Idaho: Mass Facing People, No Altar Rail Normative

Bishop Peter Christensen, bishop since 2014 of the statewide Diocese of Boise, Idaho, has issued an instruction to the priests of his diocese (reprinted in the diocesan newspaper). With a view toward unity, the Instruction upholds the universal practice and liturgical discipline of the Catholic Church in matters such as Mass facing facing the people, receiving Communion standing (which is the norm in the U.S.), and not importing elements of the Extraordinary Form (such as ringing bells at the priest’s Communion) into the Ordinary Form. Pray Tell reprints the Instruction below in its entirety. H/T Robert Mickens.

Liturgical Expectations and Clarifications

“The Diocesan Bishop, who is to be regarded as the High Priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful in some sense derives and upon whom it depends, must promote, regulate, and be vigilant over the liturgical life in his diocese.” GIRM #387

Dear Brothers in Christ,

It has come to my attention that matters addressed below may be causing confusion in our Diocese. I would like to provide clarification.

In order to reduce the confusion among the faithful and the increasing disinformation regarding liturgical matters in the Diocese, and to promote harmony and unity that is reflected and strengthened in our Eucharistic celebrations, I am promulgating this Instruction. As bishop, I request that clergy carefully reflect upon and adhere to the following.

1. Priests must take special care in forming the faithful: In general, priests are to refrain from providing the faithful with incorrect information in order to promote a particular approach to worship. Specifically, they must never imply a particular superiority or greater holiness of approach amongst the valid forms of worship in the Roman Catholic Church. In instructing the faithful regarding questions of posture, gensture, reception of Communion, etc., clergy are to refer always to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal,  the Order of Mass, and other officially promulgated ritual books for the form of liturgy they are celebrating, or to documents propagated by the Holy See or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and approved by the appropriate authorities. Sources such as independent websites and social media platforms that are unaffiliated with the Holy See or the USCCB are not to be considered trustworthy or appropriate for catechesis. Elements from the Missal used at the Extraordinary Form liturgy are not to be imported into Masses celebrated under the Ordinary Form.

Pastors, whose responsibility is to form the faithful, should undertake this task with utmost seriousness and care. Your authority as shepherds of your flocks – trusted fathers of your faith family – resides in your integrity and humble sincerity in providing the souls in your care with accurate theological, moral, and catechetical guidance to the best of your ability, and should not be undermined by a careless or deliberately misleading approach to formation.

2. Priests in the Diocese of Boise will face the people when presiding at the Ordinary Form of the Mass: Paragraph 299 in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal  makes it plain that the universal Church envisions the priest presiding at Mass facing the people. (#299: The altar should be built separate from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable whenever possible.”)  This is unambivalent, and I am instructing priests in this diocese to preside facing the people at every celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

There are priests who prefer ad orientem.  I am convinced that they mean well and find it a devout way to pray. But the overwhelming experience worldwide after Vatican II is that the priest faces the people for the Mass, and this has contributed to the sanctification of the people.

There has been an attempt to justify the ad orientem  practice because the Order of Mass indicates places when the priest should face the people. (However, it never asks him to turn away, as the preconciliar Missal did.) There are some historical churches with fixed altars where the priest does not have the option of facing the people. I conclude from this that the indications to have his back to the people remain only for those circumstances where the priest presides at historical churches where the main altar or side altars are against a wall. The GIRM presumes that the priest is celebrating Mass at a freestanding altar. It was clearly the mind of the Council that the priest should face the people.

It is most affecting that, during the funeral rite, the Catholic Church maintains that the coffin of a deceased cleric is to be positioned in the way he was in life at Mass: facing the people.

3. Posture at Communion and the use of prie dieus (kneeling bench) or altar rails: I have directed that the posture for receiving Communion in this Diocese is standing, in accord with GIRM #160: “The norm is established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.” While it is the right of the faithful to kneel to receive, nor may any communicant be denied Communion based on posture, given that the norm in this country is standing. I am instructing that priests do not use furniture or items such as prie dieus  or Communion rails, as these may seem to undermine this norm or to imply a preference for kneeling to receive.

4. Celebration of the Extraordinary Form: With the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum pontificum,  it became permissible for priests to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the eucharist without applying for permission to their local ordinary. I am requesting, however, that as a matter of courtesy, I am made aware of any such celebrations. As well, this information must be made available to the Holy See in a formal report during each  ad limina visit. So, for accurate record-keeping, I request that you report this practice to me, along with frequency and attendance. Remembering always that the Ordinary Form is just that, the ordinary accepted way in which we are to regularly celebrate Mass a faithful Catholics.

5.  Priests are not to add elements (words, gestures, actions, etc.) to the liturgy that are not found in the appropriate Missal: No priest should take it upon himself to adapt the liturgy to his particular preferences. Just as he should not insert words such as “God is good…all the time!” into the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer, neither should he insert actions – such as ringing the bells during his own Communion – that are not found in the rubrics of the Missal under which he is celebrating (the Missal of John XXIII for Extraordinary Form; the 3rd edition of the Missal of Paul VI for the Ordinary Form). Liturgy is not an expression of private devotion, as you are all aware.

My Brothers, it is a great trust that I and the Faithful of our Diocese place as you in order to promote the one body in Christ as reflected in our unity and harmony at worship.

 + Pete


  1. Of course, Bishops are entitled to legislate for their dioceses, and I imagine he is doing so in response to certain tensions that may have arisen among his presbyterate. I don’t wish to trespass into that territory, or the pastoral questions raised which I am not familiar with. 

    Sorry to beat a dead horse, but while he can certainly moderate the liturgy, it is overkill to make statements such as: “This is unambivalent” regarding GIRM 299. GIRM 299 is certainly not unambivalent when it comes to the matter. Not only is there a response of the CDW on the matter (well known to all), and the suggestive grammar of the Latin, but when one looks at the history of that particular paragraph of the GIRM, the argument that the phrase “which is desirable whenever possible” refers to the construction of the altar rather than the position of the celebrant gains greater force. 

    The original 1969 IGMR did not contain this phrase. It directed that the “high altar” be freestanding and by way of clarification added “so that Mass can be celebrated facing the people” because it was a requirement in former times as well that the high altar be freestanding so that the consecrator could walk around it – but that was usually interpreted to include the reredos. 

    That phrase (“Which is desireable whenever possible”) was one of several additions made in the 2002 General Instruction to this section, which deals with the decoration of churches. When one looks at the other changes, they are all concerned with preserving inherited/existing structures. A strict reading of the old GIRM could (and was) used to justify the destruction of many of these pieces. The “which is desirable whenever possible” would seem to refer to this aspect – that it is desireable to have a completely freestanding altar, but other considerations may intervene.

  2. [contd.] It is also not accurate to say that the post-conciliar Ordo Missae never directs the priest to turn away “as the pre-conciliar missal did”. In the first place it does, in one Communion rubric (a relic of the 1967 reforms). In the second place, AFAIK the pre-conciliar Ordo Missae never mentioned turning back to the altar either, although it mentioned facing the people at various points.  That came from 2 rubrics in the Ritus Servandus, one of which spoke about not having to turn around in ad populum celebrations. 

    Also justifying it by the position of the clergy at funerals doesn’t quite hold since that was a preconciliar practice anyway, when ad orientem was the norm. 

    Lastly, ringing bells is really a matter of custom (which the bishop is allowed to regulate as well). Until 1961, the bell for Communion was never mentioned by the rubrics. It was [and one could say is] a matter of custom. It’s unfortunate that it should become a flashpoint.

  3. I realize that many (most?) readers of PrayTell will be sympathetic to what Bishop Christensen is saying in this clarification. This is not the forum for expressing a fundamental lack of sympathy with what he is saying; there are other places where that has been done.

    I am particularly concerned that we not resort to falsehoods in making our cases.

    This clarification memo from the bishop contains two falsehoods. I don’t call them lies because that implies deliberate intention to deceive. It is almost certainly due to ignorance.

    1. The Latin of GIRM 299 has been analyzed by many Latinists who have shown, grammatically, that it either cannot or need not mean what the Bishop says it means — and this is important, as he rests his case on the GIRM. A defensible (at very least) translation is: “The main altar should be built separated from the wall, which is useful wherever it is possible, so that it can be easily walked around and a celebration toward the people can be carried out.”

    Fr. John Hunwicke, a formidable classicist, has proposed this ultra-literal translation: “The High Altar [not, be it observed, every altar] should be constructed away from the wall, so that the option is open [possit] of walking easily around it and using it for Mass facing the people. This [i.e., having the altar free-standing so that the options are open] is desirable wherever possible.” Fr. Hunwicke’s analysis may be found here:

    It is truly a matter of scholarly integrity that we make our cases based on what authoritative texts actually say, not on dubious or flawed translations.

    2. The bishop’s claim that “It was clearly the mind of the Council that the priest should face the people” is totally unsustainable, since the issue was not even raised once in the Council aula.

    1. The fatal flaw with your #2, Professor, is that Vatican II was never conceived as a final act of liturgical reform, but something that continued reform and intended to keep it moving forward. That is exactly what the Church has done. Many Catholics read Vatican II as a last word. That is an error. The council clearly left future direction to the people of the Church–its bishops, theologians, and others considered expert in various fields.

    2. For the sake of accuracy, I wanted to double-check my second claim. I went to a most useful resource, Henri De Lubac’s “Vatican Council Notebooks,” vol. I, where summaries are provided for almost every intervention on the liturgy in the Council’s first session.

      I stand corrected: at least two Fathers in the aula brought up the issue of versus populum: Luis Gonzaga da Cunha Marelin, Brazil, on October 31, 1962: “talk about the celebratio versus populum” (p. 227); Wilhelm Josef Duschak, Philippines, on November 5, 1962: “Christ celebrated coram popula, alta voce, lingua vernacula” (p. 235).

      I find two things interesting here. First, there were hundreds of mentions of Latin (it was the most controversial subject), but as far as I have found, only two mentions of versus populum. To get a sense of comparison, the question of whether to abolish the maniple arose more frequently than that. Second, the Brazilian intervention says it should merely be mentioned in the Constitution, not enforced or recommended; and Duschak’s viewpoint about the Last Supper, popular in his day, has been called into question. The ancient customs of dining could not accurately be called “versus populum,” and the great scholar Joachim Jeremias in “The Eucharistic Words of Jesus” (pp. 196-97) notes that Jesus could well have spoken the words of institution in liturgical Hebrew.

      1. I’ve wondered – I don’t know – whether Mass facing the people wasn’t simply assumed by the Council fathers tracking the liturgical movement. I’ve seen ultra-traddie websites where they argue that the downfall was with Pius XII and not Vatican II, and track the strong rise in versus populuum altars in the 1950s. It was almost becoming the norm in new or renovated churches before the Council. And of course it had started already in the 1930s in parts of Europe. As I say, I don’t know what was in the mind of the Council fathers. I’d be cautious in arguing from what the fathers did or did not say in the aula. I’m happy to stand corrected if someone has more or better data.


      2. Yes, the pioneering work of Guardini and Schwarz in the 1920s and 30s sowed the seeds for what was to come.

        Alas, even today we still see churches and cathedrals designed as if none of that and subsequent thinking had ever taken place. Architects and clergy are still largely ignorant of basic principles and continue to design churches as if it were the late 19th century.

      3. OK, Peter, point made. But I’m not sure your tally says what you want it to. Saint Benedict says almost nothing about Eucharist in the Rule. Apparently most of it was presumed. This could be something like that.
        But to pursue this would get us into the same old discussion about how to interpret Vatican II. We’re not going to do that, yet again, at Pray Tell. Your views are already well-known and can be accessed elsewhere for those interested.

  4. I wonder how much this is influenced by cultural tensions unrelated to overall preferences for a more traditional OF Mass. At my parish, which has a kneeler to facilitate kneeling for reception of Communion at some services, it’s notably more common for people whose first language is not English to kneel than for those whose native language is English.

    This seems particularly the case given the emphasis on the bells (which are used much more heavily in my experience in historically Italian and Hispanic parishes than historically Irish parishes), and on the US Bishops’ norms (which were established when the US Church was much more native-born than it is currently, and seem to be out of sync with norms outside the US and Europe.)

  5. I find it fascinating that here we are arguing about whether the council fathers willed or didn’t will versus populum Masses. Yet, the fact of the matter is that versus populum became the norm after the council. And now there are a number of priests and faithful who have expressed a desire to experience ad orientem worship. So now bishops and cardinals feel the need to lockdown this liturgical experiment like it is an outbreak. To be clear they have a right to govern liturgical practice, so that is not where my problem lies. My issue is that it usually takes about 100 years for a council full effects to really take root in the Church as a whole. That being said many people are in favor of liturgical experimentation except when it comes to more traditional practices. What is wrong with allowing a few ad orientem Masses? Some people may have been upset by the practice but again there is a growing number of faithful who desire to experience this style of worship. Why not let a small sect have ad orientem Mass? I see four things that happen with that sect: first, they move to the EF within the Church. Second, they grow tired of the “fad” and rejoin the ranks of “normal” Catholics. Third, they go full Sede Vacantists and leave the Church (in which case how convicted were they of the Church’s catholicity in the first place.) Fourth, it becomes a grassroots movement of renewal within the liturgy and becomes a legitimate option in the Roman Rite (which it already is legitimate in most places just not practiced.) I think the first two would be the most likely answer but I think it the first and fourth options that scare more liberal-leaning Catholics.
    I still do not understand why complaints from the more liberal side of the church get to shut down everything they dislike. Yet traditional leaning Catholics are treated as second class citizens. Trying to suppress ad orientem Mass will probably aid its appeal to the younger generation as a sort of rebellion. Thus, in the long run, it will probably hurt the liberal…

    1. In principle I’m open to responsible liturgical experimentation and evolution. And in principle I”m open to ad orientem as a possible development. But my judgment – this is a judgment call and there will be a nice variety of views – is that at the present time it is divisive. Fairly or unfairly, it has too much baggage attached to it. If Summorum Pontificum had never happened, if there weren’t so many websites and movements opposing the liturgical reform and advocating pre-Vatican II mindsets and worship practices, perhaps by now we’d be ready for some ad orientem. But we’re not, alas. The responsible people who could otherwise be doing responsible ad orientem experiements can’t, because of all the traddies who are doing it and giving it a bad name.


      1. Reaction to it, especially from the top down, can also intensify and calcify division. It’s no longer the case that it can be done and not heard/seen and published about.

        My strong sense is that Summorum Pontificum not happening would not have stopped it and that categorizing it as a specially grave mistake gives it a more totemic status than it merits.

        Different bishops with less of a sense of what used to be called muh authorituh in former times and certain places and a different way of dealing with pressures for pluriformity might have invited somewhat different expressions. Instead, some of us who got hammered for progressive wanderings off the liturgical reservation seem more reactive, even if the impluse was (for some/many, though not necessarily all) honestly earned.

        Where are the many websites and movements from below to provide a fuller context? So far as I can tell over the last 25 years, there’s no traddie conspiracy to prevent them from blooming.

        I’ve got disabused long ago (with booster shots since then) of the idea that, if we nurture the expression of more inputs from “below” that it would bear the fruit of a liturgical progressive paradise or any particular liturgical paradise. I’ve witnessed such diverse expressions from “below” even within progressively identified communities to confound any such expectation.

        I also sense that the apparent consensus of liturgical assumptions and desiderata of the post-conciliar liturgical generations has come and gone. The world spun forward since then.

        The Council Fathers probably didn’t intend this. (I take SP as a finesse that elides the intentions of the Council Fathers.) That said, if we’re going to take the position that the Council was just a starting point, not an end point (a position I fully agree with), then we’re not able to control the directions in which unfoldings of its fruits will manifest by any magical controlling hermeneutics. I hope in Providential openness in that regard and that, long past my allotted time on this plan, Providence’s designs will out. Proceed with Hope, knowing only the ultimate destination, not of all of the particulars of the routes thereto.

      2. I would argue that allowing any experimentation usually begets division. In many of the Churches in the area where I grew up experienced a post-Vatican II clergy that made them tear down high altars, side altars, and whitewash parish Churches their families had paid for and help build generation(s) ago (depending on the church building.) This left them with a rather forced view of Vatican II that had little sympathy for the role family and community history played in the lives of the people these priests were meant to serve. This shows that any movement within the Church will always have its extremists. To claim that we can do it because it caters to traddies or other extremists is an overeaction which only expands the divide in the Church.

        I would argue that if you allowed for ad orientem Masses with some Latin (not all just SOME) with beautiful churches and vestments in OF. A saner part of the Church would prevail with the younger generation that has a desire for transcendence and beauty in a world that offers little of either. Instead, we are currently making them choose between a calcified 70’s liturgy at the parish down the street or the Latin Mass parish that is overflowing with young families who may be overly strict but at least they are someone their age or simply don’t go at all.

        I understand that St. John’s Abbey may be able to work a more beautiful liturgy because of greater musical skill and living the liturgy as a part of their everyday life but for the everyday parish this is not a possibility. Ad orientem and some other traditional elements make a beautiful liturgy possible.

  6. Normally, when a bishop takes a step like this it’s because there have been problems in his diocese. I sympathize. Those problems will fairly inevitably be a small number of traditionalist clergy and layfolk making waves and telling everyone else that what they are doing is “less Catholic”, “less reverent”, “not authorized”, even “sinful”. In other words, what I see at play here is the bishop trying to use his position to end divisiveness in the diocesan family by exercise of his authority. Alas, it’s like stirring a nest of angry hornets.

    No, SC didn’t explicitly say that Mass facing the people was to be recommended or even preferred. We all know that. But we also know that in the half-decade or so following, many bishops around the world saw the pastoral value of this change of position for the presider, as they also did with the use of the vernacular. And once they had seen it, they wanted it to continue, petitioning the Consilium and making regulations in their own dioceses. And a lot of that is documented. It was an organic development from the underlying principles of Vatican II which those who rely solely on documents cannot understand because they don’t take into account or accept those organic developments, which in fact took place rather rapidly. The most that they will accept is the major documents of Vatican II, but not all the activity and documents that followed. It really is time they grew up and studied the history of this period.

  7. The priests I know who advocate ad orientem (and maniples and birettas) often speak with extraordinary fondness for Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict as models of liturgical precision. Yet neither of these great popes wore maniples or birettas as they celebrated the Eucharist all over the world facing the people. To me it appears that their liturgical preferences are a consequence of gossip and old wives tails about the “awful abuses” spawned by a misreading of Vatican II, especially SC. They are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

    1. Priests that advocate for these things may have a fondness for liturgical regalia that Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II never wore. Just as many more progressive types have a great love for St. John XXIII and St. Paul VI who both wore the papal crown and still bore many marks of the pre-Vatican Church. In short, I think your argument tries to paint these priests as superficial which if you have seriously talked with many of them you would find they are not (at least most of them.) Like priests throughout every age they felt called by the Lord to serve at the altar and serve the people of God.

      I would encourage you to try and understand them Father. Many of them have had to go through a lot to become priests (perhaps including ridicule from older priests as a young man from my parish experienced when he was going through seminary.) Talk to them and show them respect as a brother in Christ, then they might become willing to try and understand your side. Each side of the liturgical battle desires to be understood but is rarely willing to try and understand the other.

  8. Honest question: In the view of those who see “versus populum” as the fundamentally better practice, are the Eastern Churches—none of whom, I believe, ever adopted that practice—merely “behind the times”?

    1. Not necessarily. I wonder how much of the impulse was due to the Western/Roman sensibility for seeing, gazing, adoring. “Seeing is believing” is a cliché, sure. But the long history of viewing the Eucharistic Mystery is strong. Getting the elements away from “behind” the priest would, in some quarters, be seen as a positive development.

      That said, my few visits to Eastern churches provide substantial alternatives in their iconography. Maybe gazing at the Eucharistic elements during liturgy is less vital to an experience of faith.

      My sense is that placing Christ at the center of Roman worship was a natural development of our desire to see more and therefore deepen our faith. Especially in the more simply-decorated churches of the West. My own preference in Eucharistic celebration is antiphonal seating: the orientation of the priest is irrelevant because the community dialogues in the liturgy and the focus is on the center, not a stage. I don’t get a sense of stage in Eastern architecture because the saints have arrayed themselves around the people in a more powerful and substantive way than Catholic stained glass and statuary.

    2. Maybe it comes from a different spirituality surrounding the Eucharist, and a different perspective on the communion of saints – and a different balance between the two, much like Western Europe in earlier times.
      Are daily Eucharist and frequent communion common in Eastern Churches? (Genuine question.)

      1. Not typically . Many may commune once a year if it all. Found the prior comment that our services aren’t Christ centered to be condescending , encourage anyone to examine the texts online to see our liturgies are all and only about Christ.

    3. Eastern churches still have the “anacathedra” for the bishop behind the free-standing altar. In the days before the iconostasis developed, bishops would often preach from there. If you are familiar with St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, you can see the parallel. The development of the iconostasis might have led to the positioning of the presider on the front of the altar since he needed to move through the doors to interact with the people.

      1. prayer is literally always done toward the east, the rising sun symbolizing the risen Christ, chruches are all traditionally built with that prayer direction in mind. I think only time “towards the people” was done was during the days of the communist “living church” during the 1920s.

  9. I am so impressed with the scholarship being exhibited one thing I haven’t seen however is how this affects the People of God. If the liturgy is God’s great communication of God’s love for us, then what is being communicated in God’s name, both about who God is and who we are. The People of God it seems have the right to the very best that the Church has to offer, the most precise understanding of what it means to be the People of God. Everything that is done somehow makes a statement, and ritual is existential. What is being said when one kneels to receive communion and what is being said when one stands. Perhaps God is being muted some of the practices and it seems that the Church is afraid to be the Church by not understanding the significance of the actions that it allows or promotes. at every encounter with the Church, the Church should be articulating the highest expression of how the Church has come to know God and God’s creation. Allowing people to remain in understated or outdated expressions of who we have been revealed to be diminishes both the Church and the person. God is trying to tell us something, and we are too afraid to hear what it is. Isn’t that truly the role of liturgy, to allow God to speak unencumbered.

    1. But symbol is, to a large extent, taught and based on one’s own experiences and background. That is, we bring a lot of baggage when we experience rituals and one really can’t say “This gesture always communicates X while this gesture always communicates Y.”

      You ask what is communicated by kneeling vs standing to receive, for example. My own experience is that kneeling together at an altar rail* adds a very intense communal dimension to the liturgy (in the horizontal “People of God” coming together sense) while still emphasizing the very personal “me and God” aspect even when the priest is in a rush. Standing, which is what I grew up with and was exclusively taught, seems to communicate only the “me and God” aspect at best, but can easily trend towards having a utilitarian “hurry and get done as quickly as possible” character to it. I should note that the Eastern way of standing to receive is totally different and can’t be compared. Descriptions of early Church practices also seem to be incomparable to what we currently do.

      *While providing a kneeler to make kneeling for communion easier is nice, it loses the full effect of using the rail since people can’t come together or have a moment of reflection prior to receiving.

  10. Bizarrely, immediately following his section 1. condemnation of “sources…unaffiliated with the Holy See or the USCCB” as “not to be considered trustworthy or appropriate for catechesis”, much of the text of point 2. in the Bishop’s statement seems to come verbatim from an article on paulturner dot org, the blog of a priest of the diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, posted on 6/9/2016:
    “The Order of Mass does indicate places when the priest should face the people, but it never asks him to turn away as the preconciliar missal did. The GIRM presumes that the priest is celebrating mass at a freestanding altar. It was clearly the mind of the council that the priest should be facing the people.
    There are priests who prefer ad orientem. I am convinced that they mean well and find it a devout way to pray. But the overwhelming experience worldwide after Vatican II is that the priest faces the people for the mass, and this has contributed to the sanctification of the people.
    There are some historical churches with fixed altars where the priest does not have the option of facing the people. I think the rubrics in the Order of Mass are for those situations, where he needs to be told when, at least, he should face the people.”
    For what it’s worth, the nuptial blessing even before the council was always said facing the couple, not facing the altar. God can be addressed when facing people.”

    1. Fr. Paul Turner is not a random priest from a random diocese. He has a doctorate from a Vatican university, is director of liturgy and rector of the cathedral in K.C., has published numerous books and articles, and has lectured all over the world.

      1. This is all true. At the same time, I’m grateful that Penny Silver unearthed a connection that I had not known of.

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