am reminded that there is something about a pope that is very much like a king. This analogy with the social order is far from perfect, for the Church and the body politic are very different things. But there is much to be gained from wondering...

Letter to a Lebensunwertes Leben by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 12, 2005

Dear Miss Irishwoman, I peeled your photo last week from a news source I've now forgotten; it was one of a series of images showing worldwide mourning for the Pope, and the caption indicated you were part of a memorial Mass in Dublin. Your picture stuck with me -- perhaps because of its...

Take Two Tablets by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 12, 2005

Fr. James Hanvey, S.J., on the need for a small-c catholic culture (from The Tablet): We need to cultivate a truly catholic heart. It is clear that in his deep sense of the human, John Paul II sought to do this. Yet there are questions that our culture refuses to let us forget. Somehow it...

Roses are Red, My Love by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 12, 2005

Virginia is noted for glorious Springs, but March weather was so bad this year that Spring has burst upon us all at once in early April. My wife, Barbara, who requires her high school English classes to keep journals, reports that most students have at least one entry proclaiming that Spring is...

modern-day martyrdom (with a light chablis, please) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2005

Remember the "Church of Silence"-- the countless thousands of Christians who suffered deprivation, exile, torture, and death in the concentration camps of the Soviet empire? When he was elected to the papacy, John Paul II announced that there would no longer be a "Church of Silence," because...

parody enfeebled by reality by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2005

In a letter to former schoolmate Tom Driberg, acknowledging praise for his recently published life of Ronald Knox and lamenting the typographical errors therein, Evelyn Waugh wrote, "I am told that printers' readers no longer exist because clergymen are no longer unfrocked for sodomy." In 1960,...

kinda-sorta-pro-life-ish by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2005

Mark Steyn thinks Hillary "Abtreibung Macht Frei" Clinton's chances of winning the presidency in '08 are excellent. Painful though it is to admit, he's on target. The senator is a quick learner. Her initial campaign stops in the 2000 race were embarrassing: stiff, evasive, that robotic I Speak...

What to make of Cardinal Law? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2005

I've read a number of thoughtful columns and blogs in the past few days discussing the reaction, or over-reaction, to Cardinal Law's celebration of the novendiale Mass at St. Peter's Basilica last Monday. Some have maintained that objecting to Law's public appearances is overkill, given the fact...

The Primacy of Peter by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 14, 2005

The other day my son asked me for some help with a Religion assignment for his 9th grade class. The assignment was to write an essay on papal primacy which showed that the true Church of Christ could be identified by looking for the pope. Not a bad topic at this moment in history! At age 15, my...

baggage handlers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2005

John Allen reports that some cardinals are fingering their collars uneasily at the prospect of a Ratzinger pontificate: On the other hand, several cardinals have said privately that they're uncomfortable with the prospect of a Ratzinger papacy. It's not just that some don't believe his strong...

Your collection dollars at work by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2005

If you happen to be an American citizen, and you happen to be Catholic, would you support an organization whose legislative priorities include a promise to: Oppose legislation that would require state and local law enforcement agencies to detain criminal illegal aliens within the course of...

Your collection dollars at work, cont. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2005

Assuming that you are a US citizen, where do you stand on the minimum-wage law? Do you think Medicaid is a good, fiscally sound program? How about the National Affordable Housing Trust? And what is your attitude toward the world diamond trade? The reason I ask is to discern whether you'd want...

Your collection dollars at work, concluded by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2005

Would you, as an American voter: Oppose legislation that would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain drivers [sic] licenses and other state-issued identification documents, with the goal of ensuring full access by immigrants to such state-issued identification documents. Support...

unclear on the doctrine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 16, 2005

High dudgeon highbrow prophesying from His Holiness, a biography of Pope John Paul II, by Carl Bernstein (1996), p. 408. "A lot of people feel, rather than this heavy-handed dogmatic approach, he should take a pastoral approach," says Father Vincent O'Keefe, a former vicar general of the...

sing a new church into being by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 18, 2005

From Greenland's icy mountains, from India's coral strand,Where Afric's sunny fountains roll down their golden sand;From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,They call us to deliver their land from error's chain.What tho' the spicy breezes blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle;Though every...

China and the Conclave by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 19, 2005

China wants the Vatican to take advantage of its opportunity to elect a Pope who will change Catholic policy toward the Communist regime. In particular, the Chinese government wants the Vatican to withdraw diplomatic recognition from Taiwan and to recognize the legitimacy of the Chinese Catholic...

Ever Greeley by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 19, 2005

I was surprised, to put it mildly, when I saw that the Chicago Sun-Times is running Andrew Greeley's columns on the conclave, in which he is reporting from Rome. Perhaps "reporting" is not the best word here. Ponder the following remarks by Greeley regarding an earlier conclave -- the one...

Just curious... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2005

... when Pope Benedict XVI issues his first encyclical letter, should we ask to see the whole text, or just rely on Cardinal McCarrick to give us a quick...

surprise #1; be prepared for more by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2005

Let's say you're in a crowded urban area. You're at Point A, and you want to get to Point B, which is just a few hundred yards away. What do you do. You walk, obviously. But what do you did if you're the Vicar of Christ, Patriarch of Rome, Successor to St. Peter, and (let's not forget)...

our mother tongue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2005

Nobody else has commented, so I will: When he was introduced to the people of Rome, as the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI spoke, appropriately enough, in the language of contemporary Rome: Italian. (There were plenty of non-Romans in St. Peter's Square, I know; that's another...

insensitivity toward the 3rd World by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2005

Do you have, or can you find, a picture of Pope Benedict XVI, raising his arms on the loggia of St. Peter's, acknowledging the cheers of the crowd? Look at that picture. Study it carefully. Do you see what I see? Oh, the horror! Oh, the shame! Oh, the obvious lack of sympathy for the...

Pontifical We by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 21, 2005

Perhaps I've missed discussion of the matter elsewhere, but I was intrigued by the fact that Pope Benedict's first address uses the traditional first personal plural throughout ("In Our soul," not "In my soul"; "We sense within Us," not "I sense within me" -- as in the translations I've seen)....

Getting the Pope Wrong: A Day in the Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 21, 2005

It's not that I don't like Pope Benedict XVI. I just didn't think Cardinal Ratzinger would be elected. I also didn't think the conclave would be so brief. In fact, there was a great deal that I didn't think about correctly on April 19th. My intellectual mishaps began shortly before noon when I...

If the NYT had covered the Main Event by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2005

PICK SEEN AS SIGN OF CONTRADICTION by Ian Pecheur CAESAREA PHILIPPI (20 Kislev) Yesterday's surprise announcement that doctrinal hardliner Jesus of Nazareth had been anointed "Messiah" provoked mixed reactions in the diverse and sometimes fractious Israelite community, ranging from cautious...

where credit is due by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2005

Once again I must lift my hat to the NCR's John Allen and his ability to communicate the thinking of those he disagrees with. Among the dozens and dozens of left-liberal journalists that have discussed the pope's relation to Nazism, Allen is alone in emphasizing, correctly, that Ratzinger...

Ratzinger under pressure by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2005

The on-line German news-magazine Der Spiegel aims some well-deserved contempt at the contention of the British tabloids that the young Ratzinger was a Nazi, and includes this moving testimonial about his service as a 16-year-old conscript: "What you find in the British press is complete...

Steinfels. Dude. by Leila in "Off the Record" - Apr 23, 2005

Or will a Benedict XVI church set its priorities so that most of these teenagers are consigned to the barbarian darkness while the church attends to the minority already saved? Let's just all take a deep breath...

what they're reading by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2005

From Amazon.com bestselling books, Sunday, 24 April 2005 (3am EDT). 12. Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity. 15. Joseph Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth. 23. Joseph Ratzinger, God Is Near Us. 27. Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977. 32. Joseph Ratzinger, The Ratzinger...

upper lips unstiffen at the dread name by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2005

The UK Telegraph's Damian Thompson reports -- with a candor rare in the secular media -- on the alarm and despondency Ratzinger's election provoked in the breasts of Britons. 'Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love together with Benedict our Pope…" This phrase, or...

new depths of shallowness by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2005

I once heard a man memorably described as "veneer all the way through." It would be hard to find a better characterization of Andrew Greeley, who has a uniquely reliable talent for mistaking the eternal for the transient and vice-versa. Listen to him on Ratzinger: Women -- and not just in the...

did the message get through? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 25, 2005

The following article by Marco Tosatti, titled, "The Document That Put Ratzinger on Top," appeared in the Italian newspaper La Stampa last Friday (April 22). If the story it tells is true, it gives some grounds for hope that the will for reform may be taking root in places where it can make a...

how clerics are made by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 25, 2005

Ever wonder, when reading about another diocese going bankrupt, how it was possible to breed a entire generation of boneless chickens? Ever wonder, when listening to a Sunday homily, how one learns to speak at such length and say absolutely nothing at all? The NYT has an article on the attitudes...

has issues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 25, 2005

Thanks to Bill Cork for this collector's item from the Jesuit Father John Dear: "In the future, the college of Cardinals will be made up of people like Daniel Berrigan, Thomas Gumbleton, Roy Bourgeois -- and Helen Prejean, Joan Chittister and Kathy Kelly." Dear John, I'm not sure how to...

Papa Bene: Naming the Pope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 25, 2005

The sloganeers are already in full swing, and we daily see new and catchy references to Pope Benedict XVI. For some, he is Hitler’s Pope all over again. For others, he is B-16. The nicer nicknames are applied by those who value orthodoxy and ecclesiastical discipline. They hope the Modernists will...

les intellectuels by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 26, 2005

A friend of mine regularly watches a French news program called Kiosque, in which half a dozen lefty highbrow journalists kick around the news of the week past. He told me one of the journos this past Sunday gave voice to her contempt for the decision to accord news coverage to the papal...

you say you want a revolution? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2005

Rea Howarth of Catholics Speak Out came to Rome to convince the Church to renounce patriarchy. She -- Ms. Howarth, I mean, not the Scarlet Woman -- kept a diary of her adventures. The following paragraphs, which I swear I'm not making up, were posted in response to the flop: About 40 people...

who loves ya, baby? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2005

In its 11 November 2002 issue, the Jesuit magazine America editorialized in favor of gay priests, arguing that "their experience of suffering persecution, for example, can often make gay priests more compassionate toward others." Now that Benedict XVI has assumed the pastorship of the universal...

You heard it here first by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2005

Sometime during the first week in May, newspapers in the US-- especially in Boston-- will complain that Pope Benedict XVI is honoring Cardinal Bernard Law by visiting the basilica of St. Mary Major. They'll be wrong again. The Holy Father will be honoring the Virgin Mary, and you could say that...

Pillow Talk: How DARE you suggest I'm unfaithful! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2005

A parable. November 9, 1988 Arlene: Something the matter, dear? Fred: (sigh) The elections. Maybe next time we'll get a president who'll make bigamy legal. Then Marcy will be able to join us in the sack. Mustn't give up hope. November 4, 1992 Arlene: Something the matter, dear? Fred:...

prescription for the Church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2005

James Carroll has written several books and countless Boston Globe columns attacking two targets: the Catholic Church and the US military. (Carroll was once a Paulist priest; his father was a general. Dr. Freud, call your office.) Carroll insists that he remains a Catholic, and merely wants...

Christians as terrorists by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2005

Over at National Review Online, Stanley Kurtz offers his typical insightful perspective on the secular liberals who think that Christians are a menace because they're so... so... what's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah: intolerant. Christians are intolerant. And the proof is: the Left can't...

Sacred Heart Image: Coming Soon by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 28, 2005

I've hinted from time to time over the past month that Trinity Communications needs to improve its bottom line and will begin more spirited fund-raising efforts shortly. We have settled on premium-based fund-raising as the best approach. The first premium is the picture of the Sacred Heart of...

Cuomo goes hardline by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 29, 2005

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, the first US Catholic politician to set forth the "personally opposed, but" rationale for supporting legal abortion, has now laid down the law. In a New York Daily News column, Cuomo warns that Jesus Christ set forth some clear teachings, and: To deny...

the reckoning by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 29, 2005

George Weigel argues that Ratzinger's election signifies the twilight of Catholic progressivism: It was expected that the Catholic Church would, indeed must, take the path of accommodation: that has been the central assumption of what's typically called "progressive" Catholicism. That...

war against the working male by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 30, 2005

When you go to Mass tomorrow, take a look around you and notice what group is most conspicuously absent. Regardless of where on the face of the globe you are, the answer is obvious: missing are blue collar heterosexual males between the ages of 18 and 28. Of itself that fact is...

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