A friend of mine has made an argument that if the numbers of TLMs and people attending them may not be growing quickly, it is nonetheless growing. At the same the number of people going to the Ordinary Form, and at least participating in the state of grace, is rapidly shrinking. In the end, what will we be left with? Do the math.
Now I see this from Damian Thompson:
Paul Inwood and the case of the disappearing traditionalists
By Damian Thompson
The Bishops of England and Wales and their allies have a clear policy regarding the Traditional Latin Mass: (a) Do as little as possible to make it available and (b) announce that not many people are going to it. Simple! But don’t overplay your hand, boys…
Paul Inwood, Director of Liturgy for Portsmouth Diocese and composer-in-residence to the Magic Circle, says the following on the Pray Tell blog:
In my diocese … we already had a fairly generous provision of EF Masses before SP. Now we have more of them, but it is the same 30 or so people who are simply travelling round to more places to attend (apart from those on the Isle of Wight). There is no discernible increase in numbers. More Masses, same tiny uptake. I wonder how many other dioceses mirror this? [I suspect none of them.]
A better question might be: how many other dioceses’ liturgical mafia are under-representing the number of Catholics attending EF Masses? Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, has come up with a different total for the diocese of Portsmouth:
Notice [Paul Inwood] says that it is ‘the same 30 people’ as before the Motu Proprio, spreading themselves more thinly across more churches in the diocese. As Director of Liturgy he may know how many churches have the TLM, but he has clearly never been to the FSSP Mass in Reading. [Where the FSSP have a chapel.]
Five years ago about 40 people used to go to these Masses. Since then a lot has happened, including the Motu Proprio, and the number has more than doubled. On a good day we have 100 people; numbers never dip below 60. [Sounds like growth.]
This is at the same time as other churches have started to offer the Mass. Plus people in the northern part of the diocese can easily pop over the diocesan boundary to Oxford, where numbers have also doubled since the Motu Proprio. [Sounds like growth. My experience in, for example, New York City, is that the daily/Sunday Masses established not to long ago at Holy Innocents are slowly but steadily drawing more people. Lots of new faces, not just the same crowd.]
What has happened to the disappearing traditionalists? The only explanation I can come up with is that the great composer popped along to a Reading TLM one Sunday but, such were the clouds of incense, could make out only half the worshippers.
In the meantime, here is one of Paul Inwood’s tunes. I couldn’t find quickly the Cha Cha Alleluia thing, so I settled for this. You may have heard it in a suburban parish near you.
I think a brandy-snifter is needed for the edge of that piano… a couple fivers tucked in… no?
Someone sent me a link to the “Alleluia Ch Ch“. You decide.