The Demographics of the Extraordinary Form

Young People, Families, Sex Ratios, and Diversity

The Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV, or Una Voce International) recently submitted to the Holy See a report on the availability of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite around the world (hereafter, “the FIUV Report”), in the preparation of which I, as Secretary of the FIUV, was closely involved.1 This included data from 362 dioceses and 52 countries,2 and gives a rare overview of the situation, not just in Europe and America, but across the world. Much of the information was of a qualitative rather than quantitative nature (for example, detailing the policies of dioceses towards the EF), aspects of it are amenable to statistical summary and presentation. The full report is not public, but in this paper I wish to set out some data drawn from it to help illuminate the question of the demographics of those who attend the EF.3

These data support the often-heard characterization of the EF as having a particular attraction for young people and families. I shall further draw on the Report and other sources to show that EF congregations generally have a more balanced sex ratio than those of the Ordinary Form, and to reveal the capacity of the EF to engage diverse ethnic and linguistic groups.

Methodology

The FIUV was prompted to produce its Report by the news, first reported in April 2020, that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had distributed a short questionnaire to bishops around the world on the subject of the Extraordinary Form. The Federation considered that a lay perspective on the situation might be a useful supplement to the bishops’ responses, and set about creating a questionnaire of its own, to be completed, like the bishops’, diocese by diocese. This was circulated, in multiple languages, as an online form, and respondents were invited through the Federation’s member associations and other contacts. In nearly all cases, returns for a diocese were completed by one or more lay persons on the ground in the diocese: people personally familiar with celebrations and congregations, their history, aspirations, and frustrations.

One of the questions was as follows:

About the stable groups attached to the Extraordinary Form: Are they comprised of elderly people, families, young people, etc.?

It should be noted that neither time nor resources allowed for a census of congregations. Respondents were invited to make a judgment about what seemed striking about the congregations they know, bearing in mind the local population (which might be a University city or a popular retirement location); in the background also would be their knowledge of local Ordinary Form congregations. They were asked to tick one of the following, although the software allowed them to tick as many as they liked:

Predominantly older people.

Predominantly younger people.

Predominantly families.

Matches local population.

Not applicable.

Respondents also had the chance to “Comment further if you wish.”

The data discussed here are drawn not only from the ticked boxes, but also from the comments. In a few cases these explained that different regular EF congregations in different parts of the same diocese had different demographic features. In order to maintain the principle that each diocese would count for one, for statistical purposes, when this happened I have assigned a value of 0.5 to each of two different congregations.

In the statistical analysis I created two extra categories, in addition to those just noted, to cover cases where respondents ticked more than one box in relation to a single congregation or group of congregations: “Younger people and Families” and “Young people and Old people.”

Response rate

In a number of countries the Federation received information for every single diocese: countries which have only one (Sweden, Estonia, Denmark and Luxembourg) or two (Malta), and larger countries with very active member associations: Germany (27 dioceses), England and Wales (22), Scotland (8), the Netherlands (7), and New Zealand (6).

More typical, however, were those countries where reports were received for only a minority of dioceses, or just one or two dioceses. In most countries surveyed, the dioceses not covered are overwhelmingly those in which, as far as the FIUV’s local contacts are aware, there are no public celebrations of the EF, or active groups of the laity requesting it. Similarly, most of the countries not included, such as many in Africa and the Islamic world, would be returning “null returns” if they were included. While there are exceptions to this generalization, we may be confident that the FIUV survey captures the great majority of stable groups seeking or experiencing the Extraordinary Form around the world today, and there is no reason to think that these are not characteristic of those which are not included.

As it is, the survey extends beyond the places where the EF is regularly celebrated, to include many dioceses where a lay group is asking for it, so far without success. It is this which explains nearly all of the instances in which “No Information” is recorded. The respondent was either unsure what the demographic profile of those Catholics attached to the EF might be, having never seen them together at a service, or considered that a response would not be very meaningful. The demographic profile of the signatories of a letter to an Ordinary making a formal request for a regular celebration of the EF, for example, might be quite different from the profile of the people who would turn up for the celebration.

Who attends the Extraordinary Form?

The following table gives the number of dioceses, and the percentage of dioceses, in which the EF congregations are characterized by particular demographic groups, by continent or region.4

Table: Dominant demographic in EF Congregations5

 

South America North America Oceania Asia Africa
Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses %
Younger people 19 27.5 13 15.9 2.5 12.5 9 40.9 2 28.6
Families 14 20.3 25 30.5 6 30 3 15 0 0
Young & Families 10 14.5 21 25.6 3 15 1 4.5 0 0
Younger & Older 4 5.8 1.5 1.8 0 0 3 15 0 0
Matches local population 9 13 19.5 23.8 8.5 42.5 1 4.5 2 28.6
Older people 4 5.8 2.5 3 0 0 2 9 0 0
No information 10 14.5 1 1.2 0 0 2 9 3 42.9
Whole of Europe N. E. Europe S. Europe C. Europe N. W. Europe
Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses % Dioceses %
Younger people 17.5 10.7 1 11.1 10.5 21.4 4 8.7 2 3.4
Families 23.5 14.4 2 22.2 5 6.3 12 26 4.5 7.6
Young & Families 44 27 2 22.2 2 4 16 34.8 24 40.7
Younger & Older 2 1.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3.4
Matches local population 58.5 35.9 3 33.3 27.5 56.1 12.5 27.2 15.5 26.3
Older people 7.5 4.6 1 11.1 0 0 0.5 1 6 10.1
No information 12 7.4 0 0 4 8.2 4 8.7 4 6.8

 

With some variations between continents and regions, the results make clear the very strong association between celebrations of the Extraordinary Form and young people and families.

The percentage of dioceses where EF congregations are identified as predominantly old is in no region greater than 11.1%; the percentage where young people, young people and families, or families, is identified as predominant is 72% in North America, 69.2% in Central Europe, 62.3% in South America, 60.4% in Asia, 57.5% in Oceania, 55.5% in North East Europe, 51.7% in North West Europe, 31.7% in Southern Europe, and 28.6% in Africa. In the last of these no information is given for 42.9% of dioceses, and it is certainly no coincidence that Africa and Southern Europe are the areas with the least well-established EF celebrations in the survey. North America, on the other hand, is the region where the greatest number of large and well-established EF congregations are to be found.

In many of the regions covered, above all those of Europe, civil society is suffering a demographic crisis, and the Church has experienced this crisis in an amplified form. Thus, while in England and Wales the post-war “baby boom” has been followed by a decline in the birth rate, the fall in the number of baptisms has been even more severe: according to baptism figures published annually by the Catholic Directory, compared to annual live births collated by the Office for National Statistics, nearly 16% of babies were baptized in the Catholic Church in 1965, but only 10% of a much-reduced total in 2011.6 The Church in other European countries has fared worse. Against this background these data for the EF are particularly striking, and positive.

Where do they come from?

The question arises, where are these young people and families coming from, and how do they relate to each other?

It is clear, at least, that the number of families attending the EF around twenty years ago is insufficient to explain the young people present today, in the context of the very small number of EF celebrations in and around the year 2000. The majority of the people, including young people, who attend the EF today have encountered it for the first time as adults.

Discovering the EF in the Church today is very much a matter of chance: even in those dioceses where it is most widely available, very little effort is made in sacramental preparation, in officially approved books about the Faith, or in preaching to make the average Catholic aware of its existence. Practicing Catholics are for this reason only slightly more likely to encounter this Form of the Mass than non-Catholics, although they are somewhat more likely to have heard polemics aimed against it. It is therefore unsurprising to find that EF congregations include many converts and “reverts” (formerly lapsed Catholics).

Another factor in the ability of the EF to draw in younger worshippers is the wide use made of social media in explaining and promoting it, which disproportionately reaches young people. A search of YouTube, for example, quickly throws up numerous well-produced testimonials by young Catholics, often converts, who have discovered the EF. This is an example of a virtuous circle at work, since these videos, like many websites and blogs with similar content, are generally created spontaneously by young people who have discovered the EF and are familiar with social media techniques. It can’t explain why they liked the EF when they encountered it.

Similarly, the popularity of the EF with children creates its own atmosphere and set of expectations. In central Rome, where churches are tragically short of children for a variety of reasons, one mother of young children explained to me that an EF celebration she had discovered was the only place she could take her children without their behavior attracting negative comments from an aging congregation: in part, this is an example of another virtuous circle benefiting the EF.

“Young and Old”

This image of the EF, as a form of liturgy particularly attractive to young adults and parents of young children, has only with difficulty established itself in competition with an older characterization of the EF, namely as something which appeals predominantly to the older generation. In the decades immediately following the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, it was natural that it would be people who personally remembered the previous liturgical tradition who would seek it out. As time went on, with an extremely small number of public celebrations of the older Mass in the 1970s and 1980s (with exceptions to be noted), few younger Catholics would have any idea that “the Old Mass” had ever existed.

Furthermore, the peculiar Mass times favored by some bishops during the period from 1984 to 2007, when EF celebrations were possible throughout the world but needed episcopal approval, such as early in the morning or during the working day, further took it out of the reach of all but the retired.

In that context, it is not surprising that the EF was often dismissed as an exercise in nostalgia, and that there would be a general expectation that demand for it would simply disappear. As Pope Benedict XVI expressed it, “immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it.”7 However, as he adds, “in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.”

Those who experienced the Mass before the introduction of the vernacular in 1965 are now of an advanced age: those 15 years old then would be seventy today. They are still to be found in EF congregations, of course, and occasionally the FIUV survey results indicate a congregation dominated by the old, perhaps for demographic or practical reasons. As a correspondent from Scotland laconically noted, of the weekday Low Mass which is the only public celebration in a rural diocese, those who attend are “those able to.”

The older generation can also overlap with the younger: as a correspondent from Chile expressed it, describing the local EF congregation: “one part is older people (mainly women) and another part are young people (mainly men). There are practically no middle-aged people.”

It is worth noting that the implementation of the liturgical reform was delayed into the 1980s in parts of the Soviet Bloc, and in the People’s Republic of China celebrations of the older Mass were widespread right into the 1990s. Mainland Chinese Catholics do not have to be very old to remember the EF as a normal part of the life of the Church, and priests are still to be found in active ministry who studied it as a standard part of their seminary training. Some Chinese bishops apparently see provision for the EF today as provision for the older generation, and some celebrants can be critical of the young people who encourage others to attend it. If they expect it to disappear with time, however, they are likely to be disappointed.

As just quoted on the Chilean congregation, in many places there exists a middle generation which has missed out on the older liturgical tradition. In Europe and North America, where parochial politics is sometimes a key issue in arranging EF celebrations, it has become a well-worn trope that opposition comes from the “Boomer generation.” More significant is the attitude of the clergy of this generation, who are today the most senior, but still active, clergy in most dioceses, older in fact than many bishops.

There are a number of references in the FIUV’s survey results to this generation of clergy. A correspondent from the Baltics notes the “invisible pressure” exerted on younger priests by senior clergy; one from Scotland notes “ideological divisions among the clergy, which tend to fall along generational lines”; one from central Europe regards his Ordinary as “quite supportive but surrounded by canons who are negative and vicious.” An American correspondent worries about the atmosphere in his diocese’s seminary, hearing from priests “concern that seminarians can suffer for expressing an interest in the EF. It’s difficult to quantify but we get the impression that the hostility comes from the older generation.”

The influence of this particular generation of clergy is magnified not only by their seniority, but by the vocations crisis (in the developed world) of the 1970s and later decades. This means that the very oldest generation of active clergy remains numerically very significant in many dioceses.

By contrast, one of the remarkable features of the development of the EF since Summorum Pontificum is the way that it has been taken up by some bishops. In a medium-sized Bishops’ Conference like that of England and Wales, of the 22 Ordinaries we can count eight who have personally celebrated the EF.8 An earlier generation of bishops were urged by Pope John Paul II to be “generous” in response to the “rightful aspirations” of Catholics attached to the former liturgy,9 but the contrast between the episcopal response to those exhortations (a response sometimes reiterated when Summorum Pontificum was published in 2007), and the view of the average bishop of today, particularly in the West, is startling. Even among those not personally interested in the EF, their attitude can be summarized by the phrase “open mindedness”: if the EF works for some people, and if it can be celebrated without causing practical difficulties, then they are happy for it to go ahead.

We read of a bishop in the Philippines: “he has not opposed or hindered the EF but he has not encouraged it either.” From the former Soviet Union: “The Ordinary is not really interested in promoting the EF, but neither in suppressing it.” From the USA: “he is open and friendly to the EF. He does not push it, and isn’t confronted with the situation frequently.”

The younger bishops today were born in the second half of the 1950s and early 1960s: too young to have taken a personal part in implementing the liturgical reform, and, increasingly, too young even to have felt its excitement, or trauma. It is not surprising if clergy just a few years older have much more emotional investment in the issue.

The effect of the final retirement of the older generation of clergy, particularly from influential positions such as seminary rector, could make a substantial difference to diocesan policies towards the EF.

Gender Balance10

One issue noted in an earlier quotation (from Chile) was the number of young men who attend the EF. Although the FIUV survey did not ask a specific question on this issue, on a previous occasion I did request and received data from FIUV member associations about it.

On the Ordinary Form side, there is abundant evidence from the USA and England and Wales that women outnumber men at celebrations, by about 2 to 1.11 As I learned from FIUV members, the Extraordinary Form does not conform to this pattern. From around the world I was given figures, for male participation in EF Masses, of between 50% and 75%; the average would seem to be about 55%.

The percentages are only part of the story, however. It is clear anecdotally that many men at the Ordinary Form are there at the prompting of spouses or girlfriends, or out of a sense of duty towards children. At the EF it is more common to find that that in discovering it and adopting it as a regular form of worship men were acting spontaneously or taking the lead.12

This is not as surprising at it may seem, since the Eastern Churches, whose liturgy and spirituality have a good deal in common with that of the EF in atmosphere and ethos, also appear able to retain the allegiance of men, as does Islam and Orthodox Judaism. This is true even in the context of their Western converts living in the West.13 By contrast, there is a longstanding pattern of more progressive Protestant ecclesial communities having a severe imbalance in favor of women.14 It does not seem extravagant to propose, as a number of writers have done,15 a fairly simple correlation between liturgical style and an appeal to men, at least as a working hypothesis.

Diverse Congregations16

As well as preserving a balance between the sexes, the Extraordinary Form also seems to have the ability to attract a wide range of ethnic and linguistic groups. As an Italian contributor to the FIUV Report explained, his local EF celebration “is frequented by people of all ages, several young couples with children, often Oriental (Sri Lankan) or even Africans (Congolese).”

A Canadian correspondent noted:

Families with young children are very well represented in the congregations of both the churches where the EF is celebrated on Sundays. At one, there are also many young adults and seniors; those attending also come from many national/ethnic backgrounds, e.g., Canadian, American, British, Chinese (China, Hong Kong), Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Indian, Polish, German, South African, Australian, Korean, Trinidadian, Brazilian, Salvadorian, Mexican, Ivorian (Ivory Coast), etc.

An extended explanation is given by a correspondent from Luxembourg.

The population of Luxembourg is about 600,000 of which only half hold Luxembour-geois passports, but of these a great many came originally from Portugal, Italy and other places and many have never really integrated. As anyone who lives here will testify, Luxembourg is not a cultural melting pot like London but, rather, a ghettoised society in which each linguistic group sticks to its own.

A very significant contributor to this phenomenon is the vernacular Mass. The Luxembourgish Mass, the Italian Mass, the Portuguese Mass, the English language Mass, the French Mass, the Polish Mass and so on are all focuses of attendance by the various expatriate communities. If you attend any of these you are unlikely to meet anyone whose native language is not that of the Mass you are attending.

It is at the TLM that you will find a real mixture of ethnic backgrounds. There, you can meet people of Luxembourgeois, Hungarian, British, French, Polish, Japanese, Belgian, Italian, Nigerian, Austrian, Dutch and Spanish nationality, united by the common language of the Church: Latin.

The danger of which this last correspondent speaks was noted by the 1994 Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Varietates legitimae, which warned (49) that that the multiplicity of languages in worship might lead to “a Christian community becoming inward-looking, and also the use of inculturation for political ends.”

What is true in Luxembourg is true, to an extent, in many cities where migrants are to be found. The Church faces a dilemma: either to put on celebrations of the Mass in a large number of languages, which apart from the practical challenges risks delaying the integration of these communities into the life of the diocese, or to fail to do this, risking large-scale alienation and lapsation.

What is a dilemma for well-resourced dioceses in the developed world is simply an impossible situation in many African cities, where migrants even from within the same country can bring with them languages into which the Roman Missal has never been translated.17

The appeal of the EF to migrants is not just a matter of language. When migrants move from the countryside into the city, or from a less developed country into a more developed one, they are frequently (to speak in very broad terms) simultaneously making a transition from a more traditional society to a less traditional one. Those moving to Luxembourg, for example, from Portugal, let alone from Nigeria, may find the spirituality of the Church in their new home strikingly more individualistic and stripped down than what they are used to. It is not surprising that we should find some of them joining the ranks of those born into this culture who yearn for something more rooted, and who find it in the Extraordinary Form.

Conclusion

The Extraordinary Form is today attended by a very tiny percentage of Catholics, which is why it is possible to take surveys of Catholics as a whole as a proxy for Catholics who attend the Ordinary Form. After thirteen years of rapid growth following the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, it is nevertheless becoming a phenomenon worthy of serious study. Such study is of particular importance to counter lazy or outdated characterizations of the Catholics attached to this Form of the Mass, and it is also needed insofar as the experience of the EF may have something to teach the Church as a whole. I hope that this paper will serve as a contribution to the debate on the place of the EF in the Church, and as a stimulus to further research.

I have demonstrated that the association between the EF and young people and families is neither a myth nor something limited to certain countries. Most Catholics have never encountered the EF, but of those who do, mostly by chance, the ones who make it their preferred Form of Mass are disproportionately young, and include a disproportionate number of families with small children. The presence of numerous children at the typical EF celebration can be confirmed, indeed, by anyone willing to set foot in one, provided it is celebrated in a reasonably family-friendly time and place, and is reasonably well-established.

The place of migrants, and in general of people of mixed cultural and linguistic backgrounds, at the EF, can be seen, naturally, only in places where the local population includes them. Nevertheless it is very evident in cities such as London, and as indicated in the statements quoted above, can be found in many countries.

Easiest of all to confirm is the presence of men at the EF. With Ordinary Form congregations in many places being increasingly dominated by older women, the ability of the EF to retain at least equal numbers of men, as well as young people and those bringing up children, is of no small significance.

  1. Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce: Report for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: The Implementation of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum in Dioceses Around the World, 2007-2020.
  2. Since it was submitted to Rome, another country, with one diocese, has been added to the database.
  3. More on the FIUV Report, its background, contents, and conclusions, can be found on the FIUV website at http://www.fiuv.org/p/fiuv-report-2020.html.
  4. An Excel file breaking this data down by country can be see here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hKNhPQp5twz85vnFW-WPYq0zwd7ET4sEdcI5w5w6tY8/edit?usp=sharing.
  5. European regions are defined as follows: N. E. Europe comprises Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states and Scandinavia; S. Europe comprises Italy, Malta, Spain, and Portugal; C. Europe comprises Poland, Romania, and Germany; N. W. Europe comprises France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. North America comprises Canada, the USA, and Mexico. Oceania comprises Australia and New Zealand.
  6. See https://lms.org.uk/statistics. For other measures see Stephen Bullivant, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales: A statistical report based on recent British Social Attitudes survey data (Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, 2018).
  7. Letter to Bishops accompanying the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum.
  8. Archbishop Longley of Birmingham, Bishop Hopes of East Anglia, Bishop Byrne of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Arnold of Salford, Bishop Davies of Shrewsbury, Bishop Egan of Portsmouth, Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool, Bishop Drainey of Middlesbrough. Bishop Arnold has not celebrated the EF since becoming Ordinary of Salford, though he celebrated it regularly as an auxiliary bishop in Westminster Archdiocese. Archbishop Stack of Cardiff has given Confirmation in the EF, as have some of the other bishops listed. Archbishop McMahon, Bishop Egan, and Bishop Davies have ordained using the EF Pontifical.
  9. See Quattuor abhinc anno (1984) and Ecclesia Dei Adflicta (1988).
  10. More discussion of this topic can be found in the FIUV Position Paper 26: The Extraordinary Form and Men.
  11. See Bullivant op. cit. p15, figure 4.6. This revealed not only that just a third of “weekly or more” attenders of Catholic liturgy were men, but of these none in the sample were from the age-bracket 18-24. The data was gathered by the British Social Attitude Survey 2012-2014.
  12. Cf. Frederica Matthewes-Green Facing East: A Pilgrim’s Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1997) p.xii.
  13. See Matthewes-Green, Facing East.
  14. The 1936 United States Census gives the following ratios of women to men for different religions: Eastern Orthodoxy 0.75-.99 to one; Roman Catholics, 1.09 to one; Lutherans, 1.04-1.23 to one; Mennonites, 1.14-1.16 to one; Friends (Quakers), 1.25 to one; Presbyterians, 1.34 to one; Episcopalians, 1.37 to one; Unitarians, 1.40 to one; Methodists, 1.33-1.47 to one; Baptists, 1.35 to one; Assembly of God, 1.71 to one; Pentecostalists, 1.71-2.09 to one; Christian Scientists, 3.19 to one. See Leon Podles The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity (Dallas: Spence Publishing Company, 1999) p11.
  15. See Patrick Arnold Wildmen, Warriors, and Kings: Masculine Spirituality and the Bible (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1992), 77-78; and Podles op. cit.
  16. More discussion of this topic can be found in the FIUV Position Paper 7 Latin as a Liturgical Language and FIUV Position Paper 9 The Extraordinary Form in Africa, which can be downloaded from the FIUV website, and are included in Joseph Shaw (ed) The Case for Liturgical Restoration: Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico Press, 2019).
  17. In South Africa, for example, where the Church is relatively well-resourced, only four of the nine official indigenous languages are used for the Catholic liturgy, and even these tend to be pushed into the less popular time-slots in busy city parishes. In Kenya, a country of 69 languages, only English and Swahili are used in the liturgy.
Dr. Joseph Shaw About Dr. Joseph Shaw

Dr. Joseph Shaw is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet's Hall, Oxford University. He is the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, Secretary of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, and author of The Case of Liturgical Restoration: Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico Press, 2019).

Comments

  1. I was fortunate to learn the Tridentine Mass at St Bed’s in Clapham Part under the jurisdiction of Fr.Basden and Fr Andrew Southwell Deo gratias. I had just left Brockley.
    “the world’s salvation is The Eucharist”” said Abbot Vonier OSB in 1940’s I do believe this and I do celebrate the Old Rite as well as Novus Ordo. I believe the Tridentine Rite will draw people back to what they have missed or give them the opportunity to see what they have lost. Many, many priests celebrate the New Mass reverently ?(Deo gratias) if only they would revert to Ad Orientem.
    Robert Copsey solt

  2. This is excellent research and well considered. It would also be worth studying 1-the internal replication (generation, families growing) of the Latin Mass community and 2-the number of outsiders who eventually attach to the old Mass. I would guess the growth, particularly in the latter, is substantial.

  3. Avatar Hugh Mackay says:

    What is not addressed in this article, and which might be addressed at a later date, are the numbers of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder who attend the EF. For myself, I attend that form of the Mass because it is the same thing all the time. It speaks of certainty in an age of doubt. It speaks of Hope in an age of Despair. It speaks of Love in an age of selfishness. It also speaks of peace in a noisy age.

  4. Avatar Scott M. Quinn says:

    Fascinating, but hardly surprising. Great piece. Men and, I would argue, most women, don’t want to associate with the Susan-from-the-parish-council types. One of the things I really appreciate at the Latin Mass is how diverse the attendees are. The demographics tell the story and point the way to the future. I am optimistic for the future of TLM. The disdain so many older prelates hold against TLM is a sure sign of a biological solution to the inevitable growth of TLM.

  5. Avatar Fr. Kloster says:

    I have done two National Studies in the USA on the Traditional Latin Mass. I have over 3,500 samples from 39 states. My data found everything in the TLM was on steroids compared to the Novus Ordo. Five times more in the collection plate, a 60% bigger family size, 57% men in the congregation, 4 times more likely to go to Sunday Mass, 7 times more seminarians per capita…the list goes on and on. One would think the Bishops would be whole heartedly supporting the TLM, but many of them still resist. It is as if they don’t want to know what they need to know!

  6. The Mass that i say is almost identical to the mass in which I served at the altar (boy) before Vatican II. However it is in English and an approved liturgy of Western Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR)

  7. Could it be possible to seek out EF “drop-outs” to learn what we can from them?

    My own concern is whether the current TLM balance between the sexes is due to some problem: what if in some regions and cultures, the TLM attracts men or women with negative traits who drive off the “surplus” women?

    I know of one case where some gossip wrongly decided an infertile couple was using contraception and spread rumors about the wife. The couple left for a Maronite parish. The husband sometimes returns to the TLM Mass on the occasional Sunday, perhaps when his wife is out of town, but never with his wife.

    I would also like to know about contrarian medical views and the average TLM parish.

    My own local parish seems to have attracted strong skeptics of all vaccination. I had a suspicion or two but I was totally surprised at how deep this sentiment was, until the pandemic. Naturopathy seems popular, too. If acceptance of or high tolerance for anti-vaccination views is a de facto requirement for joining a TLM parish, that leaves the rest of us on the outside.

    • The answers to the questions would certainly be interesting.

      However, as always, if we do have to toss guilt about we need to do so in justice. So, yes, it would be (and I really mean that) interesting if men drive off the women; but then it would also be interesting if they actually behaved indecently. (An awkward loner who somehow gathers enough courage to openly court an unbound woman he fancies? That’s not a problem but pretty heroic. If she says no, that’s fine, but if she feels obliged to keep clear of the congregation where the two have seen each other from afar, that would be a pity but neither his nor the congregation’s fault. – The gossip you mention *is* indecent; but, in this case, I rather do not suspect a male origin. I might, of course, be wrong.)

      Skeptics of vaccination and allopathy, etc.? That’s an interesting topic. Generally, people become more infested with it the more religious they get, especially if the religion is irreligion; the trad community tends to fuflil the first but of course not the second criterion, complicated by the fact that they with some justification perceive all the world as their opponents. Well. Still, I’d rather defend a reasonable view of the whole matter in front of a well-educated traditionalist city congregation than in front of a Novus Ordo countryside parish (where with all the modern attack and the opponent’s supposition that defending Christianity means defending the indefensible, the contrary idea apparently has been given rise that defending the indefensible would mean to defend Christianity, that reason is under suspicion, that feelings are the thing to look to, etc.). Still, it is probably quite true that the ability to amicably disagree in things *not* made dogmatically clear is rather helpful in joining a TLM parish (or any congregation for that matter)….

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