Used to go to confession every month, now it has been 9 months and I am terrified to go at all!

#21

[quote="Bookcat, post:14, topic:311718"]
Yes some "information" from posters are not in keeping with the Teachings of the Church. In some matters there may be "varied judgments" about certain matters -- for the Church has not explicitly (pun intended) judged the matter. It is possible for varied orthodox moral theologians etc to have differing judgments/arguments on the particular matter.

Practically one looks to good sources -- first of course the Teaching of the Church-- then one can look to Orthodox Theologians (who "think with the Church" and are faithful) ...Orthodox books....and ones Confessor etc (via appointments --which can even take place in the confessional or like circumstance to make it less embarissing...)

(pm me if I can be of any further help).

[/quote]

Thank you Bookcat.
I certainly appreciate your help.
I do not do PM with anyone that I cannot be absolutely certain of being a female, because it is my way of protecting myself in online communication. But I do have another question that your response here prompted me to ask.

How do I find the teachings of the Church on uncertain matters? It has felt like a wild goose chase on some matters. How do I find a more definitive explanation?

Some theologians say some things are not lustful/sinful. While some priests say that they are.
Some theologians say that a certain form of anger (the righteous indignation to an injustice) is morally good, and is different from sinful anger. Others say that all anger is sinful, and especially so if the injustice/offense that upsets you is against your own person.
Then there are varied opinions on pride being debated here at CAF currently, backed up with seemingly contradictory statements from "teachings" of the Church.

I am still such a baby Catholic that I do not know how to find "teachings" of the Church, or be able to discern things for myself from my reading and with my personal history being what it is, I feel ill-equipped to act as a mature Catholic.

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#22

[quote="mommamaree, post:21, topic:311718"]
Thank you Bookcat.
I certainly appreciate your help.
I do not do PM with anyone that I cannot be absolutely certain of being a female, because it is my way of protecting myself in online communication.

Not female....married man with kids.

But I do have another question that your response here prompted me to ask.

How do I find the teachings of the Church on uncertain matters? It has felt like a wild goose chase on some matters. How do I find a more definitive explanation?
The Catechism or the Compendium is one source...it all depends on the question and if there is a "teaching" etc. And one can look to orthodox moral theologians (who "think with the Church"-- for either their knowledge of such teaching or in other things their judgments etc

Some theologians say some things are not lustful/sinful. While some priests say that they are. In some matters -- it is simply the case that one of them does not "think with the Church" in other matters there can be a legit difference in opinion
Some theologians say that a certain form of anger (the righteous indignation to an injustice) is morally good, and is different from sinful anger. Others say that all anger is sinful, and especially so if the injustice/offense that upsets you is against your own person well ALL anger being sinful is CERTAINLY not the case - Jesus was angry and he NEVER sinned. And Scripture notes too "be angry but do not sin".

Then there are varied opinions on pride being debated here at CAF currently, backed up with seemingly contradictory statements from "teachings" of the Church.

Pride can be grave yes (like rejecting the authority of the Church etc -often it can be "venial" matter too.

I am still such a baby Catholic that I do not know how to find "teachings" of the Church, or be able to discern things for myself from my reading and with my personal history being what it is, I feel ill-equipped to act as a mature Catholic.
it can take time.....my knowledge was not "all present" when I became a Catholic....it did not happen overnight .....I have a degree in Theology from Steubenville....it took time...and am constantly "learning" and asking questions :)

[/quote]

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#23

[quote="mommamaree, post:12, topic:311718"]
See, this is one of my questions.

How do I found out if something is sinful or not, if the very nature of the thing in question is explicit?

Here at CAF, people's opinions are shared at the same time as statements from moral theology textbooks (like the kind priests use to give counsel in confession). If the textbook quote says one thing, but posters say that the theologian (Jone, I think) was wrong, and that certain intimate actions during the course of the marital act are morally repugnant and sinful, how do I properly form my conscience?
I cannot do a Google search. (That would turn up some dangerous links)
I cannot talk to another Catholic.
I cannot find a book that clears up the confusion I have (he says things are permissable, she says things are evil)
I am terrified to ask a priest about these matters, because the questions would need to be explicit.

So what in the world can I do?

I have some other serious concerns, too. Questions about anger and pride and lust. My RCIA journey seemed so short and I had no instruction on these kinds of things. Looking back I think my First Confession might have been full of things that did not need to be confessed, because I became hyper-paranoid about sin.

[/quote]

You need a good examination of conscience. Here's the booklet I use from Leaflet Missal, recommended by Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's the best I've ever used. It divides mortal and venial sin into 2 sections. It's very through.

An Examination of Conscience

Did you know, depending on which translation of the Bible you have, it says "Do not be afraid" 365 times? Honestly, you're going to be fine. :)

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#24

scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

There are all sorts of good resources

There are particularly orthodox Publishers such as Ignatius Press, Scepter Publishers etc and particularly orthodox Universities such as Franciscan University of Steubenville etc

There is lots of excellent things on EWTN and there is the "National Catholic Bioethics Center" which one can even call with questions for their ethicists..and of course there is Catholic Answers "proper" the main site and the Apologist line...

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#25

[quote="mommamaree, post:12, topic:311718"]
See, this is one of my questions.

How do I found out if something is sinful or not, if the very nature of the thing in question is explicit?

Here at CAF, people's opinions are shared at the same time as statements from moral theology textbooks (like the kind priests use to give counsel in confession). If the textbook quote says one thing, but posters say that the theologian (Jone, I think) was wrong, and that certain intimate actions during the course of the marital act are morally repugnant and sinful, how do I properly form my conscience?
I cannot do a Google search. (That would turn up some dangerous links)
I cannot talk to another Catholic.
I cannot find a book that clears up the confusion I have (he says things are permissable, she says things are evil)
I am terrified to ask a priest about these matters, because the questions would need to be explicit.

So what in the world can I do?

I have some other serious concerns, too. Questions about anger and pride and lust. My RCIA journey seemed so short and I had no instruction on these kinds of things. Looking back I think my First Confession might have been full of things that did not need to be confessed, because I became hyper-paranoid about sin.

[/quote]

Just go - and ask the priest for help:thumbsup:

Good luck. You know we'll all be praying for you! What can go wrong!

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#26

[quote="Bookcat, post:22, topic:311718"]

[/quote]

So, if I am in the process of learning about sin, and have been acting according to my conscience as it currently is, is it even possible to be in a state of mortal sin? I am daily trying to form my conscience, by reading at Catholic Education Resource Center and other online resources, or watching EWTN programming, reading Catholic periodicals, and I have read the CCC once (during RCIA) plus refer to it for specific questions, by reading threads on the Moral Theology forum and others here, too...am I looking in the right places? I have not been acting against my conscience, but my spirit becomes troubled when I realize that there are doubtful/uncertain matters where people argue back and forth and both sides seem to have concrete evidence to back up their POVs. It is very challenging to not get paranoid about having done gravely wrong things, when I thought that I was doing my best to be faithful to the teachings of the Church and to serve the Lord. And then I don't know if I should confess or not, since I was not aware that what I was doing/thinking was wrong, and there is still doubt about who is right anyway. :shrug:
So, I guess the best thing for me to do is make an appointment with my priest, as difficult as that might be. I just hate to waste his time on matters like this. He has a busy schedule and I feel foolish and guilty for being so needy and messed up. Sorry, gonna go cry a while now.

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#27

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:311718"]
How do I prepare myself for confession now?

I stopped going regularly because I was becoming distraught and emotionally unstable, seeing sin in my every action. I had been through a rough time, experiencing a miscarriage and emotional abuse at the hands of a close relative and rapid change of circumstances, and I supposed I was struggling with depression.
So, I stopped going.
Now I am terrified of the idea of going back to confession (not to mention the fact that I don't know what to do with my children while I go). I don't even know how to confess the sins I perceive in myself. There are things that I have struggled with that I don't know if they are sins or temptations to sin. I don't feel confident that I have an understanding of the difference between an imperfection and committing a sin. I also am terrified that the priest will be my pastor and some of the things I am unsure about (as in, they may not be sins, but only temptations) are extremely personal and intimate. My pastor will know it is me, and I do not want to talk about these questions with him (just as I wouldn't with anyone other than my husband).
How can I understand if I have fallen out of a state of grace? How can I discern between mortal sin and venial sin and imperfection? I have an examination of conscience (several actually), but with my background (emotional abuse and severe upbringing leading me to constant self-recrimination) the examination of conscience book is not clear for me. I don't want to wind myself up again and start spiraling. I also do not want to confess sins that I am not actually guilty of, out of my strong tendency to find severe fault in myself.

Any help would be appreciated. But I do hope for kind help, not condemnation or blame. I can do that well enough on my own, and I really need to know how to do this right. I find myself longing for the relief of the confessional, and inside I feel like a sinful mess, but I do not know how to properly examine my conscience without my emotional baggage getting in the way. Oh, and I should also mention, I have only been Catholic since Easter 2010, but I am a 30ish woman. Thanks so much. :o

[/quote]

Go to another parish if you feel you must. Do a short examination of conscience, but don't tie yourself into knots. When you get into the confessional, tell the priest right away that you might suffer from scruples, so he can help you understand what is and is not a sin. Take it a piece at a time. You don't have to worry if you miss some sins you may have committed. At the end, we always say, "For these, and for all the sins of my life, I am heartily sorry, God." And that covers anything you forget. But if your conscience starts to bother you again, just confess that sin next time. It's not a sin to forget a sin!

If the examination of conscience is too overwhelming, just go in and explain, and start the confession wherever you need to, "Father, I think I lied to my husband by saying this. Is that a lie, and is that a mortal sin?" The only thing is that a confession like this can get a little lengthy so it would actually be better for you to make an appointment for some spiritual guidance.

I would NOT recommend the Augustine-style examen! :eek:

By the way, mortal sins have to fulfill 3 conditions:

It has to be a grave matter (such as murder, theft, etc.)
That you KNEW it was grave matter
That you committed the sin anyway (full consent of the will)

So many of our day-to-day sins are either not grave matter, or we don't have full consent of the will. But some are. That is where your priest can guide you.

You actually need to go MORE frequently, not less, when you need more grace. Do not fear! Jesus is waiting for you!

:)

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#28

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When does one commit a mortal sin?

1855-1861
1874

One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.

  1. When does one commit a venial sin?

1862-1864
1875

One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

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#29

[quote="asia53, post:23, topic:311718"]
You need a good examination of conscience. Here's the booklet I use from Leaflet Missal, recommended by Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's the best I've ever used. It divides mortal and venial sin into 2 sections. It's very through.

An Examination of Conscience

Did you know, depending on which translation of the Bible you have, it says "Do not be afraid" 365 times? Honestly, you're going to be fine. :)

[/quote]

I had to laugh when I saw the EOC you linked to. It is the one they give away at my parish and I have always used it, ever since preparing for my First Confession almost 3 years ago. I do really like it, but my problem is that I tend to "shadowbox", meaning that I tend to see things that may not be there (spiritually-speaking) and go on the offensive and end up making myself quite the neurotic mess. That is why I stopped going to confession for a while in the first place (since early in this pregnancy) but now I am still becoming a neurotic mess anyway!

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#30

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:311718"]
How do I prepare myself for confession now?

I stopped going regularly because I was becoming distraught and emotionally unstable, seeing sin in my every action. I had been through a rough time, experiencing a miscarriage and emotional abuse at the hands of a close relative and rapid change of circumstances, and I supposed I was struggling with depression.
So, I stopped going.
Now I am terrified of the idea of going back to confession (not to mention the fact that I don't know what to do with my children while I go). I don't even know how to confess the sins I perceive in myself. There are things that I have struggled with that I don't know if they are sins or temptations to sin. I don't feel confident that I have an understanding of the difference between an imperfection and committing a sin. I also am terrified that the priest will be my pastor and some of the things I am unsure about (as in, they may not be sins, but only temptations) are extremely personal and intimate. My pastor will know it is me, and I do not want to talk about these questions with him (just as I wouldn't with anyone other than my husband).
How can I understand if I have fallen out of a state of grace? How can I discern between mortal sin and venial sin and imperfection? I have an examination of conscience (several actually), but with my background (emotional abuse and severe upbringing leading me to constant self-recrimination) the examination of conscience book is not clear for me. I don't want to wind myself up again and start spiraling. I also do not want to confess sins that I am not actually guilty of, out of my strong tendency to find severe fault in myself.

Any help would be appreciated. But I do hope for kind help, not condemnation or blame. I can do that well enough on my own, and I really need to know how to do this right. I find myself longing for the relief of the confessional, and inside I feel like a sinful mess, but I do not know how to properly examine my conscience without my emotional baggage getting in the way. Oh, and I should also mention, I have only been Catholic since Easter 2010, but I am a 30ish woman. Thanks so much. :o

[/quote]

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#31

[quote="St_Hilary, post:30, topic:311718"]

[/quote]

 dON'T EVER BE afraid of confession.  The priest iisi trained to hear anything and what you tel;l hikm I can assure you he has heard it previously,

when in confession, God the Holy Spirit is also their.

If you do not know what to confess, ask Father to help you and he will doo the rest. But never be afraid of going to Christ for forgiveness. As for your children, leave them with your relatives or leave them in church.

God bless you now

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#32

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:311718"]
How do I prepare myself for confession now?

I stopped going regularly because I was becoming distraught and emotionally unstable, seeing sin in my every action. I had been through a rough time, experiencing a miscarriage and emotional abuse at the hands of a close relative and rapid change of circumstances, and I supposed I was struggling with depression.
So, I stopped going.

[/quote]

Just tell him what you said above. Write it down if you have to. Trust Jesus and go to confession. Write down any major sins, venial are taken care of at Mass. Have you been going to Mass? So, if you have, you aren't seriously worried about mortal sin, anyway.

Besides, you are only required to go once a year. So go, you haven't done anything wrong. Then come tell us how it was.

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#33

Much has been written, so I'll only add a little bit.

Go to Confession regardless. It may help greatly if you can find either a deacon or lay minister with a background in counseling to talk with first - they're often prepared to help penitents like yourself to understand both the sin and the grace in their lives. Please don't let this keep you away from the forgiveness that Christ provides through His holy priests.

Also, consider talking to someone on a regular basis to help you with all that you struggle with. I think your spiritual life is only one area where the emotional abuse you suffered is causing you difficulty - you owe yourself what you need to heal.

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#34

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:32, topic:311718"]
Just tell him what you said above. Write it down if you have to. Trust Jesus and go to confession. Write down any major sins, venial are taken care of at Mass. Have you been going to Mass? So, if you have, you aren't seriously worried about mortal sin, anyway.

Besides, you are only required to go once a year. So go, you haven't done anything wrong. Then come tell us how it was.

[/quote]

I have been going to Mass. I love being at Mass. It gives me so much peace and consolation. It feels like a foretaste of heaven some times, just like when I am cuddling with my children or snuggling with my husband.

I have gone through the EOC for mortal AND venial sins. I am not certain of any mortal sins, but my tendency to worry or be paranoid or neurotic sometimes gets the better of me. But I want to reject paranoia and neuroses, so oftentimes I just try to dismiss those feelings as not given to me by Christ, and then carry on. But then I will fear that I am deluding myself and justifying myself. And so the vicious cycle continues. :blush::shrug:

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#35

I am a female, a convert from Protestantism, and have been told often that I imagine sins in myself. I also tend to think everything is my fault and spent many years manipulated and abused.

Feel free to PM me if you need to talk!

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#36

[quote="mommamaree, post:34, topic:311718"]
I have been going to Mass. I love being at Mass. It gives me so much peace and consolation. It feels like a foretaste of heaven some times, just like when I am cuddling with my children or snuggling with my husband.

I have gone through the EOC for mortal AND venial sins. I am not certain of any mortal sins, but my tendency to worry or be paranoid or neurotic sometimes gets the better of me. But I want to reject paranoia and neuroses, so oftentimes I just try to dismiss those feelings as not given to me by Christ, and then carry on. But then I will fear that I am deluding myself and justifying myself. And so the vicious cycle continues. :blush::shrug:

[/quote]

I get it. I had the opportunity to live with my adult daughter for almost ten years as she traveled around the country from one job to another before she settled down and bought a house. During that time, being as she was an adult and already knew I was nuts, I finally had someone I could trust and one day told her I was going to start using her judgement because I couldn't trust my own.

When the crazy thoughts would come, (the ones we are so sure are right) I'd say, "Okay, this is what I am thinking, tell me if any of it makes sense or it's all all nuts or what." And she would. I chose to use her sanity to define what I would believe about what I believed.

You have a priest to do this with. First, you have to choose to trust a priest to do this. Then, when you think you may have sinned, write it down. Then be done with it: you have made note of it and will deal with it in confession. Go to confession weekly, read the list or give it to him and let him decide. But the big choice is trusting his judgement and deciding, no matter what thoughts come later or how you feel, that you have rationally decided to put your judgement aside and use his.

Tell him what you are doing and why - briefly - "Hi, I'm a bit crazy and not sure what is a sin sometimes, so I have a list. Would you like to read it or should I?"

This will get easier when you are older, depending on the type of abuse and depth of your PTSD. One more thing - when the bad thoughts come, say a mental prayer in response. Teach this to yourself, any simple prayer - "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy." is a fave of mine. Our Father, a Hail Mary, just have a prayer you say and say it mentally or aloud.

Things are scarier for us. You want to be able to look up every single thing and have a rule or law or something... not gonna happen. Give it to the Church through Reconciliation. You will sin. All your life. God knows your heart - He knows your intent to love Him and to not sin - that's what He cares about.

Remember that sinner on the cross near Jesus who told the other thief to shut up because Jesus was free of sin and Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise?" That sinner didn't confess every single thing he ever did, he just knew Jesus and defended Him in the way he could. And Jesus took him to Heaven.

Don't you think He will do that for you? Trust in Divine Mercy.

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#37

Julia Mae's post above is excellent, but I would reiterate, mommamaree, that if you feel the need to chat more thoroughly, PM me. I know what it is like to convert, and I know what it is like to have no one whom you can ask.

Let's just say that my parents are Protestant missionaries, and our conversion was not ... well-received.

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#38

Upppp................. cho b?n

S?a máy tÃnh t?i nhà giá 30.000d ch? có t?i suamaytinh115.com/

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#39

[quote="mommamaree, post:12, topic:311718"]
See, this is one of my questions.

How do I found out if something is sinful or not, if the very nature of the thing in question is explicit?

Here at CAF, people's opinions are shared at the same time as statements from moral theology textbooks (like the kind priests use to give counsel in confession). If the textbook quote says one thing, but posters say that the theologian (Jone, I think) was wrong, and that certain intimate actions during the course of the marital act are morally repugnant and sinful, how do I properly form my conscience?
I cannot do a Google search. (That would turn up some dangerous links)
I cannot talk to another Catholic.
I cannot find a book that clears up the confusion I have (he says things are permissable, she says things are evil)
I am terrified to ask a priest about these matters, because the questions would need to be explicit.

So what in the world can I do?

I have some other serious concerns, too. Questions about anger and pride and lust. My RCIA journey seemed so short and I had no instruction on these kinds of things. Looking back I think my First Confession might have been full of things that did not need to be confessed, because I became hyper-paranoid about sin.

[/quote]

In this area, and for specific information about intimate and Marital relations I would go First to the Catechism. If that did not answer my question directly I would consider looking to
"The Theology of the Body".
teh summary by Chris West that is often quoted in this forum is a good guide to the "Theology of the Body", but it is one lay man's interpretation of a much greater work.
amazon.com/Theology-Body-Beginners-Christopher-West/dp/1932645349/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358535276&sr=1-1&keywords=theology+of+the+body+chris+west
There are many other texts with similar titles also based on the same work by the Holy Father.

The original is a series of lectures given by the late Blessed Pope J.P.II (The Great). He was Pope at the time he gave these lectures, and he gave them in his capacity as the Bishop of Rome. They are about as authoritative a source as one can get without having an ex-cathedral pronouncement on an issue. (I.e. they're not considered infallible, but I would think only an infallible statement by the Magisterium or a subsequent Pope could rule them incorrect).

If He says this / she says that includes books on the Theology of the Body, I would advise you to go straight to the original source.
These are the General Audiences given on Wednesdays by His Holiness from 5 Sept. 1979 until 28 November 1984.
Here's links on EWTN
ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tbind.htm

And here's the index on the Vatican Website (includes other audiences)
vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/index.htm

_____________________-
My Opinion:
In marital intimacy: I believe the general guidline is:
Sodomy is forbidden in the Bible - in many places in both old and new testament.
Other than that Sexual relations must be
Open to Life
Based on mutual Self Giving Love

This means that most forms of intimacy are fine provided you "finish in the right way" (or at least intend to... you cant commit mortal sin by accident)

In particular, it is right and good for a husband to ensure that his wife is able to properly enjoy marital relations, and recieve satisfication from the encounters. It is not an act of Love for a man to habitually "Get himself off" with no thought for his wife's pleasure, which is an integral part of the Gift of Sex.
Of course that works both ways.... but it's a far easier sin for the man to commit than the woman.


Point 2
When theologans differ in their opinion, and the church has not ruled definitively on an issue, then it *is* an area where your own conscience is a deciding factor on the morality of the issue-: Providing you have a reasonably educated conscience.

For most people a degree in moral theology, or an equivalent amount of study into the subject is far beyond the necessary criteria for "Reasonably Educated"


Don't beat yourself up on these issues.! Love God first of all. (Then Love your Husband, as you have Sworn to Before God. Then Love your Children as their Mother.) Then Love your Neighbour as Yourself.
If you put this as your leading criteria, you will not go far wrong. All the rest of defined morality are guidelines on how to fulfill the First and Second commandment from this list of 2!

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closed #40
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