National Survey Results: What We Learned About Latin Mass Attendees

Traditional Latin Mass National Survey

The Elevation of the Eucharist, Immaculate Conception Church. Photo Credit: Patrick Craig

Traditional Latin Mass National Survey

by Fr. Donald Kloster
St. Mary’s Catholic Church,
Norwalk, Connecticut USA
revfrkloster@yahoo.com

Contributors: Sha Balizet Fisher, Ph.D. (Statistics), Brian Williams-Liturgyguy.com (Consultant), Christine Boyle (Webmaster).

Introduction

Through more than twenty years of offering both the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM) and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), this writer has observed variations between the people attending the two different Masses within the Roman Rite. American Catholics attending the NOM have been surveyed repeatedly in terms of their beliefs and practices (Pew Research and Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University [CARA]).

Yet, the body of research does not appear to include a description of Catholics who attend the TLM. These Catholics attend at least 489 Sunday Masses nationwide (latinmassdir.org, 2019). On any given Sunday, an estimated 100,000 Catholics (slightly over 200 faithful per Mass and/or parish) in the United States of America worship according to the ancient Mass that, prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), was offered in Latin for over 1,500 years.

The quickly growing number of TLM-only parishes permits survey research going beyond one individual’s observations. The objective of this pilot study was to measure the fruit of the two Masses, by directly comparing the TLM and NOM attendees’ responses to the same questions.

Method 

The survey consisted of seven questions on the beliefs and attitudes of the respondents. Data was collected between March 2018 and November 2018. The surveys were anonymous and unique responses only were tallied. In pew surveys were administered to 1322 respondents. The number of responses varied (between 1,251 and 1,322) according to the given question. The same survey, administered online, received 451 responses.

In Pew Survey Respondents 

Arizona, California, Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas.

Online Survey Respondents 

Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

The TLM Survey was designed to parallel questions posed in previous research, allowing a direct comparison between the TLM attendees and those of the NOM. These were the topics:

  1. Approval of contraception
  2. Approval of abortion
  3. Weekly Mass attendance
  4. Approval of same sex marriage
  5. Percentage of income donated
  6. Annual Confession among weekly Mass attendees
  7. Fertility Rate

Results

TLM Survey Results

Analysis

Modern society, by popular belief, is the cause of decreasing sacramental participation in the Catholic Church. However, the present survey, compared with other data, reveals a striking variance between Catholics attending the TLM versus those who attend the NOM. These differences are dramatic when comparing beliefs, church attendance, monetary generosity, and fertility rates.

Importantly, TLM families have a nearly 60% larger family size. This will translate to a changing demographic within the Church. TLM attendees donate 5 times more in the collection, indicating that they are far more invested than the NOM attendees. TLM Catholics go to Mass every Sunday at 4.5 times the rate of their NOM brethren. This implies a deep commitment to the faith. The almost universal adherence to the Sunday Mass obligation depicts Catholics who are deeply in love with their faith and cannot imagine missing their Sunday privilege.

Future Research 

Would young adult TLM Catholics be more likely to commit to a life in the Church? This question has never been studied among TLM Catholics since the inception of the 1970 NOM. Research is needed to explore TLM attendees’ vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, Married Life, and Single Life within the 18-39 year old subset of TLM Catholics. Preliminary studies by this author indicate that the TLM produces 7-8 times the number of Priestly and Religious vocations. Reception of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony would also seem to be much higher among TLM attendees. Finally, how well does the TLM retain young adults once they leave their parent’s homes?  Rigorous study on these topics are planned for 2019.

Bibliography

  1. CARA                      Annual Conf/Weekly Mass       Feb 16, 2014       
  2. CARA 2017              Mass attendance                     April 11, 2018 Huffington Post quoting Dr. Mark Gray
  3. Catholic Philly.com   Donation %                             May 17, 2013
  4. Pew Research          Catholic Fertility Rate              May 12, 2015
  5. Pew Research          Contraception                         Sept 28, 2016
  6. Pew Research          Abortion                                  Oct   15, 2018 
  7. Relevant Magazine   Donation %                             March 8, 2016
  8. Daily Wire                 Same sex marriage                 July 2,   2017    

 

 

 

Posted on February 24, 2019, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 116 Comments.

  1. I support your efforts to find evidence of orthodoxy in the latin mass. Unfortunately you’re comparing apples to oranges here. Most of your results come from in-pew surveys. This is not the case for the comparison Novus Ordo surveys you cite. This naturally biases your study to to find stronger orthodoxy among TLM Catholics, and means your data is not likely to be a representative sample. I hope you continue to refine your methods and find better data next time.

    • Actually, in the First National Study 1300+ of the samples were in pew. 451 were online samples. The in pew and online samples all were within 1 percentage point!
      The Second National Study was all online. So; no apples to oranges. Besides the fact that the comparative numbers in the First National Study were so wildly in different ball parks. There is no margin of error that could reconcile that variance anyway.

      • Hello Fr. Kloster,

        Thank you for your response! Maybe I wasn’t clear, when I referred to apples and oranges I was talking about the comparison drawn between your surveys and the various other studies you mentioned.

        Did these studies in fact use the same exact methodology you used, asking the same exact questions, in the same time period, targeted at similar numbers of participants?

        Answering these questions would be the minimum first step toward confirming that your data are actually meaningful. Maybe you already did answer those and I just missed it.

        I hope you take steps like these in the future, because we are on the same side. If the trends you found do hold true in a scientific study, they would be more compelling and harder for the church hierarchy to ignore.

        Thanks,
        Ben

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