Catholicism and Freemasonry

Ray Sullivan

Way back in 1738, Pope Clement XII wrote an encyclical, In Eminenti, banning Catholics from joining the Freemasons.  Catholics are still forbidden from joining the Freemasons. Let’s take a look at why Pope Clement’s prohibition on Catholics becoming Freemasons still stands today, some 276 years later.


For some historical background, the modern Freemasons were founded in 1717, in London.  They claim that their heritage includes goes all the way back to the Egyptian pyramid makers and the Crusaders.   There have been, and are, many fine men who have become Freemasons. For instance, George Washington, Davy Crockett, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman were all known Freemasons.   As most Freemasons, they were pillars of their communities and huge successes in politics. But joining a Grand Lodge entails more than being a mover and a shaker at city hall, in Washington, or in business.  The Freemasons will accept people from any religion, and will never dictate to them what religion they should be. Masonic Lodges therefore become “evangelism-free zones” for Christians. Let’s see what it takes to join the Freemasons.

The Oath

Catholics are forbidden from swearing frivolous oaths on the Bible. The initiation oath of the Freemasons includes swearing to God on the Bible (if the novice is Christian) that you wish to be disemboweled if you dare to reveal their secrets, or fail to live your life according to the Masonic teachings.  This oath is administered to the novice while he is stripped down to his underwear, wearing a hoodwink (blindfold), and with a rope around his neck, all the while kneeling before someone called “The “Worshipful Master.” So here we violate two scriptures:

James 5:12: But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.*

Matthew 5:33-37:   “Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

This oath is taken in front of the place of sacrifice in the Masonic lodge known as an altar, with the novice’s hand on the Bible (if he is Christian). The oath goes something like this:

“I am worthy “Of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out and with my body buried in the sands of the sea” “Of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked out and placed on the highest pinnacle of the temple” “Of having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence and burned to ashes, the ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven” and, “Of having my eyeballs pierced to the center with a three-inch blade, my feet flayed, and forced to walk the hot sands of the sterile shores of the Red Sea.”

Now that’s a pretty gruesome oath to ask God to carry out, to say the least.  It should be noted here that the word “oath” is English for the Latin word “sacrament.”

Salvation without Christ

There are other problems with Freemasonry which are anti-Catholic as well.   The first one is indifferentism, the belief that all religions are equal.  As a result of this, Freemasons worship and bow down to something called “the grand architect of the universe “(never Jesus or Yahweh or the Holy Spirit). Jesus suffered mightily to reveal His Name and Truth to us, and to use some other made-up name and some other way to salvation is quite insulting, I believe. Freemasonry tells you after taking your oath that you have come out of the darkness into the “light.” The light of Freemasonry is all of the hidden knowledge (Gnosticism, anyone?) that they promise to let you in on later as you advance in their 32 degrees.  For Christians, the Light of the World is Jesus Christ, not arcane mumbo-jumbo that twists one’s mind away from the revealed truths of sacred scripture.  The Freemasons came along at the same time as the period in history known as “The Enlightenment,” and they embody a lot of the same kind of thinking in their belief system – “Rationalism and science good, Catholicism bad.”


The Freemasons borrow from all religions it seems – they have Temples (Judaism), lots of symbols (Catholicism), the crescent moon/scimitar on their fez (Islam), and the All Seeing Eye (Deism).  This blending together of all different religions is the second problem with Freemasonry, syncretism. Syncretism is defined as the deliberate blending of different beliefs or practices, without regard to their compatibility with Christian truth.

The Masonic Way to Heaven

By teaching all of this mish-mash, Freemasonry says that:

“If you imitate the good man in his virtuous and amiable conduct, in his unfeigned piety to God; in his inflexible fidelity to his trust; that you may welcome the grim tyrant Death, and receive him as a kind messenger sent from the Supreme Grand Master, to translate you from this imperfect to that all-perfect, glorious and celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the universe presides.”

All of this sure sounds like an alternate religion to Catholicism, based on good works and being a good citizen. Those two things are good, for sure, but Freemasonry has no Jesus Christ, no baptism, no Eucharist.  In spite of lacking these Catholic essentials for salvation, heaven (the glorious and celestial Lodge above) awaits you if you are a good Freemason.

Masonic Resurrection Ceremony

A huge problem with Freemasonry, over and above what has already been discussed, is the legend of Hiram Abif, a supposed Egyptian stonemason who helped build Solomon’s Temple.  The initiate learns about old Hiram, while wearing the hoodwink, when he is attaining the third degree of Freemasonry. The initiate and others play act a scene where the initiate becomes Hiram Abif, who knows all of the Masonic “secrets,” and refuses to disclose them to three ruffians known as Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum. As a result of keeping the secrets, these three hoodlums then proceed to bonk Hiram on his head with a padded mallet, killing him.  They catch his lifeless body in a sack, and go and bury him.  The Worshipful Master, who is playing the part of King Solomon, then asks his staff where Hiram is. They go to find him, discovering that he is dead. King Solomon goes to the grave, cries out in horror, and then prays for Hiram’s everlasting salvation.  Hiram then comes back to life, and is raised up from the dead by the Worshipful Master’s masonic grip.  So, we see here that Masons believe in the resurrection of the dead, without Jesus Christ. This ceremony mocks Jesus in the worst way.  Every Catholic should be repulsed by this.

Behind Closed Doors

However, secrets (that can’t even be discussed during the Sacrament of Confession), syncretism, indifferentism, a promise of heaven with no Jesus, and a Savior-mocking resurrection ceremony aren’t the only problems with Freemasonry.  In most towns in America, Freemasons from the fields of politics, business, journalism, law, real estate, medicine, etc., meet monthly or more behind closed doors in their windowless lodges and temples. What exactly is being discussed secretly behind those locks?  Everyone inside is sworn to secrecy.  Does money change hands between businessmen and politicians to get the right vote?  Does privileged information about where the new highway is going in get passed on from the politicians to the real estate people?  Is there a hidden agenda going to be promoted in the newspapers to prepare the unknowing masses for something new coming up, like acceptance of homosexuality and / or abortion?  Those of us who are not Freemasons will likely never know.


Don’t ever try arguing any of this with a Freemason, as they have been trained in the art of denial and obfuscation to defend themselves.   “We are religious, but not a religion,” they will say.  Huh?  When you quote what a former freemason said, like in this article, they will say, “No one person speaks for Freemasonry.”  Then you should say, “Then neither do you,” and walk away.

For the record, in 1983, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed up by Cardinal Ratzinger, said the following:

“The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.”

So, if you are a Catholic and a Freemason, you need to decide exactly which way you prefer trying to attain heaven – The true way in the Catholic Church, or the false way in Freemasonry. You can’t do both.

For additional information, check out the source book for this article, “Why Catholics Cannot be Masons.”

∞  ∞  ∞

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66 thoughts on “Catholicism and Freemasonry”

  1. Pingback: Breaking Masonry News - ...20 years of Freemasons News Items... « Freemasonry Watch - Blog

  2. Pingback: Breaking Masonry News - ...20 years of Freemasonry News Items « Freemasonry Watch - Blog

  3. Do not fall to the cunning trap of the devil. Freemasonry is Luciferian. Their god is Satan, make no mistake, if that your choice you are already drinking the cup of God’s wrath. Hell is your destination. Please read the Book of Revelation.

  4. Have you ever noticed that the anti Masonic authors whom have never been Masons themselves know more about the inner working of Masonry than the millions of Masons themselves?

    1. It’s in the same category that my OB/Gyn knows more about the course of a pregnancy than millions of mothers, even though he’s (obviously) never had one himself.

  5. This is what Pope Leo XIII said about the Free-Masons:
    “Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship, with anyone suspected
    of belonging to masonry, or to affiliated groups. Know them by their
    fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only
    with those impious libertines, who openly promote the character of the
    sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal
    tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the
    maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to
    reconcile Christ and Belial; the Church of God and the state without

    (Encyclical of Leo XIII promulgated on December 8, 1892. – CUSTODI DI QUELLA FEDE par. 15)
    If other Popes since then have been equally strong against this cult the RCC would not be in its present crisis.

  6. Patti Maguire Armstrong

    Thanks for the excellent article. I have a sibling and friend whose husbands had fathers that were Masons. My sister’s husband converted to Catholicism and later destroyed his masonic ring at her request. The rituals and secrecy alone are red flags. Taking oaths never to reveal what goes on is pretty good evidence that something must be wrong with what goes on. It’s not like we are talking about a little boys club with secret passwords and handshakes but rather grown men with big secrets to hide.

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  8. Ray, you have done a fine job of raising the issue for Catholics who are considering the advantages and disadvantages of Freemasonry. Those who look deeper into the intellectual underpinnings of this approach to the conduct of one’s life will find many more unsettling need only consider the works of Albert Pike for example. (See Morals and Dogma : Scottish Rite in Freemasonry by Albert Pike). There is also the admitted attitude toward Lucifer, the fallen angel. For Americans, the difficulties are compounded for Freemasons were instrumental in the founding of our country’s form of government. The answers you have provided to those commentators below are correct. However, as with most such exchanges, they become a thankless debate when a different course of engagement is more fitting. Please contact me if you are interested in pursuing it. Keep up the good work. Our Lord be with you!

    1. Thanks John…The goal of Christians is to lead the lost away from false teaching and into heaven. The goal of many internet atheist debaters is to win cheap debating points. Big difference….

  9. Wow, I knew freemasonry was wrong but I did not understand why until now. This is an awesome article, and so very needed. Thanks Ray.

    1. Thanks David. Just remember, if you’ve ever attended a funeral with the Freemason ceremony, those people and their rite are trying to ensure the deceased entryway into heaven, without Jesus Christ…

  10. Good article, Ray. Did you know that Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” was a 18th Century commercial for Freemasonry? I think that Freemasonry caught on at that time as a consequence or corollary of the so-called Enlightenment, namely that the world was mechanical and, as Laplace put it, there was no need of the hypothesis of God once Newton’s Three Laws were known–mechanics would tell you all you could know given a sufficient intelligence to know all the initial conditions and solve the equations of motion. We know now of course that this belief is not true on both scientific and religious grounds.

    1. Did not know that. Interesting though. The Freemasons do mirror the Enlightenment philosophy, elevating science, logic, and reason and the visible world over religion and the unseen world. And there is absolutely no reason for that.

    2. Catholic pilgrim

      Another interesting historical sudy is how LDS (Mormon) worship in their Mormon “Temples” are completely based on Masonic rituals. The false “prophet” Joseph Smith wanted to be a Mason very badly but was rejected. The ties between the founding of Mormonism & Masonry are interesting & undeniable.

  11. I enjoyed your article Ray, and this is something that continues to need to get out. The main points here are what you said about indifferentism and sycretism.

    I have to assume that you were never a Freemason? The problem when Christians who were never Freemasons make when writing about the irreconcilable differences is that they always make generalizations and blanket statements that do more harm than good. They do more harm than good because when you quote an oath like the one above, 99% of Freemasons will immediately tune you out after that point, because most oaths for degrees are jurisdictional; that is, they are different for every Grand Lodge or Grand Body.

    Non-Freemasons also cite the 32 Degrees like you did above. Again, instant mute button by a Freemason because there are hundreds of degrees beyond the first three, not just 32 or 33.

    Your paragraph in the Masonic way to Heaven isn’t universal either. It looks like something that might be said in the first degree, but, again, a Freemason would dismiss you hear as well, because you weren’t speaking to his experience.

    Concerning the legend of Hiram Abiff, he was from Tyre, Lebanon, not Egypt, and he isn’t resurrected. The grip of the Solomon never works, it keeps slipping. The problem is that Solomon, Hiram and another each had one part of the secret name of god. When Hiram isn’t able to be resurrected, they have to come up with a SUBSTITUTE name of god. You can point out issues here, but tell a Freemason that Hiram was resurrected, and you’ve lost him. This is a central mystery to Freemason. The building of King Solomon’s temple could never be completed because Hiram was NOT resurrected.

    I find that when non-former Freemasons evangelize to a Freemason, it is better to just leave their ritual alone. There are so many other less obscure arguments you can. You’ll always get dismissed when you bring up a ritual, unless you are a former Freemason and can speak with precision. and with Catholics it’s a clear obedience issue to the edict against Freemasonry, lest they be excommunicated.

    1. It’s all very confusing, and for a reason, I think. If they can make mish-mash seem logical, they can pull you away from scripture into a confusion. Most masons are schooled in the art of confusing critics, so that they will shutup and go away. Been there, done that. Bottom line is that it’s an alternate way to heaven, sans Jesus Christ, and that’s why it’s forbidden for Catholics to join.

    1. Thanks – As I researched this subject, I got a humongous headache. Probably a spiritual attack from the enemy…

  12. The concept of a kind of “Grand Architects”, an intelligence behind all this, appeals to me. What makes us think that such an entity can be adequately described by any one religion? In that all religions fall short of meeting this goal, why should we think that ours is the correct one and the others are wrong except for those beliefs that coincide with ours?

    1. It doesn’t sit well because it is totally false. The Catholic Church was founded by Christ, not man, and it is the one true, holy, catholic,and apostolic Church. Promising heaven to Masonic members if they are good Masons, without Baptism, repentance, the Eucharist, etc., is blasphemous…

    2. You are reciting the tenets of your religion. It is one of many religions, albeit the most popular. It is what you were taught or have come to believe. It could be (and I believe it is) absolutely wrong. It is more likely that all religions are wrong than that one is right and all the others are wrong. A Muslim would have the same opinion about Islam that you do about Christianity and Catholicism.

    3. There has to be one true religion. Jesus Christ is that religion. He was predicted by the OT thousands of years before He appeared on earth. Mohammed was not predicted, Buddha was not predicted, and in fact no other religion was predicted to come about thousands of years before it did, except for Christ’s Way, His Church. And that is proof that it is real.

    4. You have your reasons for believing that yours is the one true religion. Others have similar reasons for why theirs is the true religion. None of them have to be the one true religion. They all can be wrong. I believe they are all wrong.

    5. If the devil can pull you away from a belief in Jesus Christ through your pride, he has you. Repent and believe in the Gospel, before it’s too late, forever….

    6. That is how Christianity and Islam became so popular. They both entice and threaten in an effort to pressure people into believing. In reality, what I believe is of little or no consequence. It won’t get me to heaven if I believe. It won’t condemn me to hell if I don’t. Everyone should know that but so few do.

    7. But what you do here on earth during your time of trial will determine whether you wind up in heaven or hell, whether you believe it or not.

    8. I respect that you believe what you have been taught by the Catholic Church, which is consistent with beliefs of many peoples and cultures. But the whole notion of an afterlife and judgement comes from religious beliefs that I do not accept. If these beliefs are true, then you are right and I am wrong. I think I have put more research into this question than you have. That’s the only way I can explain why you believe what you have accepted on faith and I don’t.

    9. I’ve been studying the bible for over 50 years, Bill. I’ve had several supernatural experiences in my life that are inexplicable to the natural senses. And when I went off the Catholic reservation in the 1980’s, my life went to hell. It only got back to normal when I came back home to the grace of the sacraments. All of these events prove to me that Thee Church started by Jesus Christ is the one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    10. My life was better when I was religious but I still believe that my faith was in something that is not true. If your life is better when you believe, that is not proof that what you believe is true. But most people will choose to believe if it makes their life better whether it is really true or not.

    11. Catholic pilgrim

      Bill S, I believe YOU are wrong, with all due respect. You’re full of personal opinions, try reading more books on philosophy & religion. You’ll find Catholicism to be the fullness of truth. You’ll find Christ. Try reading up on Tolkien & GK Chesterton’s books: “The Everlasting Man” (the best one), “Orthodoxy” & “St Francis of Assisi” (biography by Chesterton). Try reading CS Lewis (on Narnia & Aslan). Try “Simply Jesus” by NT Wright & “Surprised by Hope” by NT Wright (he’s an Anglican clergyman though, but his 2 books here are a must read).

    12. The notion that the Catholic faith is the “fullness of truth” is very problematic in that there are so many outrageous claims that have a very low probability of being true and a very high probability of being fabricated. That is why nonbelievers dislike the Church so much.

    13. @Bill S and @james….of course, you are right and both honest commentators searching and in dialogue. Ultra-conservative RC’s believe that only they have the truth….The Truth was evident when humans attained behavioral modernity about 65,000 years ago long, long before bible times, before Masonic times, before Rosicrusians, long before the any formal religion. The truth is in the words of Elie Wiesel:

      “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them”
      ― Elie Wiesel

      There is One God and he is part of all men…no religion has a monopoly on God…He’s to big for that. Foxfier? Be cautious of “ad hominem” argumentation…it serves no one and does not contribute to dialogue. Blogs are dialogues and we need to be open to others, not listening only for the purpose of a reply.

    14. Thank you, Phil, for your kind support. I was Catholic for 60 years. Technically, I still am counted as one. I just have my sincere doubts about the existence of anything supernatural.

    15. There has to be something supernatural that created the world. Nothing creates itself. And big bangs don’t create timing, beauty and order like there is in the universe. Big bangs create chaos.

    16. I will agree with you that there has to be something behind all this. “Supernatural” might be an appropriate word for that. The supernatural that I doubt is gods, angels, demons, miracles, souls, afterlife, etc.

    17. I’ll watch it but I don’t believe that there is anything supernatural about NDEs. The brain can do amazing things and there can be all kinds of illusions that seem real.

    18. Blind people who died in the ER can come back and describe everything in the ER. People who have undergone NDEs can describe conversations going on in the next room. None of this is Catholic dogma, but personally, I believe this man’s testimony to be 10000% true.

    19. Well. It does beg the question as to why these people would make these stories up. But I think many of the stories are fabricated. That still leaves some that are true. I have no explanation for how these things happen naturally.

    20. I watched the videos. There are only two possibilities. Howard Storm is delusional or he is a fraud. There is nothing he has to say that is of any value to anyone.

    21. The Truth is Jesus Christ, and all men have Him, not just Catholics. Elie Wiesel was right on about the Holocaust, but that doesn’t make him infallible on every subject, least of all religion. By the way, Mr. Wiesel’s calendar currently shows that it’s the year 5774, not 65,000.

    22. Oh boy, please do not conflate issues. Wiesel uses the Jewish time/calendar because he is Jewish. Human behavioral normalcy is a result of anthropology, paleontology, carbon-dating, geology, etc. It is that time when man achieved the behavioral characteristics of modern man….estimated at 60-65,000 years ago. The Truth is One God, and all men have Him, not just Catholics. Catholics and other Christians believe in the incarnation of God in Jesus, other faiths ….not so.

    23. Catholic pilgrim

      Bill S, since the chaos that followed since Vatican II by those heterodox & modernist individuals seeking to misinterpret the Council, most of us present-day serious Catholics are Catholic by CHOICE (not based on “being taught to repeat stuff”, like you say). We’re either converts to Catholicism who were led to the Truth or people raised “Catholic” in name only (pretty much a secular upbringing, where talking politics & religion was not polite & Mass was only attended at Christmas if at all) who discovered the beauty & truth of the Catholic Faith. Bill S, try not to judge others’ situations too much please.

    24. We’re either converts to Catholicism who were led to the Truth or people raised “Catholic” in name only.

      You are missing those raised Catholic who grow up believing its teachings and never come to experience any other worldview. There are lots of those.

    25. Catholic pilgrim

      Bill S, sorry to report but it’s not all about you. You were accusing the blogger of this article of simply spouting off & repeating things. (Basically you accused serious Catholics of being parrots conditioned by their parents to repeat stuff.) Please notice how I was addressing “present-day serious Catholics” being Catholic by Choice (against the tide of secularism even within Catholic parishes & parents). Are you a present-day serious Catholic? I hope you were convicted enough of seeing the Truth that Christ & Catholicism has to offer, but I’ve read enough of your comments in other blogs to notice that you are a committed faithful Atheist/secularist (which discounts you as a serious present-day Catholic, what I was addressing). Bill S, I was alive in the ’60s & still remember the transformation in American Catholic communities from serious Catholicism to a state where talking about religion was deemed as impolite & we should all hide our faith & the false myth of “all religions are the same” blah blah. It takes more guts & courage today to be a committed serious Catholic than to be a faithful Atheist (or “agnostic” as they like to call themselves).

    26. It takes more guts & courage today to be a committed serious Catholic than to be a faithful Atheist (or “agnostic” as they like to call themselves).

      It takes courage for an atheist to come out when surrounded by Catholics as I am. It takes courage for an orthodox Catholic to hold his own in a secular world.

    27. Bill S is not an honest commenter, Ray. He just says whatever he thinks will annoy people.

      I suppose he is just “reciting the tenets” of his religion, but it’s quite annoying for those who mistake him for honest.

    28. What makes you think I am not being honest? I am being very honest. You just don’t like what I have to say so you say I am not an honest commenter thereby destroying my credibility.

    29. Experience is what makes me believe you are not honest. You consistently show up and dismiss what you disagree with– such as hand-waving away the points about the “hokey initiation ceremony” instead of actually answering them.

      Incidentally, your attempts at mind reading fail, and you do a fine job destroying your credibility on your own. I simply warned people before they spent too much time, as you prefer.

      Now, if they feel like doing it anyways, it’s their choice– which really ruins the fun for you, but only if I am right, doesn’t it?

    30. You consistently show up and dismiss what you disagree with…

      Not in a way that would be dishonest. Granted, I don’t always provide a full explanation backing what I say. But that does not make me dishonest.

      So I call the Masons initiation ceremony “hokey”. Do I have to explain why I think it is hokey?

    31. Catholic pilgrim

      Bill S, Masons have historically been very Anti-Catholic, especially in Europe (Italy, where the Vatican is); I’m an Italian by blood, have lived in Italy & speak it, & I can tell you that the Free Masons in Italy (since the “enlightenment” era 1700s) have always been Anti-Catholic & continue to hate the true Church of Christ. The idea of the eternal Word of God (Christ Jesus) as the Supreme Architect of the Universe can be found in the First chapter of St. John’s Gospel & in many Catholic philosophers’/theologians’ writings (like Aquinas). You don’t have to become a “Free” Mason in order to view God as the Supreme Architect of the Universe. “Free” Masons don’t seem to free to me; carrying secrets around for no reason (& being threatened with murder if you spill the beans) seems pretty burdensome, unnecessary & oppressive. True Freedom lays in Christ & His Church.

    32. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of becoming a Mason, if for no other reason than their hokey initiation service. I wouldn’t lower myself by participating in it.

      They are seen as evil because of their disdain for the Catholic Church. However, if they are right about the Church, then their disdain is justified. In that case, it is they who are good and the Church that is evil.

    33. Catholic pilgrim

      Newsflash for Mr. Bill S: the Masons are wrong & the Church is right. So now you can throw away your nutty Anti-Catholic ideas & conspiracy theories. I’ve read your comments in other blogs (like in Mark Shea’s) & you ALWAYS pick the side that opposes the Church (in this case, the Masons, even when that side is wrong) that after reading your comments for such a long time you only come across as: an Angry Ex-Catholic faithfully devout Atheist/Secularist with the same old, boring tiring unoriginal Anti-Catholic arguments. Mr. Bill S, nowadays when I read your name on blog comments, I can’t help but yawn. Sorry but true.

    34. the Masons are wrong & the Church is right.

      I actually think the Masons are right on more matters of significance than the Church. Washington and Franklin were not lacking in what it took to live a fruitful life.

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