National Survey Results: What We Learned About Latin Mass Attendees
Traditional Latin Mass National Survey
by Fr. Donald Kloster
St. Mary’s Catholic Church,
Norwalk, Connecticut USA
Contributors: Sha Balizet Fisher, Ph.D. (Statistics), Brian Williams-Liturgyguy.com (Consultant), Christine Boyle (Webmaster).
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.
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:
- Approval of contraception
- Approval of abortion
- Weekly Mass attendance
- Approval of same sex marriage
- Percentage of income donated
- Annual Confession among weekly Mass attendees
- Fertility Rate
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.
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.
- CARA Annual Conf/Weekly Mass Feb 16, 2014
- CARA 2017 Mass attendance April 11, 2018 Huffington Post quoting Dr. Mark Gray
- Catholic Philly.com Donation % May 17, 2013
- Pew Research Catholic Fertility Rate May 12, 2015
- Pew Research Contraception Sept 28, 2016
- Pew Research Abortion Oct 15, 2018
- Relevant Magazine Donation % March 8, 2016
- Daily Wire Same sex marriage July 2, 2017
Posted on February 24, 2019, in holiness, liturgy and tagged Fr. Donald Kloster, latin mass, Latin Mass survey, novus ordo, TLM Survey. Bookmark the permalink. 141 Comments.
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.
I’ve lived in Boston MA my entire Life. My parents were Irish Immigrants and as youngsters, we all went to both Confession and Holy Mass every Sat/Sunday. We went to Catholic schools and I went to a Catholic Women’s college. Of the 7 children who reached adulthood, only two of us go to weekly Mass, three who have died had Christian burial rites (1 from Episcopal Church). So very sadly, the two generations after us have Very Few who are faithful to their Catholic upbringing. Once you stop going to Sunday Mass, your faith falls apart. You don’t pursue further knowledge of what the Church represents. I pray and study and pray some more; it breaks my heart to think of the sacrifices my parents made for all of us to live our faith and then to see at least 90% of their grand children and great grandchildren not even care. And I’m just one of many Seniors in my community who are seeing the same patterns in their own children and grandchildren. What went Wrong???
Sherry Weddell was quoted by Kevin Cotter when he said that 79% of cradle Catholics become unaffiliated and cease using the name Catholic by age 23. Those are 2012 numbers. It is actually much worse 2 years into the Virus and the shutdowns.
My estimate now is that if you raise your child in the Novus Ordo from the age of 7, that child has about a 5% chance of practicing the faith as an adult. The Novus Ordo fruit has cratered at a level I never expected growing up in the 1970’s and early 1980’s as I did in Texas.
From my Second National Study (Kloster 2020), if your child is raised in the Traditional Latin Mass from the age of 7, they have about a 97% chance of practicing as an adult.
It is the Mass of the Ages that was missing and now has been roaring back to prominence all across the world where it is at least begrudgingly allowed.
Before the Second Vatican Council, it was generally agreed that about 80% of Catholics were going to Mass every Sunday in the USA. By my Diocese’s own admission, we are currently at 10% here in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT. CARA said we were at 22% nationally in early 2020.
The TLM is the Mass of the Apostles and thus is the best conduit for anyone seeking to practice his faith in the deepest sense possible. Satan and his minions hate Latin and they have actively tried to subvert it. The proof is all around us in the collapse of the Novus Ordo Churches and institutions.
When they turned the alter around to face the people, they turned their backs on GOD.
You need a larger sampling. Your numbers for the TLM will be even more significant.
Faith and service is stronger, more fervent, more alive, More vocal.
@Michelle Lawrence You do realize that the vast majority of Surveys have less than 1000 samples? That being said, I would be more than happy for you to apprise me of any way to acquire more samples in any future Survey.
Thank you for doing this research! It is fascinating (and alarming).
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