Poll: almost half of UK Mass-goers would attend TLM

The lovely and persistent Anna Arco, one of my favorite writers for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, has an interesting article which escaped my noticed as I winged my way Gothamward.

My emphases and comments.

Poll: almost half of Mass-goers would attend older form

By Anna Arco on Friday, 3 September 2010

Almost half of English and Welsh Mass-goers would attend Masses in the traditional form of the Roman Rite if it was celebrated in local parishes, a new study has shown. [I can't possibly imitate the style of Damian Thompson, but, giving the old college try: Cricket sounds from Eccleston Square...?]

The survey, which used a sample of 800 people who identified themselves as Catholic, showed that 66 per cent of practising Catholics [NB: practising.  That might mirror some of the findings in the USA.  If people are going to Mass regularly, they would be happy to attend also the more... what can one say... challenging? complete?... adult? ... experience of Holy Mass?] would be happy to attend the traditional Latin Mass once a month if it were celebrated in their parishes.

Commissioned by the French group Paix Liturgique, the survey also showed that Britain had a higher percentage of regular Mass attendance than France, Portugal and Germany.

Although only 19 per cent of Britain’s population identifies as Catholic, 32 per cent of Catholics attend Mass at least once a month, if not more often, compared with 19 per cent of French Catholics and 10 per cent of German Catholics[That high?]

According to the survey, 43 per cent of those Catholics who practice regularly would attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form once a week. Fifty per cent of the Catholics questioned said that they would find it normal if Mass were celebrated in the Extraordinary Form alongside the Ordinary Form in their parishes. The survey also found that 60 per cent of Catholics were unaware of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which lifted restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass in 2007. [14 Sept is the 3rd Anniversary of its going into effect.]

John Medlin, general manager of the Latin Mass Society, said: “Broadly speaking these results are the same across Europe. They indicate that among Catholics who take interest in their faith, although there is great ignorance, once people are made aware of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum there is a willingness for people in large numbers to accept the Extraordinary Form.

Once it is explained, there is a willingness on the part of Catholics attached to the Ordinary Form for the two forms of the rite to exist quite happily side by side in the parishes, just as most of those attached to the Extraordinary Form are quite happy to accept the right of those attached to the ordinary form to have Mass celebrated in this way.”

In a statement Paix Liturgique said: “In Great Britain as elsewhere, the argument resting on [NOTA BENE] the lack of interest among the faithful for the application of the Motu Proprio is unfair. When their point of view is solicited in an opinion poll the results are quite different to those obtained when one merely speaks in their name.”

Get out and start inviting people.

Get to work.

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29 Responses to Poll: almost half of UK Mass-goers would attend TLM

  1. Jack Hughes says:

    the turnout for the first regular TLM at my Church yesterday was WELL above what we expected; part of that can be traced to the fact that it will be the only Church (beside the SSPX chapel) offering the TLM on a weekly basis (sans 4th sunday of the month) but I’m sure there were people from the NO there as well (can’t swear to it as I was serving), even thought I saw someone I recognised from the SSPX chapel there as well.

  2. Well, nothing surprising about this. Fairness is a typically English virtue, innit? :)

    The Mass is the Mass. If you’re most practicing Catholics, you like the Mass and think there should be more of it; and you probably want people who want the EF Mass to have it; and you probably wouldn’t object to going yourself. Because the Mass is normal and good, no matter what kind of Mass. (And if your parish might be missing out on something, you want your parish to have it.)

    Probably most Latin Rite Catholics wouldn’t object to a Maronite or a Byzantine Mass being scheduled in their parish, either, as long as it didn’t interfere with parking too much.

  3. Esther says:

    *happydance*

  4. chcrix says:

    “If people are going to Mass regularly, they would be happy to attend also the more… what can one say… challenging? complete?… adult? … experience of Holy Mass?”

    Satisfying?
    Fullfilling?
    Transforming?
    Transcendent?
    Liturgically consistent?
    Intellectually rigorous?

  5. mike cliffson says:

    Numbers game ?

    15% to 19% catholic was the generally accepted figure for E&W (Scotland is a slightly different ball game)in my youth.(JustPreVatII)( at a guess , 15% EVERY Sunday at least, 4% varying from not quite every to Xmas, Easter, funerals weddings and Christenings) Considering that welsh catholics, sadly, have been at the only-filla-phone-booth level for generations, and that catholics were sparser where once, penal times, we’d been stronger, in the countryside, you could reckon the average urban area in England to be about 25% Catholic (Ok, Ok, mainly of Irish extraction ,both recent and generations ago), even higher in the North. We made up abt 50% of the prison population, too. And converts came in every day.
    The most recent figure I’ve seen, 8%, fits better with the experience of one’s own eyes: On any given Sunday( liturgical inc after 6pm Sat) 8% of the population of E&W goes to mass in a Catholic Church:
    So I suspect That the “at least once a month” repliers are actually like a good devout woman, but…, whom the family met in august , who said she ‘d been to mass in her parish , which she proudly acknowledged, as recently as March! Im sure she’ll be saved where I may well not be, but it illustrates the loss of social understanding of what being a Catholic IS.
    Be it noted, also, that, praise the lord, catholic congregations in the cities especially are heavy on post-war onwards extraction carribeans, asians, you name it- praise the Lord, indeed, but this make-up on numbers disguises that most of my generation and their descendants have, by the standards of my youth, lapsed. 19% “identifies as Catholic” means that , the percentage of relative newcomers will equal those who no longer even “identify as Catholic” by today’s rather undemanding standards.
    Do the exact numbers matter? 75.3*%, or 42.7291%, whatever%, are not receiving the sacraments and mass, even if a fifth to a quarter of the population have some sort of more infrequent or vague attatchment to the Catholic church, even if the worst has perhaps bottomedout.

    Un-fleshed Proto-rant,on the main point of the post, and ana Arco’s bottom line I’d suspect, : statistics as such are THEIR turf,most usually bandied about by nosinexists spiritofvaticantwo onesizefitsall consensusmongers: mightn’t doing what Peter says work better, regardless? Reevangelize, and the statistics ‘ll eventually take care of themselves, as it were , if you prefer that to the temerity of saying God’ll take care of them.

  6. Jim of Bowie says:

    “The survey also found that 60 per cent of Catholics were unaware of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum…”

    Me: If the poll were conducted in the Archdiocese of Washington, I would not be surprised if this figure were 95%. It has been kept a deep secret here by our Bishop and Diocesean newspaper.

    “In a statement Paix Liturgique said: “In Great Britain as elsewhere, the argument resting on [NOTA BENE] the lack of interest among the faithful for the application of the Motu Proprio is unfair. When their point of view is solicited in an opinion poll the results are quite different to those obtained when one merely speaks in their name.”

    Me: This is exactly the argument that will be used by Bishops in explaining why Summorum Pontificum was not a sucess.

  7. RichR says:

    The problem with polls (especially internet polls) is that it is easy to skew the data and make the poll unreliable. I am not sure how this one was conducted, but if it was done by a professional group, then I would put more stock in it than an online poll or even a write-in poll for a newspaper.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Same with England, same with America. We moved to a city where there is one EF. Yesterday, thirty people were there and I have been told this is down from the original 40 who started in 2007. The diocesan newspaper has never advertised this Mass since the initial 2007 announcement. Two priests take turns saying the Mass, and they both have other parishes far away. The parish was chosen by the Bishop. Why this Mass has not grown is odd to me. Several of the priests in the diocese have been critical publicly of the EF and those priests who went to St. John Cantius to learn the EF. Apparently, six went, but only three are currently saying the Mass somewhere in the diocese.

    All it would take would be for the Bishop to say the Mass once, with the diocesan newspaper covering the event, to “put the Mass on the map”.

    As to the English survey, I understand that English Catholics have been more open to the EF simply because of the cultural connections to Europe, and the old, yet venerable fact that people died for the EF in the terrible times of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, as well as other kings.

    If each Bishop in the English, Scottish and Welsh dioceses said the EF once in a high-profile situation, the interest would grow. Only three bishops are really “liberal”: Clifton, Portsmouth, and A and B, yet there are EF Masses in their dioceses.

  9. catholicuspater says:

    I’ve known TEN different traditional families from my area who tried the local Latin Mass, and none have stayed. The reason is simple. The culture of 100% total silence and 100% total non-participation is competely and unecessarilly foreign and alienating to them.

    A number have told me that they don’t feel welcomed and are frustrated that they feel shut out from the celebration because they are never invited to sing any hymns (only the choir does this), they are not invited to make the responses during the Low Mass (only the altar boys do this), and during the High Mass they are not given the music to join in singing the ordinary (which is again only sung by the choir).

    If the people were given a copy of chant ordinary (at the High Mass) and were allowed to sing an English recessional hymn (and given the music for it) that could go a LONG way toward making them feel they are a valued part of the celebration.

    Fostering a genuine sense of community by organizing picnics, get togethers, etc. would also be of great help in building a real, genuine and vibrant community.

    Where I live, none of these things happen, and of those TEN families who were coming to the local Latin Mass, although seven no longer go, the remaining three (mine included) have chosen to drive into another county every Sunday to find a Latin Missa Cantata where the people are encouraged to sing and make the responses in a JOYFUL and welcoming atmosphere.

  10. Athelstan says:

    Hello Fr. Z,

    “Cricket sounds from Eccleston Square…?”

    Either that or sounds we can’t print in a family-friendly venue.

    Developments like this confirm my belief that real restoration of tradition only happens when the leadership of the Church is on board. The liturgy was wrecked wholly from above (running roughshod over any and all resistance) in 1965-1970; its restoration has been real only when implemented from above.

    This is not to knock lay efforts (in which I have taken part myself) to gain wider access to the traditional liturgy. It’s just that the laity can only do so much – and, as we have seen, for most of the laity there is still an instinctive passivity about such matters. If you offer it, many will still come (apologies to W.P. Kinsella). And once they experience it, many will find that they love it. But too few ever even get the chance to experience it.

    We can never forget that ours is a hierarchical Church.

  11. Athelstan says:

    A number have told me that they don’t feel welcomed and are frustrated that they feel shut out from the celebration because they are never invited to sing any hymns (only the choir does this), they are not invited to make the responses during the Low Mass (only the altar boys do this), and during the High Mass they are not given the music to join in singing the ordinary (which is again only sung by the choir).

    This debate about dialogue masses is a never-ending one.

    Some traditionalists hate the idea – there is no getting around that. And when there are so few traditional masses around, they’ll fight to keep the one they do have access to “silent.” I find it not surprising that virtually every traditional/semi-traditional dialogue mass I have attended has been a Latin novus ordo, not a 1962 mass.

    The ideal, however, would be to have many traditional mass options in close proximity, so that at least some could offer some kind of dialogue format; and then it would be up to the individual/family to choose whichever format they find most edifying. “Actual participation” doesn’t require such external participation, nor should (I hope) “silent” = “unwelcoming” (but I know some take it that way) – but some Catholics may legitimately believe that the external (in this format) assists the internal.

    And that seems to be the experience of those ten traditional families you know. I know they’re not alone.

  12. Hidden One says:

    In Britain, half the people want the EF at least once a month.

    In Canada, I think the percentage of seminarians (outside of Quebec, at least,) who want to, upon ordination, celebrate it more-than-weekly, if not daily, is higher than that. Ditto for newly ordained diocesan priests.

    Meanwhile, public Canadian EFs are few to be found, and rather under-attended.

  13. Get out and start inviting people. Get to work.

    I’m working on it!

    Allow me to work on it some more right here. All readers in and near Boise, Idaho and the Treasure Valley who want to attend a TLM every week, there is an opportunity for a private TLM if enough people are willing to go every week. If at least 60 people attend every week, it can become a public Mass. Click my name, get on my website and email me about it!

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    32% of 19% is c. 6%. 43% of 6% is c. 2.6% of the total population. Depressing in its way, but ‘dum spiro, spero’: a mustard seed is smaller! (What percent of the population buy cds of “Old” or “Classical” music, I wonder? Lots of them would have exposure to, and experience of, the Ordinary, variously set, at the least. How many Tolkien fans could be persuaded to read his ‘Letters’? – though one can imagine this being problematical without some preparation…)

  15. Supertradmum says:

    We cannot fall into the false idea that the Latin Mass-either NO or EF-is somehow “esoteric”. This is a red herring which some priests follow in saying that one cannot “expect” the people to learn Latin or Gregorian Chant. Where there is a will, there is a way. Thousands of grade school children in the first half of the 20th century not only followed the Mass clearly, but like myself in the 1960s, daily sang Gregorian Chant.

    We should not compare the reading of specific literature or background biographical info, or classical music, which are tastes which people develop in their families, or even at college, with the broad-based accessibility of the EF or NO in Latin.

    People are always more intelligent than we think, and only need teaching and encouragement from the Bishops….

  16. Supertradmum says:

    May I add that Mass-going in the US, and perhaps England, is partly a matter of habit, and new habits are hard to learn-but not impossible.

  17. ssoldie says:

    First we have to have a priest that can find the time to invite and encourage a priest to pray regularly the T.L.M., and then eliminate the so called liturgical paris commission, that most often then not do not want the T.L.M. offered on a regular basis, well maybe once a mo would suffice, once a yr would be really to their liking. It is disgusting to find the mindset and agenda’s of the progressive on parish’s counsil’s that have such a distain for anything that isn’t Vatican II(which is the beginning and end of their catholisism).

  18. We cannot fall into the false idea that the Latin Mass-either NO or EF-is somehow “esoteric”. This is a red herring which some priests follow in saying that one cannot “expect” the people to learn Latin or Gregorian Chant. Where there is a will, there is a way. Thousands of grade school children in the first half of the 20th century not only followed the Mass clearly, but like myself in the 1960s, daily sang Gregorian Chant.

    Supertradmum, I have never been able to understand why people don’t find it insulting that they “can’t be expected” to learn Latin or Chant. These ideas are the product of elitists who hold the hoi polloi in contempt. It is really the elitists who neither understand nor appreciate the liturgy in Latin; otherwise, they would never dream of trying to take it away from anyone else.

  19. terryprest says:

    Not a TLM but when the Pope comes to Glasgow soon to celebrate Mass in Bellahouston Park, the Preface and the Canon will be in Latin. He will also use the new English translation.

    See The Herald at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/pope-s-glasgow-mass-in-latin-1.1053037

    It will be interesting to see the reaction and the response.

  20. Jerry says:

    @catholicuspater – “If the people were given a copy of chant ordinary (at the High Mass) and were allowed to sing an English recessional hymn (and given the music for it) that could go a LONG way toward making them feel they are a valued part of the celebration.”

    Have any of them offered this suggestion to the pastor?

  21. Sixupman says:

    A parish church near Preston (UK) has a Sunday TLM at normal hours – the majority attending would be parishioners. I am sure that would be repeated were the TLM forms a natural part of parish services and not an extraordinary one.

    Another local priest has restored the altar rails and commenced Celebrating Mass facing the altar – some parishioners have departed.

    I attended the weekly TLM at the Holy Name Manchester on Sunday, with the usual good attendance – always some newcomers. But I also attended the 11:00 High Mass [out of curiosity] – full church and to a man/woman all knelt along the ‘rail’ to receive Communion. My faith in human nature restored. Fr. Ray Matus and the other clergy Celebrate Mass Ad Orientem and, through the week, Celebrate at side altars. This church was saved from the Jesuits wishing it to be sold as a conference venue! Strangers are astonished at the beauty of the church and High Altar. Check their web-site.

  22. SimonDodd says:

    Quaeritur: Suppose my pastor was willing to allow an EF Mass to be said in the parish, but is not himself able to do so. (I don’t know that either of these are so in my own case, but this is a hypothetical, and I suspect that many pastors would meet that description.) How would one go about finding a priest who can within a reasonable geographic distance? How would one go about obtaining the necessary training for the person or people involved in assisting? Are there resources available directed to demolishing practical hurdles like these.

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dear Supertradmum (11:39 am),

    I was/am trying to think, partly, about the phenomena of the supposed difficulty and ‘esoteric’ character of Latin used liturgically (and devotionally) on the one hand, and the (possible) levels of popularity and accessibility liturgical and devotional Latin song can and does seem actually to enjoy (in ‘other contexts’) , on the other hand, and also of how far what is ‘simply’ known and enjoyed can (perhaps) be a ‘praeparatio’ for liturgical and devotional use. (E.g., I was overjoyed to get the opportunity to go to Latin Masses when I was first learning Latin, but – as I recall – first started really learning the Ordinary from recordings of Mozart and Haydn settings,and the ‘Veni Creator’ from one with a setting by Guillaume Dufay, knowing little enough music theory, but ‘knowing what I liked’, on hearing it.)

  24. Geremia says:

    Of course! Most Catholics didn’t want the Novus Ordo, and most Vatican II clergy knew it.

  25. mark1970 says:

    Sixupman: You wouldn’t by any chance, be referring to the Latin Masses at Saint Mary Magdalen, Penwortham, and Saint Catherine Laboure, Farington, would you? I’m a regular at Saint Mary Magdalen, and I know for a fact that most attendees are from outside the parish and are members of the Latin Mass Society. I travel over 20 miles from Bolton, several others from East Lancashire, another couple from Wigan. In fact a significant number of parishioners are known to resent the Latin Mass being in the parish – attendees have been told that we’re “a cult”. We do get some parishioners attending but they are the minority of attendees.

  26. mark1970 says:

    Sixupman: In addition to my previous comment, the Mass I’m referring to is an “extra” Mass, celebrated by a visiting priest, with the permission of the parish priest. It wasn’t originally part of the Mass timetable and “switched over” to a Latin Mass.

  27. mark1970 says:

    For SimonDodd: Regarding your question: You may want to see if there’s a branch of “Una Voce” in the area. Una Voce is an international organisation promoting the TLM. They may be able to tell you if there are any priests in your area who know how to celebrate the TLM. Also, you may want to see if there are any of the traditional orders of priests in your area, such as the Institute of Christ the King, or the Fraternity of Saint Peter. Hope this helps.

  28. Sixupman says:

    Mark1970:

    I can only speak from my own experience from two attendances. The extra comment: I am glad to see that pedantry is alive and well within the LMS.

  29. mark1970 says:

    Sixupman: As you were speaking from your own experience, so was I. Although I was referring to the two Masses quoted, I’ve attended Latin Masses in other parishes, obviously all introduced with the permission of the priest. In all the parishes I’ve attended, the Latin Mass has received a very mixed welcome at best. I don’t doubt that you may have received a very good welcome – my point is that a warm welcome isn’t a universal experience and I wonder how you consider stating this is “pedantic” in the way you seem to intend. If you don’t like the tone of my comments, I apologise, but I don’t appreciate what was obviously considered an insult in yours.