Defending the Papacy Against the Orthodox, Sedevacantists, and Hyperpapalists (Guest: Erick Ybarra)

Defending the papacy has always been a primary obligation of Catholics engaging in apologetics, but in the era of a weak pope, it becomes particularly challenging. We’ll give practical tips on how to take on all challengers.

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Crisis Point
Defending the Papacy Against the Orthodox, Sedevacantists, and Hyperpapalists (Guest: Erick Ybarra)
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Guest

Erick Ybarra is a revert to the Catholic faith from Protestantism and has spent over a decade studying the doctrinal nature of the divisions that exist within Christendom, particularly between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, as well as Protestantism. He is a speaker that has appeared on various social media outlets and is the author of the magisterial book, “The Papacy: Revisiting the Debate between Catholics and Orthodox.”

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Transcript

Eric Sammons:

How do you engage in Apologetics in age of corruption and heresy within the Catholic Church? We’re going to talk to a leading apologist today about this challenge and how we can overcome it. Well, I’m Eric Sammons, your host, editor in chief of Crisis Magazine. Before we get started, I just want to encourage people to subscribe to the channel, to like this podcast, like this episode, let other people know about it. Also, follow us on social media @CrisisMag in all the major social media channels and even some of the minor ones. Subscribe to our newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com, fill in your email, and we’ll send you our articles each morning, usually two articles a day, right into your inbox. So we have a return guest today, Erick Ybarra. He is, I’ll read his bio. Most people know who he is, but I’m going to read it anyway ’cause I like it.

He’s a revert to the Catholic faith from Protestantism, has spent over a decade studying the doctrinal nature of the divisions that exist within Christendom, particularly between Catholics in Eastern Orthodox as well as Protestantism. He’s a speaker that has appeared on various social media outlets. And he’s the author of what I call the Magisterial book, The Papacy: Revisiting the Debate, I have it right here, the Debate Between Catholics and Orthodox. And I feel like I might be the first, I was the first to finish this book. I mean, I’m not talking about the people who read it before it was published. I mean after it was published, I got it. I told Emmaus wrote, “Send it to me as soon as you get it.” They sent it to me. I got into it that night. And I literally think I read the whole thing within about a week or two, so I feel like I might be the first. What do you think, Erick? Do you think I was the first to finish it?

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, besides the blind peer reviewers before the publication, yeah, I think you were.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. Okay, good. I feel that’s like a point of pride to me. No, I mean it really was. Okay. I’m going to show it on the screen here sideways. You see how it even looks thinner than it actually is in person? It is, what is it, 800 pages, 700? Yeah, about 750.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, it’s a little over 700. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

And it goes through every argument. We’ve already had a podcast about the book, and so I’m not going to go through that again, but I recommend people, if you want to have detailed explanations of the papacy, particularly the papacy of the first millennium, the debates between Protestants, I’m sorry, Orthodox and Catholics of understanding the papacy during that time, this is the book to get, because it goes through every argument, every debate that happened back then, every incident and councils, whatever, and it gives a very great overview of it. So again, thank you for writing that. It’s excellent.

Erick Ybarra:

You’re too kind, Eric. I appreciate that. I put a lot of work into it and it’s over 10 years of labor. I’m just glad it was of help to some people.

Eric Sammons:

Oh, absolutely. And here’s what the most amazing thing is. It essentially is a side hustle of yours. What I mean by that is that’s not your primary, you’re not spending… From the time you get up at night to the time you go to bed at night… Get up in the morning and time you go to bed at night writing and doing this, you are a regular guy working a regular job, right?

Erick Ybarra:

That’s right. Yep.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, so I mean, I don’t know how you do it.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, and six boys. My oldest-

Eric Sammons:

Oh, my goodness. I didn’t realize you have six boys.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, yeah. My oldest is 16 and all the way down to three years old.

Eric Sammons:

Oh, my goodness.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, they’re all really growing strong boys. They’re all like cops. My oldest looks like a SWAT team guy, and they eat a lot of meat and milk.

Eric Sammons:

Oh, my gosh.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. So all those years-

Eric Sammons:

Putting food on that table, my goodness. And I imagine the wrestling and everything that going on in…

Erick Ybarra:

Hospital visits. Oh, yeah. Repair visits. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

I only have one boy and I have six girls, but I remember the one boy I had to tell him, you can only do your stupid stuff when the urgent care is open because the emergency room’s too expensive.

Erick Ybarra:

Right. No, somehow it always lands in those times, right when it’s too late.

Eric Sammons:

He actually cut his finger one time. He got a new knife and literally the first day, of course, he cuts his finger. And he did it literally minutes after the urgent care had closed because we go there, we get there quickly. They had literally closed two minutes before, so I had to take to the emergency room because I was like, “I don’t think this is going to last overnight because it was bleeding pretty bad.” And oh my gosh, the bill at the emergency room at least 10 times more than the urgent care, if not more. It was just ridiculous.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. And that’s one of the reasons why when I was first up and coming, I had a lot of my close friends who were going to seminary and landed jobs as professors, and they were telling me, “Erick, I know you really want to do this, but I just got to let you know unless you go extremely big, supporting your family is going to be really tough.” I really wanted to go to seminary and everything, but I took the guidance of so many voices, and I think they were all right.

Eric Sammons:

And I tell young men, friends of my kids and stuff like that, they’re going into theology at Francis University student bill, I make it very clear to them, “Listen, if you’re also planning to have a big family,” which most of them are, they hope to have a big family someday, I’m like, “Unless your last name is Hahn, your first name is Scott, you are going to be struggling mightily to put food on the table to go into theology.” And I usually warn them, “I’m not saying you can’t get a minor in it and be interested in it. You do it on the side, but it is not full-time work for the vast majority of people. That’s for sure.”

Erick Ybarra:

I mean, it can be done. Some of your listeners are like, “Wow, I’m doing it.” It can be done. I don’t want to discourage anybody. But for my particular set of, we got eight people in here, and I think that the route I chose was wisest. But, I also followed the path of some of my other friends who were engineers, working in IT who made theology a hobby of theirs because we know so many people in academia, we get all the literature, so I just push the gas all the way to the floor with my free time, and my entire adult life now I’ve been studying every day.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. I mean, that’s great. And my first 15 years of marriage, I was a computer programmer, so I mean I was able to support my family with that. But like you, I would spend all my free time reading theology and just as much as… And free time usually means after the kids go to bed, that’s what free time means, until you finally fall asleep at night and just spent all reading and things like that. And then eventually I went into more full-time work into this. So this is a good little for all the young men who are listening right now. Just as long as your eyes are wide open, it’s fine. Just don’t go into it thinking you’re going to have a career from day one, where you can support a big family in this industry. And really you should do it because you’re passionate about it, you’re good at it and things like that.

But anyway, so enough about that. Actually what I want to do tonight is, or today, I want to give a little bit of a breakdown, some practical apologetics, particularly related to the papacy. We talked about the papacy at the first millennium and stuff like that in our last podcast with you about your book. But I want to break down like, okay, it’s 2024, how do Catholics defend the papacy when we have attacks? We’ve always had attacks from multiple angles on the papacy, but there’s certain weaknesses that we are, in today, in the era of Pope Francis, that we were not used to. We didn’t live in the time of Alexander VI or whatever it was, we didn’t live in the time Pope Honorius. We live in the time of JP II or Benedict. And so now all of a sudden, the past 11 years has been a little different.

So we have Orthodox, we have the Sedevacantist, we have the Hyperpapalists, we have the Protestants still. Because I know when I became Catholic in the nineties, the number one focus was defending the papacy against Protestants. Obviously, we still have to do that today, but I feel like today’s defensive papacy is very different than it was 30 years ago when I first became Catholic. It’s not the same arguments often. In fact, some of our arguments back then are a little bit embarrassing to be honest. And so I really want to get some practical help here. So first just give me your overview, big picture, how you go about defending the papacy while being willing at times to criticize the current occupant of the patency.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, those are all good comments there. I could tell you’ve been reflecting on this a lot. To get to this subject of discussion, I think one of the first things we should do is we should recalibrate our expectations. Sometimes we have an idea of what the church should be like. And you noted some of us came up during the pontificate of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and now we’re enduring the pontificate of Pope Francis. And so it’s like you’ve been driving a Mercedes that’s got a wonderful engine and it’s just a wonderful car, and then all of a sudden we’re in a different situation now and you get in the car and maybe it doesn’t turn on or you break down and it’s like, “Oh, no, I thought all the promises said that something like this wouldn’t happen. So what am I going to do?”

Well, I think of what Saint Vincent of Lerins said in the 5th century. He was a monk on a little island just south of the border of France in, the Romans called it Lerina, but we call it… Now, it’s dedicated to Saint Honoratus. But Saint Vincent was a monk at the monastery at this little island, and he’s famous for writing a commodatorium, which is basically a treatise on how do we know the Catholic faith versus heretical novelties. And one of the questions he poses in that book, which you could read for free by the way, just go to New Advent, it’s available for anybody. He does a survey of all the heresies up to his day. He went through the Gnostics, he goes through the Montanists, he’ll go through the early Novatianists, Donatist, Aryans up to Nestorius, and he posed the question, why does God allow this?

We could see especially how Gnostics didn’t have a lot of success. Perhaps the Donatists didn’t because even though they took over so much of North Africa, the rest of the world didn’t fall prey to it. But then he said the Aryan crisis is an exception because it took over many bishops in the West, many bishops in the East, Antioch Syria, even in the imperial chancery in the 350s and 360s and early 370s. And he asked the question, “Why would God allow something like that to happen to his most holy precious bride?” Because it almost seems like, “Hey, the husband, our Lord, is not nourishing the body.” So it almost, you would think, “Well, this is Christ’s fault for letting his bride’s dress get this dirty,” and that’s not the way to think about this. He says, “The reason why God allows this is for trials, to test our faith as to what we are going to do in the face of challenge.”

And it goes back to Old Testament times when God came and did something mighty to deliver his people. And then immediately after he throws them into the cage of challenge, like the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. They immediately went into the wilderness. And there, they were deprived of some of the niceties and some of the sweet pleasures that they had in Egypt, and what should have been a three month journey ended up being 40 years long. Even before that, they were in Egypt for over 400 years. Then when they come into the land, they experience a little bit of a taste of that promised land, but then due to the human sinfulness, human weakness, they’re in exile. And so there’s all these tests, and God’s testing us. And so that’s how I would look at it today with the papacy. And that’s unique because we can deal with maybe the Aryans, because Rome at the time was forced into her, what we think is on the historical record, somewhat of a lapse in Liberias, right?

But here we’ve got a lauded and celebrated and very purposeful situation where we don’t really have access to those explanations where somebody’s put under duress or something like that. So I just think that our expectations need to be recalibrated to expect new, perhaps unprecedented challenges, and to realize that this is not out of step with Providence. It’s not out of step with God’s character. It doesn’t mean that Christ is mistreating his wife. It means that he’s purifying her. Now, that doesn’t get to the intellectual hurdles, but I think that’s just a good way to introduce the idea because we have to realize that it’s not always going to be flowery beds of ease because of what the promise says. And that might… Go ahead.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I was just going to say, one of the things I’ve said a few times is, I feel like when it comes to the papacy, particularly in the last maybe 150 years or so, we’ve added a number of manmade barnacles to the ship that are really not essential to the core of what we are supposed to believe about the papacy. And so when those start to look like, “Oh, they’re not really working like we thought,” we blame God, or we say all these promises, or He’s not the Pope, or whatever the case may be, but really it’s more of a matter of the way we thought about the papacy.

Because I think I know in the nineties, like I said, when I became Catholic, it was very common among conservative Catholics to be the proof that we’re right is the Pope agrees with us that we’re with, because we’d had these terrible liberal bishops, Weakland or whoever the case may be back then, and we’d be like, “But,” and maybe a terrible pastor, “But the guy up top, that’s proving what side God’s on because the guy at the top is on the same side as us, therefore we know we’re on the right side.”

That’s why we know we’re on the right side, is because we agree with the Pope. Even if the Bishop or the pastor, whoever, is terrible, we agree with the Pope. And I think that was something that we took like, “Okay, therefore, that’s how we know. But then now, and we can’t make that argument today because we don’t agree with the Pope on a lot of these issues.” And so I think that’s where that challenge comes of, okay, what was the purpose of the papacy? Is it so that we can say we agree with it and therefore we’re right? Or what is the essential mission and core of the papacy?

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. Yes. And I think that if you only have space for a couple of paragraphs, it does look like we’re at a systemic failure and we should move on to alternatives. But thankfully, we have more space. We look back at history, we look at what’s written in the archives that are still kept in Rome herself about this issue of limitations to the papacy. I know that this is, we talk about it a lot, but it was a subject of discussion and many theologians have been talking about it for a very long time, but not much treatment has been given at the upper ranks of magisterial decrees on this matter.

And so it actually gives us the opportunity to sort of explore what can we situate in a situation like this. It’s obvious that pure perfection is not the standard because even the apostles don’t pass that test, let alone St Peter. Tries to say, “Well, Peter denied our Lord, so therefore we should basically just understand how maximal papal corruption is simply to be deduced as an echo of what happened in his life.” That’s not true. We are in a very new situation, Peter repented and was immediately willing to put himself into martyrdom just a few, what, four or five weeks later, right? So I think that we have a lot in front of us, and there’s too much to read, but there are some primary sources in the theological spectrum on what is the capacity of papal failure.

And we have at the level of ecumenical councils, for example, the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which our Orthodox and our Protestant friends know very well about, Pope Honorius. And Pope Honorius was, it surprises me because that situation is still misunderstood by a lot of Catholics today, especially some of those defenders of the papacy who are confident of what’s called infallible safety or they have different degrees of infallible safety, but if they can, they make it such to the point where basically the Pope in his public office really just can’t do anything that would harm the church.

Otherwise, again, it’s like the groom letting…it’s like Christ, the husband, letting his bride suffer. But the Honorius situation is so ripe for fresh information on this because if you study the history of what happened there at the council and how the church received it in the forthcoming councils, it basically disproves what many of the, I call them papal maximalists, even though they all have different degrees of maximalism, it really shows you that they haven’t really absorbed what has happened as a matter of historical fact. And the Catholic Church Rome has never revisited that matter and said officially, “Oh, the council was wrong,” or, “Honorius was actually right,” or, “He was condemned as a private theologian, not in his official…” There’s never been any official treatment of this. And so it’s laid out there for people to look at.

Eric Sammons:

One of the things I thought was fascinating, you brought up in your book about, I think it was Honorius, and correct me if I get the details wrong about this, but essentially at the same council, maybe it was a Sixth Council, they condemn a pope and they also say the Pope can never fail. They literally say both at the same council, and you just leave it there and say, “Yeah, that’s what they did.” And so somehow they don’t have a problem with that, and yet obviously we seem to have a problem with that. So there’s some reconciliation in their mind because clearly it’s the exact same people saying this. And so we need to wrestle with that and say, “Okay, how…” Somehow they use this language, “Rome will never fail,” whatever. And yet they also in the same breath basically say, “But this Pope did fail.” And so how do they do that?

Erick Ybarra:

And what’s interesting is if you go to some of the commentators today, whose names won’t be mentioned, who go to statements about papal infallibility from that council, they love going to Pope Agatho’s letter and saying, “Sea, the Holy Sea, the sea of Rome is kept pure at all time, even unto the end of time, according to the promise of our Lord.” They quote Agatho with such enthusiasm, but then they don’t keep reading because within Agatho’s own letter, he says, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel,” actually, he says, “Woe is me if I neglect to preach the gospel,” which is slightly nuanced, right? Because there’s not preaching the gospel. Then there’s neglect.

You can be perfectly both in material and form Orthodox, but neglect to teach the gospel. And there’s still anathema to that a person, according to Pope Agatho. And it just so happens that the same kind of anathema that Agatho said would fall on his own head, unbeknownst to him, because he died before it happened, ended falling on his predecessor. So, if you’re going to have enthusiasm about one part of the letter, have enthusiasm about the other parts of the letter, and then also have enthusiasm about how the council responded. And so, if your papal theology doesn’t allow for a reverberation of Christ’s divine institution with the papacy, but also this possibility of eternal anathema, they even say eternal anathema to the heretic Honorius. You can’t have that in your papal theology, then just don’t even go with any enthusiasm back to history.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. We have to accept both aspects of it somehow. And it is difficult. I mean, it’s not to act like it’s some easy reconciliation we can have, but the fact of the matter is, is that somehow the church has kept that alive and that tension between the two. I want to jump to 2024, not the Sixth Ecumenical Council necessarily, and 2024, and I want to address the major critics of the papacy. And what I want to do here, because I want to make this very practical for people who are listening, watching, I want you to argue first from the standpoint of the critics, the people against the Catholic teaching, and then for it. Because this is, you see St. Thomas Aquinas famously did this, but all the good theologians, apologists, they do this.

You cannot argue against something unless you understand it well. And so I want to start, and I want to do three major groups, the Orthodox, the Sedevacantist, and the Hyperpapalist. And I know those terms are sometimes dispute. I’m not trying to demean anybody by those terms, it’s just those are the common ones, and so I’ll use that. So for the Orthodox, for an Orthodox in 2024, what is probably their best argument today against the papacy, particularly in light of Pope Francis?

Erick Ybarra:

Well, I think their best argument is, I think there’s a modern one and a historical one. The modern one is that the papacy is, especially the pontificate of Pope Francis, has become one of just paralyzing confusion. I mean, the best of us are still scratching our heads over how to deal with the new revision of Paragraph 2267 on the death penalty. Some of us, the best of us well learned are still scratching our heads over Amoris laetitia Chapter 8. Some of us smart and dumb are still scratching our heads on how to reconcile and prove continuity with fiduciary super accounts. So they’ll just look at that and they’ll just say, “Hey, look, you guys are motivated not to see a contradiction. We all see the contradiction.

And so how much more clarity do you need to see that the papacy has basically become a source of error and pestilence.” And then the historical one would be, look, anytime a bishop did this in the first, they were met with a consequence, which is to be void of the peaceful communion of the church, which means that they would remove that particular bishop’s name from the celebration at the altar. Excommunication, in other words, some form of excommunication. And there were a couple of times where that was done even against the bishop of Rome. So I think those two things that puts gas in their tank, it gets them on the road, and I think it’s going to be a tight race.

Eric Sammons:

And we’ve seen a number of Catholics. I am sure you have two who have gone Orthodox over these issues. My friend Father Peter here, who’s an Orthodox Priest, I’ve had him on the podcast before. I mean, every time Francis does something crazy, he’ll put something out saying, “See?” And something I’m always just like, “I can’t blame him.” I mean, he obviously doesn’t believe in the papacy as Catholics do. So, if he sees proofs what he thinks are proofs against it, then he’s going to use that to explain why Orthodoxy is the right way to go.

I have a hard time getting upset at our Orthodox brothers and sisters when they what we might call exploit, but at least use these because I think there’s a reason they do that. So the question then becomes what is the best Catholic argument then against that Orthodox position, against the confusion? And again, like you said, if it’s just a paragraph or two, it’s difficult, but what are the talking points, so to speak, on a high level of how do Catholics respond to that and defend the Catholic teaching?

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, so our argument or rebuttal, I hesitate to say refutation, but at least a good strong rebuttal would be the fact, it would come from the history. We would say that there’s basically, I call it a minimal facts case. There’s just three minimal facts that if they are true from the sources of antiquity in the first 1000 years from sources that both Catholics and Orthodox unquestionably accept, so scripture, tradition, ecumenical councils, things like that. If in that pool of sources, we see that the whole church believed that Christ purposefully when he stood in the flesh before men singled out Peter and made him the rock of the church, the universal shepherd to feed the sheep and the helper to the brethren by praying for his faith. That’s fact number one. Number two, that office of being the rock, the head shepherd and the confirmer of the brethren does not die with Peter, but it continues in a lineal succession in his throne that was stationed in Rome. That’s number two.

And then number three, that this hierarchical governmental design is of divine institution and therefore must survive somehow all the way to the end of time. So, if the pool of sources that both east and west must accept, the ecumenical councils, the Church fathers, the unanimous consent of the fathers, the majority consensus of the fathers, the scripture and the general tenure of tradition and the impulse and the activity of theologians and bishops and doctors and saints for the first 1000 years, if they all prove those three things, then that means that Catholicism, as much as she is suffering with this whole idea of the papacy, is the only one that can even have hope of matching those sources.

So even if we are bruised and battered, the historical landscape doesn’t really give too much breathing room for the Orthodox to say, “We have the ecclesiology of the first millennium,” even though we do see things that are part of their ecclesiology, like synodality, we see conciliar theology, we see councils and synods. But the thing is, those things still happened in Rome after the schism. The Council of Lyons was a council, the Lateran Councils were councils that… Trent, Vatican, even Vatican I, those were… Florence, the Council of Florence. Those were all things that were procedurally done way after papal supremacy was crystal clear in the consciousness of the popes going back to Pope Leo IX, Pope Innocent III, Pope Gregory VII. So you can’t just say, “Well, in the first millennium we did things through synods and councils,” because that doesn’t move the ball down the field at all because papal supremacists were still doing that after the schism, you see?

So I think history, okay? Number two, there are some available explanations to a pontificate, like Pope Francis, which is we have developed a, and we’re not just making this up like, “Oh, well, the Pope is infallible in these strict conditions and he’s fallible in these other general conditions.” No, no, no. If that was unfounded and unprecedented, then I could understand somebody saying, “Ah, you guys just came up with a condition to suit your case.” But what we’re doing is we’re actually digging up the sources of the past and configuring those conditions. How do we do that? What we just talked about, Pope Agatho, Pope Hormisdas, Pope Adrian I, all of them expressed a theory of protection, perpetual protection to the Roman pontiff in his magisterial decrees. And yet we’ve got anathemas to at least two popes, perhaps more depending on what you think about Nicholas and Liberius and a couple others.

But we have failures on records, and then we’ve got this rehearsal of promised protection. So how do you put that together without giving a distinctive conditionality for one realization and then another distinctive condition for another realization for fallibility, failure, mistakes, resistance and things like this. So I think that we have a few explanations, even though they are long, they make us look nerdy. They make us look what they say, “Oh, you’re coping and you’re pope explaining.” Well, we all have to do a little bit of that. I mean, even the Orthodox have to do Bible explaining. They’ve got to do patristic explaining. They’ve got to do counsel explaining. There’s some level everywhere for all of us.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And I think for me, I know one of the things that brought me into the church from Protestantism back in the day was simply grappling with the role of Peter in the New Testament. We ignored it as Protestants, but then when I really looked at it, I’m like, “Okay, something is special about his role.” I didn’t know how to explain it. I didn’t know what it was, but I was like, “Okay, something.” And then when I look at the history like, okay, clearly the first Christians all thought that transferred to Rome, that whatever was special about Peter became special about his successors in Rome. And so the argument’s like, what about he was a bishop of Antioch? I just know that they didn’t think that. All I can tell you is I don’t know why they didn’t give it to Antioch, I just know didn’t.

You could say it’s because the Imperial See, you could say, but all I know is they said Peter had those special privileges in Rome after his death, the successor Peter. And so then it becomes, and then when orthodoxy, it’s like, okay, there’s only one church that even tries to claim that Peter is still special, so to speak, because if you’ve eliminated him from your ecclesiology, which is essentially what the Orthodox have done. I understand that they haven’t really. They keep him in there just as a placeholder almost, but clearly he’s not that to Jesus in the new Testament. And so it’s like I may not like…. Okay, here’s my just being bluntly honest. When I look at the history, I may not like it how it’s always developed. To me, I’m like, “Yeah, I would’ve liked it if the Papacy Maya developed a little bit more low-key than it did, but it’s not my call to determine how history, how divine providence led the papacy to do what it did.”

I go even all the way back to Gregory VII and in the Middle Ages and the explosion of pontifical political power and reach in the church in response to some real serious corruptions that on a whole, I believe it was all done sincerely. I don’t think Gregory VII was like, “Okay, I just want power to myself.” No, he’s like, “I need power because I need to stamp out this corruption. I need to save souls.” That’s why he’s a saint. He should be a saint. But I do look back and I’m like, “Boy, maybe if that hadn’t gone like that, maybe things…” And then you go and then Vatican I, the same type of things with the responses to what was happening in the world. But ultimately all it comes down to is, I only have three options as a Christian because I am not going to get into a defense of why I believe Jesus is really the Christ and God and all that, that’s assumed here, but there’s only three options.

There’s the Orthodox, the Catholics, and the Protestants. And so I don’t have a fourth option to choose from unless I invent my own religion. I know that’s ridiculous. So when it comes down to the Protestants, obviously disqualified, aka the Orthodox, like I said, they have pushed Peter aside, they’ve put him in timeout in another room and it’s like, no. And the Catholics are the only ones who maybe I think at times they elevate them too much, but at least the most consistent in my mind with what we see from the evidence of the New Testament and the evidence of the early church of how the first Christians viewed Jesus’s words, his actions. And so it’s like, “Okay, that’s my default. I have to go with that.” And maybe that’s not the greatest argument. I get people want maybe something a little more clean-cut, a little bit more obvious, but for me it’s like Peter’s own words. Where else are we going to go? So that’s the only place we can go.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, I think that when you earn the trenches for long enough and you see what you’re actually dealing with intellectually, it’s actually a very strong argument. And you’re right, the Orthodox, they claim to have a patronology to primacy, but it’s really dormant. It’s like a dormant volcano. And whenever Rome will return, that’s when there will be vitality to the volcano. But otherwise, it could be dormant for over a thousand years, that just seems very unfitting. And yeah, I think I’m comfortable going to the grave with the reasoning you just gave. Right.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. So I want to talk about though now Sedevacantists. So these are for those, I think most people are aware what that is, Catholics today who believe the See of Peter, the Chair of Peter is vacant, that Pope Francis is not a legitimate pope. And I know there’s different variations. There’s those who believe the last valid pope was Pius XII in 1950s, those who think Benedict didn’t resign validly, people who think that Francis was validly elected, but then he was through his heresy, he’s lost his office, all these different things, and I don’t need to go into all those details, but they accept those three points you made earlier.

They accept Catholic ecclesiology that, yes, Peter has a role, he really is the head of the church and all this stuff, but we just simply don’t have a pope right now because of the various reasons. What would you say is the strongest argument in their favor? Because again, let’s give the other side so to speak. It’s due because if it wasn’t a compelling argument, people wouldn’t be following it. So clearly there has to be some compelling arguments in favor of study of Sedevacantism today or else. I know some very intelligent people who subscribe to this, they’re not dummies, and they’ve thought about it. So what would you say is that most compelling argument for saying that, “Well, Francis just isn’t the Pope.”

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. Well, look, they’re capturing all those points of history. So they’ve got a great historical foundation in accepting the papacy and all those things. But I think that their greatest argument is the face value and sometimes even well exegeted proof from the Pope’s own mouths. And here I’m not restricting it to Francis. If you sit down with a Sedevacantist and you go through and you comb through what some popes said about the sensitivity of the Roman Pontiff’s office, very sensitive to failure and heresy. If heresy or any, even the smallest bit of poison comes in through incorrect doctrine, then it’s slight scratch and it’s bleeding. The Pope is no longer the Pope. And then we go to other statements where, “Look, Pope here is unashamedly saying contradicting what this other Pope said or what this other council said.” So you’ve got an on-and-off switch result. So I think that’s strong. I think that they shouldn’t feel stupid, and I think it’s sucking the intelligence out of everybody to just pretend like these people are stupid.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And I know a lot of the times when I’ve had discussions, debates with Sedevacantists, a lot of times they throw in my face, and I understand why, a lot of statements of popes particularly in the late 19th, early 20th century, Pius X, Leo XIII, various other ones, where I mean Pius X, there’s a quote, a couple, a number of them, but one I’m thinking of the top of my head is just like you can’t disagree with the opinions of the Pope. And if you do, you’re not being a good Catholic. And here we are disagreeing with the opinions of Pope Francis, so clearly why should people care what the Erick say, Erick Ybarra and Eric Sammons when Saint Pius X was saying, “No, you can’t do that.” So yeah, I get the compellingness of that. But why would you then say, why is it not truly compelling to us? Why is it that we don’t go that route? And why do we think that’s ultimately not the path as Catholics we should go down today?

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. So here’s where I go once a little bit because most of the time, and I would argue I’d be prepared to argue all of the time. I might have a reservation on this issue with the death penalty, for example. And simply out of ignorance, not so because I think that it’s impossible, but I think that the popes that are purported to be overturning apostolic tradition is not precisely what they’re doing. And this is where I’m probably going to upset some of your listeners because I think that some of these errors that you’re going to find from John the 23rd or forward or purported errors is not so much in a bold-faced denial of dogma. In fact, they often will reassert their adherence to dogmatic tradition, but then they want to separate rooms, the room of dogmatic value. We’re not going to deal with that.

We know we can’t touch that, but we’re going to go into the room of ecclesial management. How do we bring the gospel to the new world pastoral theology? How are we going to tweak the presentation of things? And how are we going to deal with new founded circumstances and the complexities of people’s lives that perhaps before were hidden in the footnotes of the manuals, but now it’s at our front door due to postmodernism, liberalism, sexual revolution and all these things. And I think that they want to assert the doctrine that we’ve always held, but then be flexible and elastic with what they can do while barely maintaining any commonsensical vitality to the doctrine. But at face value, it really does look sneaky and conniving. It really does look like an attempt to, “Okay, fine, I’m handcuffed and I can’t change doctrine, but I’m going to introduce a change through another way.” It looks like that. It really does.

But I would say that because they have not given a statement that boldly contradicts the dogmatic teaching, I would say that that shows that they’re a slave to that dogmatic boundary, and it serves as an exposure to the imprudence of their policies. And us who want to keep tradition going, all we have to do, we don’t even have to do anything. We just have to keep talking about what the dogmas are. And it just continually has this natural function of letting these policies out to dry in the sun because of how awfully unharmonious it is to the traditional Catholic teaching. So to my Sedevacantist friend, that’s first, I would try to show that it’s not actually the reversal that they think it is.

Eric Sammons:

Right. I mean fiducia supplicans is a good example of that where why does Colonel Fernandez feel the need to explicitly say, “We’re not denying the teaching on marriage.” Now, I think you and I would agree with this. I know I think that then he goes to undermine as much as possible, but undermine isn’t the same thing as deny. There is a difference between the two. And it’s interesting, it’s like you said, they’re almost handcuffed. I realized some of it you could argue it’s just the devil being smarter. If Fernandez denied it, then that would be, it just wouldn’t work as well as undermining it. And I get that. And I think there’s truth in that. I’m not denying it. The devil probably is working like that. But the fact is that there does seem to be an ability just to come out and say, because for example, if Pope Francis came out tomorrow and declared the church’s teaching on marriage can include a marriage between two men, and this is something for all to believe, now we’re in a different game.

Now, we’ve completely changed the rules, and now we have our discussions on a much more deep level of, “Okay, what are we talking about here when it comes to the Sedevacantist and whether or not he’s the pope or not?” And one of my big things is always that the consequences of rejecting Jorge Bergoglio as a valid pope are immense and I personally think catastrophic to the entire position, what the Catholic church is, because what it means is that you not only have this one man who is for whatever reason not the Pope, but you have the entire structure that is divinely ordained, divinely founded of the hierarchy, telling the church this is who the Pope is, and they are 100% wrong. We’re not talking some of them wrong because that’s happened in history, where maybe 20% of them, or even maybe 50%. We’re talking, 100% of them are all saying they’re all wrong.

That is not one guy who happens to be wrong, maybe Jorge Bergoglio is, but it’s everybody. And so to me, you’ve just undercut the Apostolicity of the Catholic church. And then you’re now talking about foundational issues going all the way back to Jesus Christ himself and the history and all that. And so that’s where I think that the consequences. And so, if there is another answer, we almost have to go to that one because it’s like otherwise it’s just so grave to just say, “Well, this guy’s not the Pope.” It just so grave the consequences that we have to go with. Well, let’s look for another answer. And I think there are other answers that are intellectually compelling like we talked about. So it’s not like it’s that hard, but still, I think that’s the thought process I would challenge or say to the Sedevacantist friends to look at.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, so that gets right into the issue of how far is too far, because we talked about God allowing trials, but we would all agree that there are some conditions that would’ve been a complete contradiction to God’s promise. So if Abraham’s whole entire genetic stock and progeny cease to exist before the tabernacle was built, I mean, that’s it, right? That’s it. I mean, at that point, it’s a very obvious contradiction. We’re just wasting our time trying to put the pieces back together. And I think that’s why theologians in the past have all said that the extremity at which this whole papal theory is falsified is when the Pope makes an official obligation to the church in consequence of which we are damned or put into a position where we’re at least called to sin and offend God by our confession.

If that happens and we’re obliged by absolute we’re required with an absolute mandatory submission, then, yeah, that’s it. We shouldn’t bother with this anymore. We’re released to think of other things. So I think Sedevacantist are getting at that line with the absence of a papal, the hierarchical visibility of the church going into haywire for that long. That to me, it’s akin to the genetic extinction of Abraham’s seed because we don’t have any way of putting the structure back together. So we can talk about the unexpected and surprising trials that God brings to us to directly test our faith, but it’s another animal when we’re talking about like, “Okay, this is a two plus two equals four simplicity. Catholicism’s over with.”

And we should have the fortitude enough to just say it and move on. I know that some people might say, “Oh, you should never say.” I’m not endorsing that. That’s not what I’m saying. But what I’m saying, it does get to a level of intellectual clarity where your hypotheses, your theological opinion, your deductive reasoning gets us to where it’s like, “Okay, this is wrong. You’re wrong. This doesn’t make any sense.” Even if we can’t explain everything from top to bottom, it’s just so absurd that it doesn’t merit consideration. And I think that’s where we’re at with the Sedevacantists, with all due respect to them, many brilliant people. But yeah.

Eric Sammons:

And I’ve said this to a few, I’ve said, I’d be an atheist before I’d be a Sedevacantist, not because it’s like a Sedevacantist is some type of leper or something like that, but just simply intellectually, my brain would not allow that. It just doesn’t work. So I want to talk now about the other extreme within Catholicism, what I’m calling Hyperpapalism, the idea of we must defend the pope in almost all of his actions no matter what he does. And there’s variations that now this is one I feel like is the default position of the good-natured Catholic. You should, the good-natured Catholic maybe hasn’t studied every detail of history or whatever is like, “Yeah, I’m on the Pope’s side.” It seems to be the safe way to go to be on the Pope’s side. And I think there’s a lot to that.

And I think in most times in history, that’s probably going to work out very well for you. So I’m already suggesting what I think is a good argument, but what would you say is probably the strongest argument today for this idea of, we should just follow Pope Francis and basically all he does. Yeah, I mean, we don’t necessarily have to agree with his not doing anything about Father Rupnik and the horrendous stuff he’s doing, but in general, his teachings on the death penalty, Amoris laetitia, fiducia supplicans, various other things he said about this and that. “We should just go along with him,” what do you think is the strongest argument for that position?

Erick Ybarra:

Well, the strongest position is what the intuition that’s in there. God gave us a shepherd. We’re the sheep, sheep obey, shepherds lead. So I’m just going to go where the rod and the staff lead me. And Christ gave us the Pope, so if Pope Francis or any other pope were to lead me to poisonous waters and poisonous grass, I’ll just say, “Lord, I did what you told me to do and follow the shepherd you appointed.”

Eric Sammons:

Right. And now some would say, true Hyperpapalist would say, “He can’t lead us to poisonous waters.” But I do know the arguments a lot of times, you’re not going to be condemned by Christ if your answer is, “I followed the shepherd you gave me.” And so I think that is probably, and that’s basically what you’re saying, that is a strong argument if I’m concerned about my soul, the salvation of my soul, and if I can put it back in Christ’s hands and say, “Well, I’m following the shepherd he gave me. You can’t really blame me for that. I’m just one of these dumb sheep.” I do think that’s a strong argument. And I’ve always sympathetic towards especially just your lay Catholic, just normal just soul of the earth type person who’s not into theology. They’re just like, “Hey, I’m just going to go along. And Pope said that. Okay. I guess that’s what I believe now.” I get that. But what would you then say, though, is the reason, the dangers of that position and the problems of having that position today and why we don’t take that position today under Pope Francis.

Erick Ybarra:

Right. Yeah, that’s the question, right? Well, I think it runs the risk of a gross distortion of the Church’s teaching for the last 2000 years. It gives way to this idea that what Catholicism is all about, is this absolute sovereignty in the hands of the Pope, almost like a wizard or a crystal ball, where if he came out and said, “Catholicism and Islam are equal,” we would have to rewire our brain to convince ourselves that what we would perceive as a contradiction is only an apparent contradiction. It’s not real because of the Pope’s decree. And something like that, this like a positivism, this absolute sovereign control over Christian faith is a gross distortion of the Catholic doctrine of the papacy because… It’s also a gross distortion of the Catholic Church’s doctrine on ecclesiology because it empties out the Holy Spirit’s work in all the other organs of the body.

It makes it out like the only repository of Divine Grace is in the Pope, be he a wicked man or a holy man, it matters not, and that’s such a disgusting theology. We’ve always taught that the Holy Spirit fills the body of Christ, all the body members of Christ. Is there a teaching church and a learning church? Yes, there is. But even in the best theologians, and even in Vatican I, and thankfully in Vatican II, we have a theology of the Holy Spirit’s vivification and illuminatory work in the body of Christ, even the learning church and what she receives. And so the Pope should not be seen as this person who enters into office with sovereign control, and we have to kind be on red alert for whatever contradictions we thought were contradictions are now no longer contradictions. Forget that. No. The Pope, he’s assigned as a protector to something that we’ve all known, and if that’s not the case, then Catholicism is not Catholicism anymore.

He’s put in that office in order to protect a mystical organization that has been going on for 2000 years and is observable to illuminated eyes all the way down from the top to the bottom. And so, in a sense, there is no one who can judge the Pope. There’s no one who could legally judge the Pope, but he’s not the only law in the church. The ecumenical councils are a law to the Pope. The unanimous consensus of the church fathers, even according to Pius IX, is a law to the Pope. He cannot dispense with that. The Petrine office is, from one angle, people see it as this thing of unlimited control. And other people from another angle see it as where he’s locked in to protect the faith that we have always known.

And there’s just a terrible tension between those two things because if somebody says, “Well, he’s protecting the faith,” yes, but you don’t think he is because you think he’s bringing in a novelty, but what he’s really doing is just asserting the old faith. It’s a novelty to you. It’s not a novelty in reality. So they play the epistemological game. But I don’t think that Catholicism stands on two feet anymore. If all of us, the Cardinals, the College of Bishops, the clergy, and all the faithful have to look at something and say, “We can’t figure out how that is connected to the past,” but we will say it’s connected to the past. At that point I think we’re at akin to an extinction of the Abrahamic kin because that is not how Catholicism is supposed to work. I’m sorry Eric, let me just…

Eric Sammons:

Go ahead.

Erick Ybarra:

So just like the absurdity of Sedevacantism, I think that the ones who give this dictatorial control to the Pope, they’re also getting into the same kind of absurdity.

Eric Sammons:

I feel like the Sedevacantist are going against revelation, the revelation of how the church is founded, the proper structures, the authority of the hierarchy, stuff like that. Whereas, the Hyperpapalist are going against reason in the sense that we’ve been given reason. We know black isn’t white. We can reason it. We don’t need a pope to tell us that we don’t need a church even to tell us that, that’s something, our God-given reason, natural law, things of that nature. We can know the principle of non-contradiction without a church. We don’t need a church to tell us that.

Erick Ybarra:

That’s right.

Eric Sammons:

And so therefore, if anybody in the church, whether it be your pastor, your bishop, the Pope himself says something that violates the principle of non-contradiction, then we can just simply shrug our shoulders, say, “Well, he’s wrong.” And not because we have some authority from God that I can speak… It’s not a Protestant thing because the number one argument of a lot of Hyperpapalist, “You’re being a Protestant, putting yourself in authority.” I’m not putting myself in authority. I’m simply using the reason God gave me to know that if something violates the principle non-contradiction, then I don’t have to accept it, that I know it’s not true because it can’t be true. And so therefore, if a pope says something that contradicts what another pope says, I know there are only three possibilities, both popes are wrong, Pope A is wrong, or Pope B is wrong.

It’s not possible that Pope A and Pope B are both correct because they contradict each other. So therefore, it’s just a very easy thing for me. And I am very well aware though of the dangers that you do start to vie into Protestant territory. You do start to say, “Because I can’t understand what Pope Francis says here, therefore I’m going to reject it because my interpretation is that it contradicts the past.” Clearly there are cases where popes before have said things and it might be like, “Yeah, that’s a challenge. I don’t really see how that is consistent with.” But when it’s a clear-cut case, we know for a fact to this one, this is the most clear one to me, we know the church has always said is legitimate for the state to use the death penalty in certain circumstances. We know that. We know it’s not immoral intrinsically. It can be applied immorally all the time.

You could even argue it’s applied immorally every time today for various reasons. I mean, JP II went down that path a little bit. You can have that argument, but you can’t say it’s intrinsically immoral for a state to apply the death penalty. And this is coming from somebody who hates the state and distrusts it very much, so I acknowledge the church says this. So for Pope Francis to basically imply, I know there’s been mental gymnastics of inadmissible isn’t the same as intrinsically, all that. He’s basically saying he thinks if it harms human dignity, then therefore it’s intrinsically immoral. I mean, that’s the logical conclusion. Therefore, based upon the principle of non-contradiction, I cannot accept that and accept what the church has always said. And so therefore I have to, the only way I can reconcile that is to just simply say, “Well, Pope Francis is wrong here.” I’m going to go with the overwhelming consensus of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium on this.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. And sometimes they’ll come around and say, “Well, you could accept that there’s just an apparent contradiction.” But look, like you said, sometimes it’s just clear-cut. We know the Pope is limited by these things because if he came out and said, “I command you to not obey me,” how does that work? If you obey that command, then you disobey that command. And so even the Pope himself is bound by logic. He can’t deny it. So if I just got up here and said, “I’m not a human being and I don’t speak English.” In my words, I’m showing to you I’m wrong. So a lot of these papal maximalists, they just don’t think that clarity is there.

Eric Sammons:

The only logic is just blind obedience to whatever the Pope says. And I just feel like that, like I said, that violates reason as much as I think the Sedevacantists violate revelation.

Erick Ybarra:

And they contradict themselves too because they’ll spend hours telling you about the levels of Magisterial authority. Well, what are all those levels therefore, unless we can use our reason to make sure which one’s activated and which one isn’t. So even their own teaching, it assumes that we have a capacity to make the right distinctions.

Eric Sammons:

And by definition, if something is not infallible, by definition, that means it can be wrong. Now, it might be, we would say it’s unlikely it’s wrong. We might be able to say, “We should give some amount of religious submission of mind and will,” which I know is abused a lot in a little squishy term, to be honest. But I get that we do give that if there’s not an overwhelming evidence against it. All that fine, but by definition, if it’s not infallible, therefore it could be wrong. And the funny part is that, I mean, I just saw the other day, one of these papal maximalists was talking about was denigrating limbo, the teaching on limbo saying it’s just a trash theology or something like that. Well, by his own view, all the popes who taught pro limbo, those Catholics under them had to believe that and had to accept it. Yet he’s also saying, “Catholics today have to reject it and have to say it’s trash or whatever.” It’s like that’s just against reason again. You can’t have that happen in a consistent church at least, a legitimate church.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. This has been great, and I could go for hours, but I won’t keep you for hours, although I’d enjoy it. I need to come visit sometime, then we can just do it in person for hours. That’d be a lot more fun. But why don’t we just wrap it up and just of give your final thoughts on to just the Catholics out there navigating this kind of, what should be the focus of their thoughts when it comes to when Pope Francis says or does something problematic. Next week we have a new document coming out on human dignity, which a lot of us are nervous about for obvious reasons.

My wife actually joked today that I should just write an article with the problems of it today, jokingly, and then when it comes out, release and say, “By the way, I wrote this before,” because we all know exactly what’s going to happen. They’re going to defend the church’s teaching, traditional teaching and then undermine it. So it’s like we’re going to be able to do that. But what should be our attitude? What should be our way of thinking as Catholics when these things happen?

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah. Well, I think the first thing, and this is going based off of my own message box and a lot of the private conversations I’ve had over the years, is that this is a time that requires a great deal of spiritual fortitude. People watch me, they listen to me. Sometimes they’ll be very puzzled. They’ll be like, “How is it that you can spend 20 pages or so talking about that there’s a way that Catholicism can be falsified? And how do you tell your interlocutors, like the Orthodox and the Protestants, that from time to time you don’t have an answer to what they’re saying? How do you say that and be joyful at mass with confidence.” Because a lot of people see that and they’re like, “Well, if I thought that way, I’ll just always be this on edge, like doubting, and I wouldn’t be able to be very happy Catholic.” And I would say that we know by reason, speaking of things that we know from reason, God’s not going to require something of us that we can’t do. That’s one of those things.

God has not shown me that I need to leave Catholicism, so I believe he has me here. And I can tolerate talking about the new challenges that we’re dealing with without losing my peace because I know I’m doing what God… I know that I’m only doing what I can do. I can’t go Orthodox, that’ll violate my conscience. I can’t go Protestant, that’ll violate my conscience. So I know that right now I’m in the right place, and I’m at peace with that. I think a lot of people need to really spend time figuring out how they can get there and realize that God’s not unhappy with them if they don’t do all this rigorous research, like a simple prayer life. We know that Catholicism was making saints in the 13th century, in the 14th century, in the 18th century.

This is the safest route you can go. I mean, even if Catholicism is one of the options out there, let’s just say for hypothetical, Catholicism is actually not what it claims to be, Orthodoxy is not what it claims to be, Protestantism is not what it claims to be, but God is saving people through all of them, which it’s got all kinds of problems. But let’s just say that that’s the case. Catholicism has been the most used bat up at the plate. And so I’ll go with that bat. And if somebody says, “Oh, but I got to heaven through Luther,” “Hey, look, when we get there, we’ll toast.” But right now I know that the most used bat, the slugger has been Catholicism. So I’m comfortable. I’m comfortable here. I’m at peace.

And so you need to get there because if you’re not there doing all this research and reading articles and looking at the news and looking at what’s next, it’s going to fuel a great deal of spiritual harm, and you’re going to lose the chance to learn how to do this in peace. And so I would first focus direct people who are not there yet to get there before they pursue further. But if you’re already there and you’re happy to study these things and you’re just excited about what’s next, my book is a good place to start study history. There is nothing more soothing to me than going into the past and realizing, “Wow, what I’m believing is something that was believed all the way back 2000 years ago.” And look at this, they themselves had problems in trials and many, many unanswered questions.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, it’s always amazing. I’ve studied church history for a long time, but still to this day, I will be reading something, some debate or something I’ll be like, “Oh, wow, that sounds a lot like today.” I mean, they were struggling with some of the same issues that we’re struggling with today and they all worked it out. And I was just reading recently, St. John Henry Newman during the 1860s leading up to Vatican I and afterwards, I mean, it almost sounds identical, some of the arguments, I mean, the Hyperpapalists versus and all that. And I remember also the debate about infallibility in the Middle Ages when it first came up. I mean, a lot of these arguments were very similar. So I do think that history now, where can people find specifically the work you’re doing? I think you have a Patreon, if I’m not mistaken. So how can people find that information about what you’re doing?

Erick Ybarra:

So I have a Patreon, it’s called Classical Christian Thought, and you could just www.patreon.com/classicalchristianthought. You can go there.

Eric Sammons:

And I’ll link that.

Erick Ybarra:

Yeah, yeah, I’ll put a link. Thank you. Various levels of participation. There’s various levels, anywhere from daily commentary, patristic quotations, some of the most rare patristic quotations, all the way up to courses. I’m giving a course. I’ve given a course on the Eucharist Protestantism. I’ve given a couple of other ones. Right now, I’m going through my book on the Papacy so people get what I’ve written in the book, but also a lot of the things that I’ve learned since then. And I’m on Facebook. I share a lot on Facebook. You could find me there. And I think that’s it. YouTube, I have YouTube channel, Classical Christian Thought, I add there. And I’m open for people to ask questions. And if I can’t help you, maybe you can help me.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I’ll put links to all this in the show notes so people can find all the great work you’re doing. And I think, honestly, I know there are a lot of problems with the internet, I know there are problems with technology, but I love that we’re in a world where a guy like you who normally would be just ignored or silenced in the old days because you don’t have the letters, enough letters after your name and you’re not with some establishment, university or something, that you can teach people directly and you can do the research.

And they can look you up to see if you’re legit. I mean, you’re teaching the right thing. It’s not like… But the point is, you can write a book like this about the papacy and really, and we can know about it, I think, frankly, I think that’s great. I think it’s a net positive for the world that, yes, it does mean a bunch of, yeah, who’s also can do it, but ultimately I am optimistic about it, that it allows those who have opened minds and good souls, sincere, they can find people like you out there.

Erick Ybarra:

Thank you.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. Okay. Well, thanks, Erick. I appreciate you being on a lot. And hopefully this has helped a lot of people. And until next time, everybody. God love you.

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