Thirty Seconds Out!

In an earlier time I was a member of a SWAT team in a very active, urban area of the Southeastern United States.  During the 21 years I served in this capacity, I “chalked-up” close to 2000 operational missions.  On the way to any given target location there was always much playful banter among the team members, but as we closed on the location, I as the supervisor, would give a “minute out” warning.  Upon hearing this notice, there was an instantaneous hush inside the vehicle, the only subsequent utterance being the lead element operator advising of any slight deviation(s) to be made as intelligence updates came over the radio.  As the proximity to the target decreased, I would give a “30 seconds out”.  After this alert not a sound was to be made by a soul in the vehicle save the team leader until the police code “10-97” [on scene] was given.  This was the order to initiate the operation.  All the preparatory training, the mental and physical preparation, the planning, both contingency and practical, was, at this point, past.  This was the time to act!  This was the time at which the proverbial “rubber meets the road”.  It was for real.

I use this illustration to point out to those of you who have been a part of this journey toward the Ordinariate in the United States that you are “30 seconds out”!  What you have sought, some of us for several years now, for what you have prayed, for what you have argued (amongst others and yourselves), for what you have prepared, for what you have sacrificed (in some cases very much), is at hand.  As of tomorrow you are “10-97”.  You jump out of the theoretical approach into the existent, and, as the SWAT members who upon reaching the target must engage with the realities of their situation, you must now engage with the realities of yours.

As I stated above, we have prayed, argued, theorized, conjectured, guessed, etc., about an Ordinariate in the United States.  Now it is time to get real.  Now it is the time to sacrifice to make this thing that is the Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans work here.  I have, up to this point, always tried to present the practical aspects of this endeavor.  I have been absent from posting for a significant period because for the last several months there has been nothing to be said in the practical realm concerning the matter at hand, but as of midnight tonight, things become VERY practical.  Your prayers must become more focused, as you will have an Ordinary for whom to pray, a named Ordinariate with real people, parishes, and clergy that need your particular prayers.  You must begin to sacrificially assist at Masses offered at, and for, Ordinariate parishes and gatherings.  This means if you must drive, spending ever increasing amounts on gas, and giving additionally of your time to reach groups forming to establish Ordinariate parishes, or to increase the attendance of those already established, then so be it.  We must dig deeper into our treasure to help provide financially for the fledgling Ordinariate.  We need to seek advice from the Ordinary and clergy as to pressing temporal needs and provide for those needs (e.g., vestments, sacred instruments, holy images, etc.).  We must be willing to vacuum the carpets, clean the restrooms, cut the grass, watch the children, and provide the refreshments.  In short, Fathers, brothers, and sisters, you must now take ownership of that for which you have asked and prayed for so long.


21 thoughts on “Thirty Seconds Out!”

  1. While I do not think that the SWAT analogy should be carried too far, I was very pleased to note that the Vatican has today published the Decree of the CDF erecting the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter for the territory of the United States of America and that the Holy Father has nominated as the Rev Jeffrey Neil Steenson, D Phil (Oxon), to be its first Ordinary.

    You now have your Father in God with the jurisdiction and the authority needed to give effect to the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus within the USA.

    Thanks be to God!

    1. Yes, we never want to push the martial analogies like, "Onward Christian Soldiers", or say, Scupoli's "Spiritual Combat", or another place I think I read something to the effect of "[Fighting] the good fight…". Yep, don't wanna carry stuff like that too far.

      1. Father,
        One speaks of "the Church militant". Having taken the Queen's shilling in my youth I have quite a good appreciation how military analogies can apply to persons under obedience – cf the Centurion in the Gospels.

        I have more of a problem with police analogies. I could accept if you say so that in your particular police force all the constables acted at all times in accordance with the law and respected the rights of all those apprehended. Unfortunately that is not always the case in other less upright communities – even in our largely unarmed UK forces – and I base that assertion on some 35 years' practice in our criminal justice system.

        Further, as you well know, the Church is a divine institution run by fallible humans which has in the past been none too wise about supporting undemocratic or abusive regimes of various kinds with undesirable consequences. Think of the Concordats with fascist régimes in Europe, or the sort of Latin American Juntas supported by your late President Reagan. And I can think of some UK examples too.

        The Church has learned the hard way the need to keep its distance from the civil power. Which is why Canon 283.3 states: "Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power." .

        So yes, I don't want the Jesuits thought of as some kind of Vatican SWAT team.

        1. I believe we are on different philosophical plains in this matter. I am of the school that sees the lack of a true "Church Militant" as a detriment to the advance of the Gospel. I am not one who believes this debate to be an either/or proposition. It must be realized truely that indeed there are different parts of the Body, consequently making this a both/and proposition. We could play dueling citations, and provide competing historical pros and cons, but I do believe that to do so is for a different day. If you so desire, you may have the last word.

          Gratia et pax

    1. But this is only the beginning. Congratulations and best wishes!!
      By the way, I really like the SWAT team analogy; and Fr. "Doc" Holiday, thank you for your long and dedicated service to your community!

      Irl Gladfelter
      Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Retired)

  2. Congratulations to our American friends to the south on the erection of the Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter, now headed by Fr. Jeffrey Steenson. I must say, I never would have guessed the title. Can anyone here enlighten us on the reason for it?

    Peter Karl T. Perkins

    1. I really like the title! I don't know, but can venture a wild guess. Perhaps it is to emphasize that this personal Ordinariate is and shall be an integral part of the Roman Catholic Church, not a step toward a "Uniate" Anglican Church of some sort, at least in spirit, down the road; that its members are simply Roman Catholics, period. I do think that is a point which needs to be made and remembered.

      Congratulations, and blessings,
      Irl Gladfelter

  3. Thank you, Father, for these very encouraging words. I would like to ask however, does anyone know of a group forming in the Tampa, Florida area? The closest I have seen is Orlando, or missions connected with the Cathedral there. Any information would be much appreciated.

    1. Ed,

      As far as I know, at present, Orlando is the only game in town. We actually have a man who drives from Lakeland (the halfway point between Orlando and Tampa) to Incarnation regularly, due exclusively because of the Ordinariate. So, people are truly beginning to sacrifice for the cause.

  4. 10-97 Father Doc: As always, I greatly appreciate your practical wisdom along with your spiritual leadership. I pray that 2012 bring us into full communion with the Holy See. It's been a long journey.

  5. I see it is finally official, Happy New Year and welcome aboard my brother. Please give my warm regards to the bishop. Blessings to you all in the New Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

      1. Thank you indeed, Fr. Circe. Your support and friendship throughout our pilgrimage, both communally and to me personally, has been a manifestation of God's grace.


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