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Ep. 39: The Snowbank

Guest: Dr. Michael Sirilla, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Description: “The Snowbank” is the term Steve came up with, eventually, to try to describe this episode’s haphazard dive into the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia. “I don’t know if you’ve ever had to shovel the snowbank at the end of the driveway after the plow goes through…you don’t know where to start. There’s just too much. And you know if you don’t start digging out, you’re just not ever going to get through, and it’s just going to ice over ’till spring.”


42 thoughts on “Ep. 39: The Snowbank”

  1. Terrific conversation Steve! Discussions in the spirit of clarity is seemingly on the rise, thanks be to God. The World Over on EWTN was refreshingly candid about the current lamentable situation. Robert Royal and Fr Murray were even asked who the faithful should follow during a schism! It’s good that these questions are being asked. My hope is that people aren’t scandalized right out of the Church as this unprecedented crisis unfolds. Perhaps the best way to prepare people is in part by what you are doing as well as the work by others such as the Remnant. This podcast brought me comfort because it validated my current understanding of this mess. In particular it was the section of the interview where Dr. Sirilla reiterated the extremely narrow confines of Papal Infallibility that was very poignant. I hadn’t properly understood the narrow confines of papal infallibility until this past month after I had devoured resources from Fr Chad Ripperger and Fr. Gruner. My hope is that more people will have their eyes opened and learn authentic Catholic teaching. With this in mind, I plan on writing and starting my own blog. I am very thankful for your hard work. Keep up the good fight and may the Lord Bless you and your work!

  2. This is gold.

    I’ve been trying to write something on this. Some great stuff on the status of AL but basically it agrees with what I’ve been saying: that which is not infallible is ipso facto fallible.

  3. Steve, I strongly agree with your point that (as I put it) Sedevacantism is the flip side of Ultramontanism: if the Pope can’t be or do wrong, and this guy is or does wrong, then this guy (the argument goes) is not the Pope.

  4. Great and much needed conversation Steve. Questions over papal infallibility need to be addressed. So many faithful have an errant understanding of what it’s limits are. So that part of the conversation was especially poignant. I didn’t properly understand the limits of papal infallibility until about a month ago and that was only after devouring the resources of Fr Chad Ripperger and Fr Gruner. A proper understanding of what the Church teaches on papal infallibility will help protect people from scandal and despair. Hearing the teaching reaffirmed by Dr. Sirilla is very comforting. Coming here to onepeterfive is beyond helpful because you let us know we aren’t alone and that the Church is and always will be here despite the assaults by the enemy. The diabolical disorientation in culture and the church is undeniable. But we will continue on, we won’t leave the Church and we will not lose hope. And spoiler alert…. we know who wins in the end! This is a great time to be alive and to help Holy Mother Church and bring glory to God!

  5. Excellent discussion, Steve. We’re wandering in the desert as the damage is taking place at an exponential rate. I put those two things together as Lent starts.

  6. This confusion in the Church is diobolical.
    St. Paul has taught us that Satan is the Father of lies and the author of confusion, and where there is confusion there is every evil work.

  7. I would love to get a list of faithful Cardinals, Bishops other clergy and Theologians.And where to write them,what are their phone numbers.

    • I don’t want to throw cold water on your idea,…but I think it won’t work. I once went through the books written for the Synod of the Family, (Remaining in the Truth of Christ, Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family, Africa- Christ’s New Homeland)…and wrote down the names of the authors, looked up their addresses and posted them on 1P5 and on other blogs etc. I figured all these authors were orthodox, as they were defending the Tradition of the Church. I still believe they are.

      However, at least publicly, not a peep from them, other than the cardinals who presented the dubia, and now those are silent too.

      I don’t have the names and addresses any more….having mislaid the book in which I wrote them.

      I have come to the conclusion that, only Our Lord and His Mother will be able to correct what is happening now. We can only pray and do penance. …I find it difficult not to think bitterly of this pope. He is desecrating that which I hold very dear.

  8. Very helpful thanks Steve. Clear clarification on the ‘the Pope cannot err on faith and morals’, it was certainly part of what I picked up along the way rightly or wrongly.
    I found Michael’s 2 point summary at the end very helpful. The need to spend 10-15 minutes dedicated time in prayer with our Lord so He can give us the graces needed to walk on with courage.

    We have decided we can no longer be a part of our Novus Ordo parish and are trusting in His providence on the Sundays we cannot get to Mass(closest alternative is 4 hour drive)
    Thank you for your work in the vineyard.
    Also found your conversation to cultivate the desire and indeed obligation to defend Holy Mother Church a powerful reminder.

    Thank you.

    • A Novus Ordo Sunday Mass, even if the celebrant is wearing a p**sy hat is better than no Mass, Shawn!

      “Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

      Mt 16:24
      Douay-Rheims Bible

      • Thank you Garrett for your reply. That has been my sentiment up until about 3 weeks ago. I had a strong sense in prayer the church/diocese we have been a part of is not safe for our children.

        I may well be wrong in my decision so i will particularly ask for humility to see His Will.

        Challenging times!

        Thank you and God bless.

    • I understand the pain and righteous anger you may feel when you attend a Novus Ordo Mass.

      Now with that said, speaking as a lay woman, I have come very, very close to forgoing a Holy Day of Obligation, as I was forced by circumstance to attend a Novus Ordo Mass.
      Call me a product of Dominican nuns, but all I could think of was our Lord’s Third Commandment and the Church’s precepts of attending Mass – how could I knowingly disobey my Lord?

      I brought this situation to the attention of a good and holy priest here on OnePeterFive. He goes by FrRP.
      I wish I could find and paste his reply to me. But boy was it spoken with such Truth and such love for our Lord and His MOther. He told me to be there for our Lord and His MOther. He told me he had gone to the most unbelievably sad and irreverent Masses and STAYED to be there with His Mother and Christ.
      It is such a sorrow to be a these kind of Masses. I have had to go every so often, but I do so to honor my Lord, keep the Commandment given to Moses by God, and to be there with ‘Them’. There are many times I do not ‘feel’ so good afterwords, but at least someone was with Mary and her Son at the Cross.
      Be a witness for our Lord. Stay with Him at the Cross.
      Keep the Commandments. Spiritual Bouquets are beautiful for our Lord too.

      God bless you.

      And God bless you

      • The reason that you didn’t “feel so good” was simple: you were not with Mary and her Son on Calvary. You were in attendance at a mockery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Third Commandment does not require us to be complicit by our presence at an “aping” of the Mass. Please don’t place that false burden on Mr. McLinden. You can attend the “show” written and produced by Freemason Annibale Bugnini if you wish; but when you do, remember the words of Our Lord regarding the “abomination of desolation,” and try to convince yourself that Our Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly present — body, blood, soul, and divinity — in the tabernacle — if you can find the tabernacle. . . I do not intend any lack of Charity by my words — on the contrary, I wish to honor Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by reminding all readers (including Mr. McCafferty below) that there is but one Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that the so-called Mass contrived by Bugnini and the six Protestant observers is something best avoided.

        • What does the Church teach though?
          Are we permitted to purposefully miss the Holy Days of Obligation because of all you have earnestly posted?
          I do understand very much however what you have written.
          I have struggled with this myself, but try to follow our Church teachings.
          Am I wrong?

          • No Sunday attendance at mass and holy days of obligation are mandatory church law.

            An exorcist once detailed how in an exorcism that the demons admitted that they lead pious souls to sin through missing mass because they cant find a mass they like. It’s a form of pride. The demon mentioned how heaven was not pleased with this as there are graces at mass, no matter how poorly celebrated.

          • Thank you.

            Selfish piety is a weapon as well used by the devil.
            I never knew of what you spoke of regarding your example given of the exorcism. But, it would certainly make sense.

            All I know, is that the Church gave us her teachings for a reason.
            And that if we truly trust in her, whether we may seem like fools or not to others, better to be a fool for Christ, than to use our own foolish ways of thinking.

          • I did not mean to imply that I agreed with missing Mass, but that I agreed with the poster as to the desecration of the Mass, and the history of this desecration.

            It is a suffering, when you come to KNOW the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and witness a Mass not worthy of our Lord.
            We must follow our Church teachings, regardless.
            I admit, i do wrestle with this, and what gets me to Mass, when I know it could be pitifully ghastly, is obeying our Church teachings, which come from Moses. It really is a cross for me.

          • You make it sound as if it is all about personal preferences. This has nothing to do with pride and everything to do with whether a Mass is valid. There is no obligation to attend a nervous disorder spectacle if there is a reasonable doubt using a properly formed conscience that the matter, form and intention are missing. Stay home and pray your old missal.

      • Thank you for your reply CS. I appreciate your words and will ponder them.

        For my wife and I it is not so much the N.O Mass we are avoiding, it is the confusion and possible scandal it is causing our children from the homilies, false mercy agenda etc. It has been a very difficult decision as we love the Mass.

        I sense strongly that our blessed Lord would not want us to cause or facilitate scandal to our little ones by a possibly flawed understanding of our Sunday obligation.

        Once again, thank you and would really appreciate your prayers.

        God bless.

        • You take care of that family of yours. I meant no lecture, I am just a lay person.
          And your heart is certainly in the right place for God and for your little ones.
          I really do understand your concern for your children, I did not realize you had young children. Mr. Marinaio post to you conveys his great love and honor of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as i have as well.

          Pray and trust God and His Church.

        • There are other options; you can leave during the homily (I have done that, unobtrusively); you can debrief the kids on the way home. My father made no bones in the 1950s and 1960s about letting us kids know when a priest or sister was in error and, in the process, educated us on common errors being made, critical thinking, logic and immunized us from being scandalized years later when things got REALLY bad after Vatican II in the 1970s. Remember, depending on the age of your kids, a lot of it will wash over them harmlessly as long as you are providing the Truth. Your dilemma is a cri du coeur we can all relate to.

          • Thanks Linda,
            Yes, we have had to walk out on many a homily. I am sure the washover does happen for the younger ones but not always as confident as they approach their mid-teens.
            Cheers for your reply.

  9. Excellent Steve……just EXCELLENT. I especially appreciated the comments at the end of the podcast that correctly echoed the sentiments of the faithful as those of frustration because our hands are basically tied. Yes, we must pray and get our faith lives together, spend more time with the Lord, etc. ….and this is hard, really hard when we look out to see Holy Mother Church BURNING, and the firefighters no where in site. WHERE IS THE CATHOLIC FIRE DEPARTMENT??? Don’t they KNOW that the Church is BURNING??? The natural reaction of the faithful is to yell FIRE, THE CHURCH IS BURNING!!! And our voices are muffled threw the smoke and the flames. Correct you are that this crisis will only be able to be ‘corrected’ by the Dear Lord Himself. Possibly the time for human intervention has passed. Soooo…………we TRUST IN JESUS to put out the flames and rebuild His Church.

    “Lord, I BELIEVE! Help my UNBELIEF!!

  10. There is mass confusion, but I am not confused.

    Catholics like speakers at this year’s Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (LA REC) are by way of their baptism and confirmation brothers and sisters in my spiritual family, the Church. And the Church (in the above sense, as opposed to the sum of current living humans in a state of grace) is not at peace, but I am at peace.

    Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.

    For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter
    against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    And as a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household.

    Mt 10:34-36
    Douay-Rheims Bible

    We are wandering in the desert, but we are at peace, because we have the full revelation of the Truth.

  11. Great discussion; however, everyone knows that the CC teaches you can’t divorce and “remarry”. Claiming ignorance on this point for any Catholic who has actually gone through the long and ugly process of divorce is a farce.

  12. Anyone know John Zmiraks Politically incorrect guide to the catholic Church? It talks about papal infallibility. He seems to say that only a few popes have written infallible statements.

    • Not true. Another common misunderstanding. Cf. Sources Of Catholic Dogma – and from it track down the ones by popes.
      Also please note that:

      1) In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

      This was before:

      2) The Vatican Council [1869-1870] which defined as “a divinely revealed dogma” that “the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

      This ought to be very telling.

  13. Really, I can’t believe so many bishops are so woosy. Cardinal Muller needs to take the right side strongly. Maybe they are making a plan. In the meantime we resist the protestantization of the Church however – prayer and fasting, new evangelization, silence, bloging, covering ears and eyes; whatever! Keeping our minds and hearts in Christ Jesus our Lord. Courage teachers, journalists. Keep doing an awsome job – more articles, more awesome explanations on the Church, Moral Theology and Church history. Flood the airwaves and cyberspace with the Good News. Where evil abounds, Grace abounds all the more.

  14. A Primer on the Church’s Infallibility
    (Have posted some of this before on 1P5)

    1) The Church’s competency is faith [what we believe] and morals [how we are to act/behave in accordance with what we believe].
    (It is via the enemey’s inspiration that the innovators would propose “pastoral practice” not in accordance with the Faith/Catholic doctrine)

    2) [Cf. Mt 28:20 – All the Church was commanded to teach as to faith and morals by Jesus Christ is what is termed as the divinely revealed Sacred ‘deposit of faith’ (the depositum fidei) [= Holy Tradition + Sacred Scripture].

    [This] Divine Revelation was given in its entirety to Our Lord and His Apostles. After the death of the last of the twelve it could receive no increment. – Cf. [Revelation | New Advent][].

    3) [Cf. CCC 2035 – Christ’s charism of infallibility to his Church extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed. What this simply means is that the Church cannot err in what she teaches as to faith or morals, for she is our infallible guide in both. [Cf. [Penny Catechism 100][]].

    4) [Cf. Infallibility | New Advent – The organs of infallibility in the Church are:

    a) the bishops dispersed throughout the world in union with the Holy See;

    b) ecumenical councils under the headship of the pope; and

    c) the pope himself separately when he teaches ex cathedra, that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

    Through the first of these is exercised what theologians describe as the ordinarium magisterium, i.e. the common or everyday teaching authority of the Church; through the second and third the magisterium solemne, or undeniably definitive authority. [Therefore responding to Dr. Michael Sirilla, the definitive teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (May 22, 1994) | John Paul II “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” was an exercise of magisterium solemne (papal infallibility) and not ordinarium magisterium].


    1) In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

    This was before:

    2) The Vatican Council [1869-1870] which defined as “a divinely revealed dogma” that “the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

    3) By promulgating the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith.

    4) When the Pope speaks ex cathedra according to the dogma of Vatican Council I, he can only do so only on those things that are already in the handed down deposit of divine Revelation (the depositum fidei) which the Church in his generation has received through the ages from the Apostles or on all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.

  15. I appreciate not merely the content of this podcast but the voices which clearly share my own anguish over what is happening; and yes, the peace we can have also in trusting the Lord and His Mother to take care of their Church.

  16. “that’s a lot”. I think the conversation went a little off the rails when your guest said we need to check all magisterial docs since V2. Can we focus? I mean I’m on your side here but this is too broad a statement–at this point in time!


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