Baptist brother's apposition to the sacraments

I was watching the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology’s video series on the sacraments. I came across a part that I thought was neat so I quoted it in a post saying:

“God wants something far greater than a personal relationship. He wants to make us a part of his family. and how do we become God’s son’s and daughters? Through covenants. Sacraments are nothing less than covenant oaths. Through the sacraments we swear a covenant oath to God. the problem for us is that covenants are foreign enough in our modern culture that we have a tendancy to confuse them with contracts. Covenants are to contracts, what marriage is to prostitution.”

Then my Baptist brother responded to this saying:

“Does a marriage license guarantee you’ll stay married? No. It’s the relationship you have with your spouse that’ll determine how long your marriage will last. You can’t just check off sacraments like a to-do list and think that it will get you in. God loves us even if we haven’t loved him. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.” (1 John 4:10) It’s this very idea that you have to do a, b, and c, or that you have to be righteous enough, that keeps so many people from coming to Christ. When they realize that we have all fallen from God and that he loves you, no matter what, that’s when people come to Him and yearn to follow in Christ’s footsteps.”

I’m wondering all your thoughts regarding his points. How would you respond. What might be persuasive in explaining the sacraments to him?

Going from Scott Hahn’s angle, I might actually semi-agree with the point your brother is making. Really being in a family is not about completing checklists, but about actively participating in the love of the family. The sacraments must not be treated as mere checklists, but as opportunities to participate in and receive the love of God. These are not the only way to experience God in our lives, but they are means provided by Christ through his body the Church, means which engage not just a believer’s spirit, but his physical senses as well. In this way, the whole self can be engaged. If my mother wants to kiss me to show her love, sure, I can snub her, or I can let her do so while holding back at a distance, not really reciprocating, and that’s like a sacrament received as part of a checklist. But, if I return my mother’s love, that can greatly deepen my end of my relationship with her. The sacraments are one opportunity, provided through the Church, to open ourselves up to God’s love in a familial relationship. They’re not just something we do as part of a checklist, or because He’s a master and we are slaves, but because He has adopted us and is giving us opportunities to participate and truly open ourselves up to His love. Certainly, God will love us no matter what. But how much good it will do us and transform us into better Christians if we are open to and participate in that love!

Edit: Also, I think he missed the point in the marriage/covenant analogy. That it’s not one sided or about property you own, but about saying “you are mine and I am yours.” Humans sometimes break their end of a covenant, true. But God doesn’t, and God doesn’t just want to make an exchange with us, it’s an opportunity to affirm, renew, and/or heal our end of the familial “you are mine and I am yours” relationship. It applies to adoption as well as marriage.

A recent revert to Catholicism from evangelicalism has mentioned the following

“Sacraments are good and holy. But to place them on a level above the personal relationship with Christ is just not right. the fact is you can have all the sacraments you want every day of your life but still end up in hell. But a personal relationship with Christ is an absolute guarantee of current salvation. Sacraments are good, but a personal relationship with Christ is far better. Ideally you want both. But the one absolute necessity is the relationship. And through the personal relationship God can give you every Grace, even unlimited Grace. Again it’s not one or the other, but at rock-bottom ultimately it’s the personal relationship that counts.”

Well, he isn’t wrong, and if a person approaches the Sacraments with that mentality your brother described, they aren’t going to get any closer to God. However, the Sacraments come with grace and if you accept that grace, you will grow in your faith and your relationship with God.

Thank you. What would you say to the other Catholic’s comment?

Very helpful thank you

I’d ask him where–for crying out loud–he got* this* idea.

I don’t know anybody who believes something so inane as that.

Hi!

…have you heard of the “feel good theology?” …or the once saved always saved theology?

…those who reject the Church on the grounds of “too much doctrine” or some other excuse simply want the shortcut to eternity: “I’m saved, done that!”

…just consider the non-Catholic understanding of the Sacraments… some hold that there are none; others one or two or three… and while they all profess to have the revelation of the Holy Spirit to guide them to such understanding, they fully contend that it is the Scriptures themselves that gives such enlightened understanding… as that of divorce and remarry…

Just this particular issue can clearly demonstrate how wrong their theology is… they attempt to use the Word of God to void the Word of God (unless they do not Believe that Jesus is God) for it is Jesus Himself that declared that the Sacrament (though He did not employ the term) of Marriage is between a man (1) and a woman (1) and that the two become one, not referring to the physical copulation (sexual intercourse) but to the Union in God–He further states that what God Brings together no man can set asunder (repeal/dissolve).

…as for the many joining Christ, did you ever read in Scriptures where Christ was concerned about how the amount of people that would follow Him and that He downplayed the requirements for being His Disciples? Here’s some of what Jesus requires:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]20 For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(St. Matthew 5:20)

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (St. Luke 14:26-27)

15 If you love me, keep my commandments. (St. John 14:15)

30 He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. (St. Matthew 12:30)

54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 57 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. 58 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. (St. John 6:54-58)
…so do we follow the gravy train or do we follow Jesus? When Jesus’ Teaching was questioned and many left Him, did He simplify or water down the Doctrine or attempted to appease or claim that He was not being literal?:

66 And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. 67 After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. 68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?

(St. John 6:66-68)
Jesus was not concerned with the numbers for He Knew that:

13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. 14 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it

! (St. Matthew 7:13-14)
Maran atha!

Angel

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Hi!

…the problem with that ideology is that it misses the point of the Sacraments and what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ… people say all the time: “he/she is my friend” or “I’m his/her friend.” Sadly, most of the times that claim is based on erroneous “feelings.” When that relationship is tested only true friends remain loyal to one another… it is the reason why Christ states that not all who call Him “Lord” will enter into the Kingdom… the relationship must be two-way:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

(St. John 15:4-5)
Since it is He Who Founded the Church and the Sacraments, and He Commands that we Obey His Commandments, how can making the Sacraments void be a response to Loving and Abiding in Christ? How can a Believer have a personal relationship with Christ when he/she rejects Christ’s Authority?

Maran atha!

Angel

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This blog article of mine might help you a little Shaolin.
“I Find No Sacraments In the Bible” he said.

I’m confused by the other comment. Sacraments and a “relationships” aren’t mutually exclusive. God seeks a relationship with us through the Sacraments.

So I’m almost thinking of making a new thread for this catholic revert. Something is very off on his theology. He commented with this after I made a response to my brother with all your help. He said:

“if The Holy Spirit dwels in you, then you are already in familial relationship with God. No need for sacraments to achieve that.”

I then asked:

“what are the sacraments to you? And do you think they’re superfluous?”

He then replied:

"They certainly are not superfluous. But one needs to be very careful about where they are placing their trust. The sacraments are a blessing when received by a person who knows they are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. When a person knows that their salvation is secure only because of a direct personal relationship with Christ who died for their sins, and for no other reason, then the Sacraments are a blessing to be sure.

But i think Galatians 5 makes it clear that the moment a person begins to think that their salvation depends on anything other than faith in Christ, that is the moment they fall from grace. We are justified the moment we are converted, and this happens through heartfelt faith. It is the free gift of God to all who believe in their heart. The sacraments are icing on the cake. But anyone who has the indwelling of The Holy Spirit is already a full and complete member of the family of God, period."

I think he does seem to be separating the sacraments from a relationship with Christ. And is it just me or does he basically claim “they’re not superfluous” but then goes on to describe them as if they’re superfluous? Really need your help.

God bless Shaolen and every readers of the CAF.

I believe Shaolin your post is perfect, could be a DE FIDE Dogma of the Catholic Church.

The sacraments are the fruit of our salvation, NOT THE CAUSE of it!!!

We doing the Sacraments as obedient children/elect of God, out of sheer love for the Glory of God, NOT BECAUSE we want to be saved but because we HAVE BEEN saved.

We can contribute NOTHING to our salvation, it is God’s free gift, paid by Christ in full on the cross.

We HAVE BEEN saved by grace alone, faith alone, apart from works, as God’s free gift.

We have been received God’s free gift of salvation by God’s free gift of faith.

Even our ability to positively respond to God’s free gift of faith is also His gift.

Phil.2:13; “For it is God who works in you BOTH TO WILL and TO ACT for His good pleasure.”

CCC 2022; “The divine initiative in the work of grace PRECEDES, PREPARES, and ELICITS the free response of man. …”

The salvation of God’s children/elect always based on God’s initiative.

**We must clearly understand: **
We doing the Sacraments as the fruit of our salvation, NOT THE CAUSE of our salvation.

Until we are in Christ we can do nothing, **until we are in Christ we are spiritually dead. ** – 1 Cor.15:22; John 15:5; Eph.2:1-8; Col.1:12-14; Col.2:9-14;
1 Cor.2:14; etc. etc.

Continue

Continuation

CATHOLIC SENSIBILITY, DEI VERBUM 21

Quote: The Church has always VENERATED the divine Scriptures JUST AS she VENERATED the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful THE BREAD OF LIFE from the table of BOTH of GOD’S WORD and of CHRIST’S BODY.

For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and THE FORCE AND POWER IN THE WORD OF GOD IS SO GREAT THAT IT IS STANDS AS THE SUPPORT AND ENERGY OF THE CHURCH, THE STRINGS OF FAITH for Her (children), THE FOOD OF THE SOUL, THE PURE AND EVERLASTING SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE.

“For the WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND ACTIVE” (Hebr.4:12) and it **HAS THE POWER TO BUILD YOU UP and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32) ** End quote.

THE SCRIPTURES referred to as the “BREAD OF LIFE”** in direct association with a reference to the Eucharist.**
Please see: John 1:1; Matt.4:4; Luke 4:4; John 6:47-51, 63.

We have access and **we are able to eat the “BREAD OF LIFE” in TWO ways: **
The Church offers to the faithful the bread of life FROM THE EUCHARISTIC table of BOTH of GOD’S WORD and CHRIST’S BODY.

When in faith, we are READING or HEARING the Word of God we consuming the BREAD OF LIFE, in which He (Jesus), Himself is consumed and we unite ourselves to Christ.

The Catholic Understanding of the Bible by Fr. John Harden SJ.

Quote: “The Scriptures are holy because their main author is the all-holy God. But they are also holy because they are able to sanctify those who READ the Bible as NO OTHER LITERATURE in the world is capable of doing.

**St. Thomas does not hesitate to speak of the Scriptures as a KIND OF SACRAMENT.

SIMULAR to what happens when we receive BAPTISM or the EUCHARIST.**

The same Holy Spirit who first inspired the Bible CONTINUES TO ENLIGHTEN those who now READ the Bible.” End quote. Emphasize mine.

WE CANNOT OVER EMPHASIS!

When in faith, READING or HEARING the Word of God we are consuming the BREAD OF LIFE, in which He (Jesus), Himself is consumed and we unite ourselves to Christ.

[CCC 108]; Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.”
Christianity is a religion of the “Word” of God, “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living.”
If the Scriptures are not remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.” End quote.

The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn Page 48

Quote: One of the great Scripture scholars of the early church, Origen (third century), urged Christians TO RESPECT CHRIST’S PRESENTS IN THE GOSPEL as they RESPECT HIS PRESENCE IN THE HOST.

“You who are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries know, when you receive the body of the Lord, how you protect it with all caution and veneration lest any small part fall from it, lest anything of the consecrated gift be lost.

For you believe, and correctly, that you are answerable if anything falls from there by neglect.

But if you are so careful to preserve His body, and rightly so, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS LESS GUILT TO HAVE NEGLECTED GOD’S WORD THAT TO HAVE NEGLECTED HIS BODY?” End quote.

ACCORDING TO ST. JEROME

This famous excerpt from Jerome’s Commentary on Isaiah (Nn. 1.2: CCL 73, 1-3) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast (liturgical memorial) of St. Jerome on September 30.

In it, St. Jerome firmly insists that IGNORANCE OF THE SCRIPTURE IS IGNORANCE OF CHRIST. A strong exhortation from a Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church to Christians urging all to recognize that serious Bible study is a necessity, not an optional luxury. End quote.

SUMMARY

The same Holy Spirit who first inspired the Bible CONTINUES TO ENLIGHTEN those who now READ the Bible.”

Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”

When in faith, READING or HEARING the Word of God we are consuming the BREAD OF LIFE, in which He (Jesus), Himself is consumed and we unite ourselves to Christ.

God bless Shaolen and every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

“Now the exhortation of the Apostle, ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,’ requires that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when He offered Himself in sacrifice: that is to say, they should in a humble attitude of mind, pay adoration, honor, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God. Moreover, it means that they must assume to some extent the character of a victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of their own accord they do penance and that each detests and satisfies for his sins. It means, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St. Paul, ‘With Christ I am nailed to the cross.’” (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 81) This should suffice to say that we should not let the logic of the sacraments bring us to wrong reason, vis., negligence and inattentiveness.

The principles proper to the way to have the right dispositions for the sacraments is found in the “golden book” (Pius XII) called the imitation of Christ. The bible read assiduously opens the “door” (Jn 10:9) to grasps those principles.

**God bless every readers of the CAF.

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE? by James Akin**

Quote: “In fact, in TRADITIONAL WORKS OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, one regularly encounters the statement that FORMED FAITH IS JUSTIFYING FAITH. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period. End quote. Emphasis mine.

**Sola fide formata = FORMED FAITH ALONE
THE COMPOSITE OF GOD’S GIFT OF FORMED FAITH:

a. BELIEF (Unconditional BELIEF in what God says.)

b. HOPE (Unconditional TRUST in God.)

c. CHARITY (Unconditional LOVE for God.)**

HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT By Etienne Charpentier

Nihil obstate: Father Anton Cowan

Imprimatur: Monsignor John Crowley, VG Westminster, 28 May 1985

Quote: “There is ONE CENTRAL QUESTION here: how can we become RIGHTEOUS and be SAVED?

We NOT justified by what we do (works, observing law) but by FAITH IN CHRIST.

Salvation is NOT a matter of achieving but RECEIVING IT FREELY from God hands, in faith.” End quote.

JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church

3/17 Justification is SOLELY due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we RECEIVE IN FAITH, and NEVER CAN MERIT IT ANY WAY.

4/25 We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. WHATEVER in the JUSTIFIED PRECEDES or FOLLOWS the free gift of faith is NEITHER THE BASIS of justification NOR MERITS it.

4/27.The Catholic understanding also sees faith as fundamental in justification. For without faith, no justification can take place. Thus justifying grace never becomes a human possession. While Catholic teaching emphasizes the renewal of life by justifying grace, this RENEVAL in FAITH, HOPE, LOVE is always dependent on God’s unfathomable grace and contributes NOTHING to JUSTIFICATION.

4/37 We confess together that good works - a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love - FOLLOW JUSTIFICATION and ARE ITS FRUITS.

ANNEX TO THE OFFICIAL COMMON STATEMENT

C) Justification takes place "by grace alone“ (JD 15 and 16), by faith alone, the person is justified „apart from works“ (Rom 3:28, cf. JD 25). "Grace creates faith not only when faith begins in a person but as long as faith lasts“ (Thomas Aquinas, S. Th.II/II 4, 4 ad 3).The working of God’s grace does not exclude human action: God effects everything, the willing and the achievement, therefore, we are called to strive (cf. Phil 2:12 ff). "As soon as the Holy Spirit has initiated his work of regeneration and renewal in us through the Word and the holy sacraments, it is certain that we can and must cooperate by the power of the Holy Spirit…“ (The Formula of Concord, FC SD II,64f; BSLK 897,37ff).

D) Grace as fellowship of the justified with God in faith, hope and love is always received from the salvific and creative work of God (cf. JD 27). But it is nevertheless the responsibility of the justified not to waste this grace but to live in it. The exhortation to do good works is the exhortation to practice the faith (cf. BSLK 197,45). The good works of the justified „should be done in order to confirm their call, that is, lest they fall from their call by sinning again“ (Apol. XX,13, BSLK 316,18-24; with reference to 2 Pet. 1:10. Cf. also FC SD IV,33; BSLK 948,9-23). In this sense Lutherans and Catholics can understand together what is said about the "preservation of grace“ in JD 38 and 39. Certainly, "whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it“ (JD 25).

  1. The doctrine of justification is measure or touchstone for the Christian faith. No teaching may contradict this criterion. In this sense, the doctrine of justification is an "indispensable criterion which constantly serves to orient all the teaching and practice of our churches to Christ“ (JD l8). As such, it has its truth and specific meaning within the overall context of the Church’s fundamental Trinitarian confession of faith. We "share the goal of confessing Christ in all things, who is to be trusted above all things as the one Mediator (1 Tim 2:5-6) through whom God in the Holy Spirit gives himself and pours out his renewing gifts“ (JD 18).

KNOWING we have been, Justified/Saved "by grace alone“ (JD 15 and 16), by faith alone, apart from works (Rom 3:28, cf. JD 25).

As good Children/Elect of God we should work as much as we can, out of sheer love for the Glory of God and out of sheer love for others.

God bless every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

Council of Trent - Session VII

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that these sacraments were instituted for the sake of nourishing faith alone; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify; or, that they do not confer that grace on those who do not place an obstacle thereunto; as though they were merely outward signs of grace or justice received through faith, and certain marks of the Christian profession, whereby believers are distinguished amongst men from unbelievers; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that grace, as far as God’s part is concerned, is not given through the said sacraments, always, and to all men, even though they receive them rightly, but (only) sometimes, and to some persons; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that by the said sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred through the act performed, but that faith alone in the divine promise suffices for the obtaining of grace; let him be anathema.

Now, it is true that God can, if He so pleases, administer the grace of the sacraments through non-normative means, but let’s not forget these canons and others.

See thecounciloftrent.com/ch7.htm for reference. Session 6 deals with orthodox belief regarding justification, grace, and merit.

Anything written after much be read in such a way so as to be compliant with all of the canons of this council, and cannot conttadict said canons.

"They certainly are not superfluous. But one needs to be very careful about where they are placing their trust. The sacraments are a blessing when received by a person who knows they are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. When a person knows that their salvation is secure only because of a direct personal relationship with Christ who died for their sins, and for no other reason, then the Sacraments are a blessing to be sure.

But i think Galatians 5 makes it clear that the moment a person begins to think that their salvation depends on anything other than faith in Christ, that is the moment they fall from grace. We are justified the moment we are converted, and this happens through heartfelt faith. It is the free gift of God to all who believe in their heart. The sacraments are icing on the cake. But anyone who has the indwelling of The Holy Spirit is already a full and complete member of the family of God, period."

This CLASSIC rejection or downplaying of the Sacraments by Calvinists is due to their wrong-headed thinking. It is “Salvation” based. They wrongly assume that Discipleship is " Pass/Fail." They never move past that.

Catholics on the other hand are concerned with Holiness and Perfection, just as Jesus has commanded us. That is why we have the Sacraments. That is why we “work” so hard. Not for “Salvation” which Catholics understand was accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. Calvinists actually are CONTRADICTING themselves by making their “work” this delusional “relationship with Christ” which rejects the Sacraments of Jesus Christ!

God bless every readers of the CAF.

THE CANONS OF THE COUNCIL OF ORANGE 529 AD

CANON 5. “… For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8) …”

CANON 18. “That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.”

MERIT
Divine reward for the practice of virtue.
“The reward given for good works is not won by reason of actions which precede grace, but GRACE, which is unmerited, PRECEDES actions in order that ENABLE them to be done.”
(Council of Orange 529 AD, Denzinger 388).

God’s UNMERITED grace ALWAYS PRECEDES ACTIONS in order that ENABLE actions to be done.

Rom.11:5-6 In the same way, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if it is by grace then it is no longer by works. Otherwise, * grace would no longer be grace* .

Rom.5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Rom.5:18; “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment come to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift come to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

Rom.3:24; “Being JUSTIFIED FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

**NO ONE is superior to the Word of God, ** not the Magisterium CCC 86, not the Trent, not even an Angel from heaven.

God bless every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

The full text of the canons of the Council of Orange, which were written to address the Pelagian heresy, and the full text of the canons of Trent, which were written to address a heresy on the same topic of justification but which (the new heresy) was going too far the other way, do not conflict.

Anyway, I didn’t necessarily find anything contradictory in your posts, LatinRite, but I just wanted to provide the canons regarding these topics so your posts are read correctly by others, such that they don’t stray one way or the other off the Catholic “middle road.”

What was proclaimed at Trent is part of the deposit of faith and must be believed by all Catholics.

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