The Dim-Post

March 26, 2010

Humanae Vitae

Filed under: religion — danylmc @ 11:46 am

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

I wonder if the Church’s transformation from a moral and spiritual authority into an organisation devoted to fucking as many young children as possible is a recent development, or if the clergy has always rolled like this and these revelations have only become possible due to diminishment of the Church’s authority over the last century.

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52 Comments »

  1. I suspect the latter, but it’d be interesting to see how much of it is opportunism. There are some eastern rite denominations that don’t enforce celibacy and my hunch (with no evidence) is that abuse rates would be lower in those cases. As the cringe-inducing South Park episode pointed out, if they can’t screw kids, catholic priests generally get no sex at all!

    Comment by Eddie C — March 26, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  2. “As the cringe-inducing South Park episode pointed out, if they can’t screw kids, catholic priests generally get no sex at all!”

    why would that be the case? surely there are respectable married men who have sexual fetishes about Catholic priests?

    Comment by kahikatea — March 26, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  3. Kahikatea, and women. But I think part of the point of the attraction is that they (the priests) can’t.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 26, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  4. “Kahikatea, and women. But I think part of the point of the attraction is that they (the priests) can’t.”

    no, they’re just not allowed to. There is a difference.

    Comment by kahikatea — March 26, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  5. “Kahikatea, and women. But I think part of the point of the attraction is that they (the priests) can’t.”

    They can and they did.

    Anyone with Catholics in their family will tell tales about the old days, when the priest would leave his hat outside the door of a house he was visiting, so that locals knew not to disturb him… because what he was doing was “attending” to a local married woman. And tales about how at least one of the 8 children in every Irish Catholic family was fathered by the local priest.

    It’s not just the kiddies – the women were “obliged” to consent, too.

    Comment by MollyByGolly — March 26, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  6. “no, they’re just not allowed to”

    I wonder how much of that fact explains the widespread pathologies – repression leads to some very f**ked up results – witness the almost comical number of secretly gay anti-gay politicians, especially in the US.

    And btw, this is the article I was reading on eastern catholics:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/world/europe/23ukraine.html

    Comment by Eddie C — March 26, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  7. Well, the report in Ireland went back to 1930, and that’s probably the oldest living. So must have gone on before that. But for how long is hard to say. Surely it this had happened at Reformation times, we would have known about it. But possibly they didn’t run schools with young boys who were not very wealthy.

    So I suspect that the start is when they ran schools for young boys coming from families with no political cloud, so probably 18th century?

    Comment by Berend de Boer — March 26, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  8. I mean a cultural ‘can’t’, not the actual material kind.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 26, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  9. This behaviour has been happening for ever, aided and abetted by the kind of secrecy encouraged by the pope in the past.

    They do not have the ways and means to get this right. The pope could resign, who could credibly succeed him?

    This is an unwinding of narcissism and an obsolete hierarchical system of buck-passing.

    Comment by Arts — March 26, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  10. I don’t know if any of these have been sainted – but look up the ’10 worst popes in history’ for tales of rape, incest, bestiality, and naked little boys jumping out of cakes.

    Comment by pkiwi — March 26, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

  11. They need to remove themselves entirely from the sphere of education and any role in loco parentis. On the subject of priestly misdeeds, celibacy wasn’t always demanded by the church. It came in to prevent claims on church property fomr the widows and children of deceased priests. And then there are the good Irish names McTaggart (Mac an tSagairt) and McAnespie (Mac an Easpaigh) which translate as “son of the priest” and “son of the bishop” respectively…

    Comment by bearhunter — March 26, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  12. But possibly they didn’t run schools with young boys who were not very wealthy.

    Parish schools run by the local priest go back till at least Charlemagne. Its just that until very recently, you simply couldn’t accuse a priest of such a crime.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant — March 26, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  13. The argument that Priests abuse children because they are forced to be celibate is pretty stupid; the argument that priests abuse children because the church turns a blind eye to it is pretty sound. this issue is not about celibacy but about the willingness of the Church to ignore and even implicitly condone (by refusing to defrock abusers) these actions.

    Comment by Philonz — March 26, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  14. I’m interested in the basis for you calling the celibacy argument “stupid”. As I said, I don’t have any evidence for that, but in general repression has been shown to do very odd things to people’s psyche’s.

    I absolutely agree that implicitly condoning abuse is also a huge part of it.

    Comment by Eddie C — March 26, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  15. One of the worst aspects of the cases in Ireland was that is was actively covered up not just by the church but also by the Gardai (police) and the government. That was what a stranglehold it had on the country.

    Comment by max — March 26, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  16. As you might have expected, Andrew Sullivan has pretty strong feelings about the whole thing:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/sin-or-crime.html

    Comment by danylmc — March 26, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  17. And as someone in ireland said when I was over there with regards to the recession: “At least in older times we had the church to put our faith in, now we have nothing.”

    Comment by max — March 26, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  18. I’m frantically searching for a study I read a while ago that looked at links between celibacy and sexual abuse and found no correlation. I’ll post it if I find it. From memory it showed that there was an equal prevalence of child abusers in the priesthood and out of it. It is that fact that the church abusers are allowed to abuse on such a massive scale that is so apalling.

    Where I would assume celibacy could an effect is in its limiting of access to the Church. By that I mean that only a certain type of bloke would agree to be celibate and this might include child abusers but that celibacy itself does not “cause” the abuse. I just think that there is very little proof of this link but there is a stack of evidence of massive cover-ups. This is the systematic failure that needs to be adressed urgently.

    Comment by Philonz — March 26, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  19. Perhaps a lifestyle of enforced celibacy attracts a sexually immature type of person, maybe one inlcined towards strange sexual behaviour such as paedophilia?

    Comment by nfpsheppard — March 26, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  20. only a certain type of bloke would agree to be celibate and this might include child abusers

    It might also include train enthusiasts, puppy walkers and people with names ending in Y, but being celibate wouldn’t make the occurance of any of these traits more likely.

    How about opening your mind a bit? You may not be able to envision a life of celibacy, but others who can shouldn’t automatically be considered odd or potentially dangerous.

    Comment by Ataahua — March 26, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

  21. Scratch that last comment – I’ve re-read your paragraph and see that we largely agree on this point Philonz.

    Comment by Ataahua — March 26, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  22. Many centuries ago, priests who molested children were handed over to the civil authorities for punishment. The punishment was death. How many of you liberals would have the stomach for that sort sentence?

    Quite happy to murder babies in the womb, but go all wobbly-kneed at the thought of execution for sex crimes.

    I would happily endorse the automatic execution of any person who molested a pre-pubescent child.

    MollyByGolly,

    Your comments are just so off the mark, it’s not funny.

    I come from a Catholic family, and there is no way any of that went on.

    Where do you get your history from – Monty Python?

    Mr Dim.

    The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement noting that the Murphy case had only reached the Vatican in 1996 — some 20 years after the diocese first learned of the allegations. He also said Murphy died two years later — in 1998 — and that there was nothing in the church’s handling of the matter that precluded any civil action from being taken against him.

    In fact, police did investigate the allegations at the time and never proceeded with a case, Lombardi noted. He said in the statement that a lack of more recent allegations was a factor in the decision not to defrock Murphy and noted that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.”

    Maybe there wasn’t enough evidence? Who knows.

    Murphy worked at the former St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis from 1950 to 1975. His alleged victims were not limited to the deaf boys’ school. Donald Marshall, 45, of West Allis, Wisconsin, said he was abused by Murphy when he was a teenager at the Lincoln Hills School, a juvenile detention center in Irma in northern Wisconsin.

    Or maybe many of those molested were teenagers, and it was more a case of predatory homosexuality against those mostly around the age of consent.

    I don’t know, and … neither do you. Because all the article says is that one boy was molested from the age of 12. I have a 13 year old boy (who acts sometimes like a child, but most of the time like a young adult), and quite honestly I would rip the head of any man that touched him inappropriately, but, it’s a different matter when we are talking 12 year olds in comparison to say 9 year olds or less.

    In NZ, there have been many cases of girls aged 12 or so who have become pregnant to much older men – no one gets prosecuted.

    Nia Glassie was murdered by a young man who first became the “partner” of her mother when he was 13.

    At no point have I heard any mention of a prosecution against the mother for corrupting a 13 year old boy.

    Neither have I seen you go all spittle flecked at the lack of a justice system for those that molest children in NZ.

    It’s not the Church that wants to have sex with children – it’s perverts who get themselves into positions where they have access to children, and then normal, every day people who don’t deal with the crime appropriately.

    So how about it? Do you think those that have sex with children should be executed? How about those that have sex with 12 year olds? Rather than just looking the other way, like we do in NZ, all the time, let’s get serious about this.

    Or are you all just hot air, quite happy to attack the Church, but when it’s closer to home, your lips are sealed and it’s all ok?

    Comment by Lucia Maria — March 26, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  23. I believe celibate positions in the Catholic Church also attracted a lot of homosexuals. And this wasn’t for any dodgy reason – it was because homosexual catholics were already prohibited from having sex with the people they wanted to have sex with, so a vow of celibacy didn’t seem onerous, and even provided a socially acceptable excuse not to get married.

    Comment by kahikatea — March 26, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  24. Idiot/Savant: Parish schools run by the local priest go back till at least Charlemagne. Its just that until very recently, you simply couldn’t accuse a priest of such a crime.

    I offered two arguments, which you might have missed:

    1. If this was common during Reformation times, it certainly would have been mentioned.

    2. Pupils who attended school had power/political cloud.

    I think the priest in your Charlemagne parish school was probably still married. And I doubt everyone attended, only those who could be spared.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — March 26, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  25. “I’m interested in the basis for you calling the celibacy argument “stupid”. As I said, I don’t have any evidence for that, but in general repression has been shown to do very odd things to people’s psyche’s.

    I absolutely agree that implicitly condoning abuse is also a huge part of it.”

    another possible argument is that priests got away with it because they were of sufficiently high status to be above suspicion. A similar thing happened recently with rapists in the Rotorua police force.

    Comment by kahikatea — March 26, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  26. Lucia, please: It’s not the Church that wants to have sex with children – it’s perverts who get themselves into positions where they have access to children, and then normal, every day people who don’t deal with the crime appropriately.

    Right. And the church did all it could to protect the molesters and nothing to protect the children. That’s the fact. Maybe you should do some reading about what went on in Ireland? And what has happened all over the world? You really think your church did care?

    I think your attitude is exactly the attitude of the church: protect the church, and move the molester around, don’t raise the alarm, that would harm the church. And so it continued.

    Lucy, 15,000 children in Ireland were molested in one way or another. And we’re not talking about a smack here. Have you ever read up on how the church handled these cases, and treated the children that complained? The church was complicit to its core.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — March 26, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  27. If this was common during Reformation times, it certainly would have been mentioned.

    This seems like a pretty good point. Today the Catholic clergy is synonymous with child abuse – if that had been the case in the 16th century it seems like the kind of thing Calvin or Knox would have raised.

    On the other hand, allegations of child abuse were what did for the Templars in the end . . .

    Comment by danylmc — March 26, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  28. Lucia, I went and read some of your posts on this topic on your blog. They’re as utterly silly as your post here. By all means be an apologist for child molesters if you want to, but I’d thank you not to do magical handwaves that suggest we are doing so.

    Your argument appears to be “This post and comment thread are about abuse in the catholic church, when I want you to talk about executing non-priest abusers. Therefore you are all hypocrites.” This is Danyl’s place and I can’t speak for him but really, you should just go away.

    Comment by Eddie C — March 26, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  29. Lucia, you are crazy. No one is arguing that the “Church wants to have sex with children” just that they have systematically covered the abuses by their priests. This has now pretty much destroyed any moral authority that the church once had. It also has the unfortunate effect of overshadowing much of the fine work many priests do in their communities.

    Comment by Philonz — March 26, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  30. The Church is not alone in this attitude. I recall a UK judge commenting on the case of the Guildford Four (supposed IRA bombers whose convictions were overturned). The judge said at the time that he did not think the convictions should be overturned because it would bring the justice system into disrepute. I can’t find a reference to this on the net but I remember it well, it was a shocking thing to say. But if people like that judge thought like that then it is not surprising that others think preserving the reputation of the Church (instead of reporting crimes) is more important. I worry what other things people are happy to cover up to preserve the reputations of institutions.

    Comment by Roger Parkinson — March 26, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  31. Roger, a single judge does not a church make.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — March 26, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  32. Kahikatea says:

    ‘ I believe celibate positions in the Catholic Church also attracted a lot of homosexuals. And this wasn’t for any dodgy reason – it was because homosexual catholics were already prohibited from having sex with the people they wanted to have sex with, so a vow of celibacy didn’t seem onerous, and even provided a socially acceptable excuse not to get married.’

    This would be the obvious reason why same-sex abuse outnumbers opposite sex abuse (for priests) by a ratio of at least 4:1.

    The irony is that the Roman Catholic Church has been roundly condemning homosexuality for years – while providing such an obvious haven for these same people.

    The right strategy from here is for the Roman Catholic Church to RECOGNISE homosexuality as normal for homosexuals, so that all these gay priests can function openly as gay. And celibacy needs to be scrapped PDQ~!

    Comment by Arts — March 26, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  33. The right strategy from here is for the Roman Catholic Church to RECOGNISE homosexuality as normal for homosexuals, so that all these gay priests can function openly as gay. And celibacy needs to be scrapped PDQ~

    Unfortunately, as this whole mess has shown, what a reasonable person might think is right has no relation to what the Catholic Church think’s is right.

    Comment by Richard — March 26, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  34. Philonz,

    Lucia, you are crazy. No one is arguing that the “Church wants to have sex with children” just that they have systematically covered the abuses by their priests.

    Read Dim’s post again. I won’t repeat what he said, but it’s pretty clear this is what his blog post is arguing. Whether sarcastically or not.

    Berend,

    I think your attitude is exactly the attitude of the church: protect the church, and move the molester around, don’t raise the alarm, that would harm the church. And so it continued.

    No. Obviously you didn’t read my comment. I want child molesters EXECUTED. That way they will never put any future children at risk again.

    I think the priest in your Charlemagne parish school was probably still married.

    Yes, he could have been. However, before he became a priest, his wife had to agree, and when he got his Holy Orders, he and his wife had to live as brother and sister, if they lived together at all. That has been the practise of the Church from the beginning.

    Eddie C

    Your argument appears to be “This post and comment thread are about abuse in the catholic church, when I want you to talk about executing non-priest abusers. Therefore you are all hypocrites.” This is Danyl’s place and I can’t speak for him but really, you should just go away.

    Making you uncomfortable, am I? Danyl and I go back a while. If he wants me to “go away”, he can tell me himself.

    I’m happy for priests who have been found to be child molesters executed as well. In fact, I open my post with the strange concept that in times gone by, priests who were found guilty of sex crimes against children were handed over by the Church to the authorities to be executed.

    Defrocking is pretty close to the highest penalty the Church can impose against a priest. Not sure if excommunication is worse or not. Probably not. And here you all are, arguing that the Church should have imposed her highest penalty in this case (that you know very little about), and yet … the highest penalty the state can impose, death, causes very close to the vapours.

    Comment by Lucia Maria — March 26, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  35. Hmmm…. Lucia’s Catholic upbringing seems to have skipped over the ‘Thou shalt not kill’ bits of the Bible and focussed on the enthusiastic slaughter bits.

    Comment by Richard — March 26, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  36. not sure you want to boil paedophilia down to “repressed homosexuality”. the two predilections are completely different. one is guys who like to sleep with guys, the other is guys who like to sleep with boys.

    and yup, paedophilia is rife within the catholic church. it’s more likely to be because of a permissive attitude to pederasty than anything else.

    Comment by Che Tibby — March 26, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  37. And here you all are, arguing that the Church should have imposed her highest penalty in this case (that you know very little about), and yet … the highest penalty the state can impose, death, causes very close to the vapours.

    Wusses. The merest whiff of a decent auto de fé has you puking like a pack of freshly violated altar boys.

    Comment by Joe W — March 26, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  38. Lucia: that has been the practise of the Church from the beginning.

    You don’t know history Lucia. And on the beginning: Peter was married for example. Jesus had sisters and brothers. And Paul writes: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” But of course, that’s only the Bible saying it.

    And you can’t hide behind that you want child molesters executed, that’s just a very childish defence. The issue is not that the catholic church had child molesters, the issue is that they didn’t prosecute them. I suppose they had bought an indulgence.

    Are you saying that because they could not be executed, the church’s hands were bound? You’re evading the real issue Lucia, just like your church.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — March 26, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  39. Are you saying that because they could not be executed, the church’s hands were bound?

    Seems to be something like that. It’s definitely the fault of the liberals and secular authorities anyway. The church is well known for taking it’s lead from these two groups, so it’s quite shameful for these groups to question the church’s actions. If the secular authorities still had the death penalty for these offences, the church would of cooperated. But they did away with it, which confused the poor church and forced it into covering up the offences and moving the offenders on to green pastures.

    This is called ‘serious moral thinking’ which is the result of having a ‘properly informed conscience’. Also, ‘psychological dissonance’.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 26, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  40. “Making you uncomfortable, am I?”

    No.

    Comment by Eddie C — March 26, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  41. And here you all are, arguing that the Church should have imposed her highest penalty in this case (that you know very little about), and yet … the highest penalty the state can impose, death, causes very close to the vapours.

    Seems to me the Church could find a practical middle ground between executing people and doing nothing while their priests continue to rape children.

    Comment by danylmc — March 27, 2010 @ 5:53 am

  42. Danyl,

    You need to brush up on your Revelation, mate … “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 27, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  43. Danyl,

    Seems to me the Church could find a practical middle ground between executing people and doing nothing while their priests continue to rape children.

    All cases of abuse of children by priests have to be reported to the Vatican now. It used to be that the Bishop could just sit on the case, if he were that way inclined. But no more, with changes instituted by the current pope back in 2001, that’s not the case. The statutes of limitation has been increased and can be waived for each individuality case. Defrocking is much easier to do, not like in the past which the case you link to refers to.

    Also, after pleading for the canonical trial against him to be dropped, the priest in question died 4 months later without any other incident.

    Berend,

    You don’t know history Lucia. And on the beginning: Peter was married for example. Jesus had sisters and brothers. And Paul writes: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” But of course, that’s only the Bible saying it.

    Yes, Peter was married. However, after he became a priest he would have practised continence, ie lived as brother and sister with his wife, if her lived with her at all.

    Jesus did not have full blood brothers and sisters. Mary was a perpetual virgin, and the mistaken idea that Jesus had siblings is based on the lack of a specific word for cousin. See Brethren of the Lord.

    Paul’s words actually mean that the Bishop cannot have been married more than once, as this would mean that he would not be able to practise continence.

    Are you saying that because they could not be executed, the church’s hands were bound?

    No. There were a series of problems with dealing with these types of monsters. It ranged from criminal to just not quite knowing what they were dealing with. Many of these problems have since been fixed. Danyl has pointed out a case that is an old case that has only been dredged up to directly try to implicate the current pope.

    Comment by Lucia Maria — March 27, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  44. “All cases of abuse of children by priests have to be reported to the Vatican now.”

    Phew. Stand easy folks. Papa has things under control. He’ll write a sternish letter or two and forgive those children for tempting the poor priests into sin.

    “Mary was a perpetual virgin…”

    And people call Catholics crazy! Outrageous.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — March 27, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  45. Lucia,

    Word to the apparently not so wise. If trapped in a hole, stop digging.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 27, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  46. All cases of abuse of children by priests have to be reported to the Vatican now. It used to be that the Bishop could just sit on the case, if he were that way inclined.

    And this organisation claims to be infallible on moral issues because it is the sole agent of an omnipotent and all knowing god for the last 2,000 years, but has only just worked allowing children to be raped is more important than avoiding scandal? Clearly this is an organisation that has a ridiculously unreasonable view of its ability to provide moral and ethical guidance.

    As today, where the Catholic Church has voiced its view on the disabled woman currently starving herself to death, it seems reasonable to approach their pronouncements with the response, “What on earth would you know, your history on moral, ethical and scientific issues is appalling.”

    Comment by Richard — March 27, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  47. It used to be that the Bishop could just sit on the case, if he were that way inclined.

    And the ‘statutes of limitations’. And the ‘going to be dead’ soon clause.

    Not to sure how this fits in with this Pope’s statements about moral relativism being wooly headed nonsense up with which the church universal would not put. But he’s a hard thinking brainiac the church tells us, so I’m sure it’s all very clear to himself.

    As far as I’m concerned they’ve made their decisions, and they can be judged on them against people’s consciences. Just like anyone else.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 27, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  48. All cases of abuse of children by priests have to be reported to the Vatican now.

    Right, that`ll work. Lucia, I suggest you stop defending the indefensible, and get your head out of the sand.

    Comment by dave — March 27, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  49. “Also, after pleading for the canonical trial against him to be dropped, the priest in question died 4 months later without any other incident” So let’s apply a bit of Immanuel Kant. Could we make that a general rule for everybody to follow in cases of criminal conduct? I don’t think so.

    But I think Richard and Pascal’s bookie say it all really – the real point of this scandal is that it destroy’s the Catholic Church’s carefully cultivated claims of doctrinal infallibility and moral absolutism.

    Comment by vibenna — March 27, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  50. “it destroy’s the Catholic Church’s carefully cultivated claims of doctrinal infallibility and moral absolutism.”

    unless the doctrine is actually pederasty, and said same is morally defensible.

    in which case we’re all through the looking glass.

    Comment by Che Tibby — March 27, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  51. The Roman Catholic Church is in complete disarray.

    Report all cases to the Vatican? Is that supposed to be a joke? Where did that get anyone in the past.

    The chief octagenarian in the Vatican is under unfair pressure. Pension him off to a retirement village I say. Who to replace him – well there is the dilemma! You need demonstrable clean hands!

    Comment by Arts — March 28, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  52. “In fact, I open my post with the strange concept that in times gone by, priests who were found guilty of sex crimes against children were handed over by the Church to the authorities to be executed…”

    Which is precisely what the Church signally failed to do in Ireland, Lucia.

    Comment by bearhunter — March 29, 2010 @ 8:40 am


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