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 Post subject: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:38 pm 
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I'm very confused. A friend of mine who is a very knowledgeable and devout Catholic suggested this book to me. I'm wondering if it was either a joke or if he never even read the book.

I just completed the introduction (and I do intend on reading the rest) but talk about undercutting the worth and merit of the Papacy.

The first thing that stood out:

Quote:
"The historical reality, of course, is not quite so simple. The most famous of all 'papal' bible texts, Matthew 16:18 - "You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church...and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven' - is quoted in no Roman source before the time of the Decian persecution in the middle of the third century, and the very roots of what may be called the foundation myths of the papacy are uncomfortably complicated."


Ouch.
It doesn't get much better:

Quote:
"Christianity established itself in Rome some time in the AD 40s. Historians are now by and large agreed that for the best part of the century that followed there was nothing and nobody in Rome who could properly be called a pope."


Quote:
"The earliest surviving succession list of the Roman bishops was recorded towards the end of the second century by St. Irenaeus of Lyon, as part of a general argument that the best way to refute heretics was to refer them to the doctrine that the bishops of the great apostolic churches had received from the Apostles."


Quote:
"It reached its most famous expression in the early fourteenth century with Boniface VIII, whose bull Unam sanctam declared that it was 'altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff'. Everything the modern papcy claims, and very much more besides, such as the papal deposing power, was claimed for the post then."


Quote:
"In a real sense it is, rather, the result of historical catastrophe, the French Revolution. The Revolution swept away the Catholic kings who had appointed bishops and ruled churches, and once more made the popes seem the embodiment of ancient certainties."


Quote:
"The most crucial and important practical power possessed by modern popes is arguably the right to appoint the bishops of the world, and thereby to shape the character of the local churches. It is salutary to remind ourselves taht the popes did not possess this unchecked power in canon law until 1917, and the practice of direct papal appointment of bishops did not become general until the nineteenth century."


----this point, even if true, seems alittle off. "The most crucial and important practical power" appointing bishops? I would assume anyone (Catholic or not) would say the most crucial and important practical power would be for the pope to declare infallibly on doctrinal and moral matters.


But still: I am not able to dispute the veracity of these claims. Either my friend was pulling a big prank on me or this is his cry for help. Because this introduction is one of the most critical things I have read on the integrity of papal claims.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Eamon Duffy is a good Catholic historian.

The pope's infallibility does not come into play nearly as often as his right to appoint (or at least approve the appointment of) bishops.

Church history and the development of the papacy are a complex topic. :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:48 pm 
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I hear what you're saying...
but that first quote is a pretty hard pill to swallow for me.
It seems to be claiming that Jesus' comments to Peter are a later invention by the Papacy to lend legitimacy to the Papacy.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Eamon Duffy is an orthodox, and in fact very traditional, Irish Catholic, he is not challenging, criticizing or attacking the Papacy, the Church as a whole or Catholic teaching...a fact which is very much in evidence if you read his more theologically oriented books

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:09 pm 
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It's not saying that the quotation is invented. Even the craziest of Bible "scholars" would agree that the passage in question was in Matthew long before the middle of the third century, and there's no real question among reputable scholars that the quotation is part of the original text of Matthew.

What Duffy is saying is that there are no records of that passage being cited in support of the papacy before the 3rd Century. That may or may not be true (Duffy is a careful scholar, so I tend to think it is), but that doesn't mean it was wrong for the Church to recognize what that passage meant even after several centuries had gone by.

What he is referring to as "foundation myths" are, I think, the whole story of how the Church came to recognize what all is entailed with the office of the Bishop of Rome.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Eamon Duffy is an orthodox, and in fact very traditional, Irish Catholic, he is not challenging, criticizing or attacking the Papacy, the Church as a whole or Catholic teaching...a fact which is very much in evidence if you read his more theologically oriented books

His Stripping of the Altars is one of the best books on how the English Reformation was imposed from above on the people of England.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Church history and the development of the papacy are a complex topic. :fyi:


And I don't think that the precise bounds of what exactly is allowed, as far as how the historical development of the bishopric and the Papacy are very well defined

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
It's not saying that the quotation is invented. Even the craziest of Bible "scholars" would agree that the passage in question was in Matthew long before the middle of the third century, and there's no real question among reputable scholars that the quotation is part of the original text of Matthew.

What Duffy is saying is that there are no records of that passage being cited in support of the papacy before the 3rd Century. That may or may not be true (Duffy is a careful scholar, so I tend to think it is), but that doesn't mean it was wrong for the Church to recognize what that passage meant even after several centuries had gone by.

What he is referring to as "foundation myths" are, I think, the whole story of how the Church came to recognize what all is entailed with the office of the Bishop of Rome.


Thanks for the reply, Obi.

Again, I get what you're saying (to a large extent). But against the backdrop of the rest of the introduction it doesn't seem congenial to the traditional "Catholic Narrative".
In the context it appears to be some ad hoc reasoning to justify the papacy.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:41 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
Thanks for the reply, Obi.

Again, I get what you're saying (to a large extent). But against the backdrop of the rest of the introduction it doesn't seem congenial to the traditional "Catholic Narrative".
In the context it appears to be some ad hoc reasoning to justify the papacy.


What he is saying in the introduction is that the Papacy has not always been the same as it is today, but rather the Papacy as it exists today is the result of a process of historical and theological development over the course of centuries which reached it apex in the definition of Papal infallibility at Vatican I..... as an historian it his job to trace the history of that development, which is what he is doing, not just in this book, but in 'Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes' of which this book is an abridgement. In these books, he is wearing his 'historians hat', if you want to know what his actual theological beliefs are, then I encourage you to read his more theological books....such as...

Faith of Our Fathers

http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Our-Fathers ... 936&sr=8-7

In the words of the introduction on the cover "Faith of our Fathers is a spirited defense of Catholic ritual, discipline, and communal observance"

Creed in the Catechism

http://www.amazon.com/Creed-Catechism-E ... 36&sr=8-13

Faith of our Fathers: Reflections on Catholic Tradition
http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Our-Fathers ... 936&sr=8-1

Walking to Emmaus

http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Emmaus-Ea ... 36&sr=8-10

And also check out his works on the history of the English Reformation

The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580

http://www.amazon.com/The-Stripping-Alt ... 371&sr=8-1

The Voices of Morebath: Reform and Rebellion in an English Village

http://www.amazon.com/The-Voices-Moreba ... 371&sr=8-3

Marking the Hours: The English People and their Prayers

http://www.amazon.com/Marking-Hours-Eng ... 371&sr=8-5

Fires of Faith: Catholics under Mary Tudor

http://www.amazon.com/Fires-Faith-Catho ... 371&sr=8-6

The Church of Mary Tudor (Catholic Christendom 1300-1700)

http://www.amazon.com/Church-Mary-Tudor ... 71&sr=8-11

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:05 pm 
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By the way, you should know that many people actually complain that Duffy is too much of an 'apologist' is his historical works and all he does is uphold traditional Catholic teachings....

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:05 pm 
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To be fair, Eamon Duffy, while orthodox and a good scholar, does have certain Gallican tendencies. He is a bit reactionary in some of hiw writings against "ultra montanism" But he recognizes, doctrinally, the prerogatives of the papacy. And one would, to be honest, have to recognize that even the notion of jurisdiction, let alone the claim of papal jurisdiction, was one not fully developed in the early centuries. The great evidence of papal authority is one of the "last court of appeal" You had a problem, you went to your bishop. Not satisfied you went to the bishop of the bigger town nearby (generally developed into what we call metropolitans). Didn't like that? You went to the bishop of the capital of the province, then the capital of the diocese (more or less what we call patriarches...Antioch, Alexandria, etc) and finally to Rome.

Papal authority was not as evidenced in day to day things. The pope didn't appoint other bishops. Heck the oldest example of such power being wielded is by the "pope of Alexandria" in Egypt. When the Gregorian reform was under way the "more ancient and canonical" practice for selecting bishops that the reformers wanted to "restore" was elections (canons electing the bishop, which had to be approved by the people outside by acclamation and then further approved by getting three neighboring bishops involved). rather than imperial appointments. Rome first claimed the right to appoint bishops in cases where the bishop physically died in Rome.

It wasn't until much later that the majority of bishops were appointed by Rome. Heck, there were still elections in Austria until John Paul II!!

What made Rome more like what we see today is the 13th century....the century of "lawyer popes"

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:08 pm 
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Thanks.
I'll check them out.

One last quote from the book. Papal historic development would appear to be one thing.... but conjuring papal succession out of thin air is another entirely. That definitely seems to be what Duffy is stating here:

Quote:
EVERYTHING we know about the Church at Rome in its first century or so points in the same direction, to a community which certainly thought of itself as one Church, but which was in practice a loose and often divided federation of widely different communities, each with its own pastors and its own distinctive and often conflicting liturgies, calendars and customs. It was in fact the threat of heresy within this seething diversity, and the Roman need to impose some sort of unity and coherence on the Church in the city, that led to the emergence of the Roman episcopate, and the firming up of the Roman community?s pride in the life and death among them of the two greatest apostles, into a succession narrative. By the 160s the graves of Peter and Paul had shrines built over them and were being shown to Christian visitors to Rome: by the early third century the bishops of Rome were being buried in a single crypt in what is now the catacomb of San Callisto, as a sort of visible family tree stretching back, it was believed, to the apostolic age. But all this was a construct, tidying the mess and confusion of real history into a neat and orderly relay race, with the baton of apostolic authority being handed from one bishop to another.

Tidiness was the keynote of this process. The earliest surviving successionlist of the Roman bishops was recorded towards the end of the second century by St. Irenaeus of Lyon, as part of a general argument that the best way to refute heretics was to refer them to the doctrine that the bishops of the great apostolic churches had received from the Apostles. Irenaeus's list started with the earliest bishop of Rome, Linus, and went up to the contemporary incumbent, his own friend Pope Eleutherius. And conveniently, this apostolic pedigree had exactly twelve names, the number of the tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles, and the sixth was called Sixtus - or 'Mr. Six'!



Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

I'm not trying to rabble rouse. I'm a devout Catholic. But these quotes, to a large extent, seem bothersome.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Malleus Haereticorum wrote:
To be fair, Eamon Duffy, while orthodox and a good scholar, does have certain Gallican tendencies. He is a bit reactionary in some of hiw writings against "ultra montanism" "



That is quite true, he is critical of the highly centralized nature of the modern Papacy.....but it has to be admitted that in history there have been several different 'models of the Papacy' and that and the precise degree to which the Pope ought to assert his right of governance of the Church and how much independence he should allow local ordinaries to have is more a question of prudential judgment and discretion than of dogma....certainly there is nothing heretical in thinking that the local bishops should have more direct control over their dioceses or to suggest that a different 'model of the Papacy' than the one currently in use might be better.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:15 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

I'm not trying to rabble rouse. I'm a devout Catholic. But these quotes, to a large extent, seem bothersome.


He's not saying that the succession in the Papacy is illegitimate, he is saying that our knowledge of how the succession of the Popes happened in the earliest days and our evidence of how the earliest Christians regarded succession is rather limited. One thing to understand is that this book is in a sense an abridgement of his earlier, more extensive work 'Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes' in which he goes into this topic in a lot more depth.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Doom wrote:
p.falk wrote:
Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

I'm not trying to rabble rouse. I'm a devout Catholic. But these quotes, to a large extent, seem bothersome.


He's not saying that the succession in the Papacy is illegitimate, he is saying that our knowledge of how the succession of the Popes happened in the earliest days and our evidence of how the earliest Christians regarded succession is rather limited. One thing to understand is that this book is in a sense an abridgement of his earlier, more extensive work 'Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes' in which he goes into this topic in a lot more depth.




I'm glad you said it is some sort of an abridgement of SAINTS AND SINNERS. Does it contain enough new material that I should get it?

GKC

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:28 pm 
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GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
p.falk wrote:
Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

I'm not trying to rabble rouse. I'm a devout Catholic. But these quotes, to a large extent, seem bothersome.


He's not saying that the succession in the Papacy is illegitimate, he is saying that our knowledge of how the succession of the Popes happened in the earliest days and our evidence of how the earliest Christians regarded succession is rather limited. One thing to understand is that this book is in a sense an abridgement of his earlier, more extensive work 'Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes' in which he goes into this topic in a lot more depth.




I'm glad you said it is some sort of an abridgement of SAINTS AND SINNERS. Does it contain enough new material that I should get it?

GKC


Honestly: not really....I don't think there is a single thing in this book that is not also in Saints and Sinners in more depth....not that 'Saints and Sinners' is itself all that comprehensive, 2,000 years of Papal history compressed into 396 pages, obviously it's discussions are of a somewhat cursory nature....

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:57 pm 
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Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
p.falk wrote:
Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

I'm not trying to rabble rouse. I'm a devout Catholic. But these quotes, to a large extent, seem bothersome.


He's not saying that the succession in the Papacy is illegitimate, he is saying that our knowledge of how the succession of the Popes happened in the earliest days and our evidence of how the earliest Christians regarded succession is rather limited. One thing to understand is that this book is in a sense an abridgement of his earlier, more extensive work 'Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes' in which he goes into this topic in a lot more depth.




I'm glad you said it is some sort of an abridgement of SAINTS AND SINNERS. Does it contain enough new material that I should get it?

GKC


Honestly: not really....I don't think there is a single thing in this book that is not also in Saints and Sinners in more depth....not that 'Saints and Sinners' is itself all that comprehensive, 2,000 years of Papal history compressed into 396 pages, obviously it's discussions are of a somewhat cursory nature....


As Duffy says.

Ok. I'll put something else on the list.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:04 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
Is it unreasonable to ask if this undermines papal succession? If it seems that the papal seat, papal authority appears to become some after the fact measure not motivated by all concerns biblical/tradition?

There's an old saying that people who like sausage and laws should never watch either one being made. The same can be said to some extent of Church doctrine. Rarely is the development of the faith carried out simply by theologians in disinterested pursuit of the faith. There are always worldly concerns affecting the process. That doesn't matter; the Holy Spirit works through the whole process, even the apparently overwhelmingly secular parts of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:41 am 
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That's a good point and I completely agree with you, Obi - with the workings of the Holy Spirit.

I just had some clean narrative in my head that when Jesus entrusted Peter with the keys that it became immediately clear to him (Peter) that those keys would represent a succession of Bishops of Rome who would follow after him.

I understand and appreciate that Church doctrine isn't always clear and that it requires fleshing out and formalizing by the pope to speak infalliby on the matter. It just seems very inconvenient that at the earliest links of that papal succession appear to be either broken or not latched to anything immediately prior or immediately after.

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 Post subject: Re: Ten Popes Who Shook the World
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:25 am 
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I thought to myself "why not just ask Eamon Duffy directly?"...
so I did.

Here are his responses:

Quote:
I’m very sorry my little book has caused you some uneasiness, but I don’t really think you need be concerned. You might find it helpful to look at the opening chapter of my larger full-scale history of the Popes, Saints and Sinners, which treats the issues you raise in more detail.

But if I can address your worries briefly: two issues seem clear enough: the new testament attributes a distinctive and primary role to the apostle Peter, which he received from Christ himself: and from the earliest point at which there is evidence, it was assumed in the early Christian world that in some sense or other, the apostolic authority of BOTH Peter and Paul inhered in the church at Rome: so by the third and probably by the late second century, churches elsewhere in the mediterranean were referring problems and seeking guidance from the Church at Rome, and deferring (if not absolutely!) to its authority. By the third century, that assumption of apostolic authority had become the subject of overt theological reflection and debate, and at that point bible texts, including “Thou art Peter....” get cited in its favour. The fact that those texts aren’t cited in the way familiar to modern RCs like you and me till then, doesn’t , so far as I can see, bring into question the validity of the Roman Church’s claims – after all, the doctrine of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit didn’t get defined till the 5th century , but we don’t for that reason doubt the truth of the doctrine. Theological reflection takes time to articulate the faith the Church had been practising before anyone got round to working out how you would justify or explain it.

As for the succession of popes, I think the key thing to grasp is that the inheritor of the Apostolic charism at Rome was the CHURCH at Rome: the early documents are all clear that it is the community as a whole which carries the weight of apostolic authority, though in practice that was inevitably exercised by and expressed through the leaders, in a hierarchic sense, of the Roman church. There must always have been some kind of leadership and oversight (which is what the word “bishop” means) after the age of the apostles, but for historical and sociological and ethnic reasons there were always a range of Christian communities at Rome, so that oversight, or episcopacy, seems to have been exercised at first through a number of presbyters, what we would now call a College, and only gradually focussed as everywhere else in the person of a single “monarchic” bishop, a process which seems to have been completed in Rome by about 160 or so, and which was probably slower to settle there than in many other christian communities, because Rome was so vast a place, and the churches reflected the social reality of the city, so full of ethnic and linguistic diversity as the greatest and most cosmopolitan city in the ancient world . I myself see no problem about taking that process of settlement, and the establishment of a single unitary authority over the various churches in the city – as a providential evolution, in continuity with the ministry of the Apostles, and I can’t see myself that this prevents us seeing the popes as the rightful inheritors of the Apostolic ministry. But the fact that it was the community, the Church of Rome, in the first instance, and only secondarily the individual bishops of that Church of Rome, who were understood as inheriting the Apostolic role, is a salutary check on some absolutist understandings of what the papacy is and how it should be exercised. You might like to look at the very fine (and short!) book on all this, just titled The Bishop of Rome, by the distinguished Dominican theologian, Jean Tillard (now, sadly, dead) .

I hope some of that is helpful to you
All good wishes
Eamon Duffy

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