CH: Traditional Latin Mass attendees more devout and orthodox, study says. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

From the Catholic Herald. My emphases and comments:

Traditional Latin Mass attendees more devout and orthodox, study says

A new survey suggests Catholics who attend the Old Rite are more faithful to Church teaching

Catholics in the US who attend the traditional Latin Mass a far more faithful to Church teaching than those who attend the Novus Ordo, a survey has found.

A study led by Fr Donald Kloster compared Catholics who attend the traditional Mass (TLM) with the results of previous surveys of Catholics at large, the vast majority of whom attend the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM).

The authors found that 99 per cent of Catholics who attend the TLM fulfil their weekly obligation, compared to just 22 per cent of those who go to the NOM. [Whew!] Ninety-eight per cent also go to Confession at least once a year along with weekly Mass, compared to 25 per cent of NOM attendees.

The survey also found that TLM attendees are far more sympathetic to Church teaching on moral issues. Just two per cent of Catholics who attend the TLM approve of contraception, one per cent approve of abortion, and two per cent support same-sex marriage.

In contrast, previous surveys suggest 89 per cent of NOM attendees approve of contraception, 51 per cent support abortion, and 67 per cent support same-sex marriage.

Fr Kloster said that through more than 20 years celebrating both forms of the Roman Rite, he noticed differences between the congregations. The survey, he said, “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.”

Women who attend the TLM have a fertility rate of 3.6, compared to 2.3 for NOM women.

“Importantly, TLM families have a nearly 60% larger family size,” Fr Kloster added. “This will translate to a changing demographic within the Church.”  [That’s big.]

“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.”

There are many aspects of this that deserve discussion.  One point, however, stood out.


The demographics of the Church are going to shift dramatically and soon.  Younger generations from nominally Catholic families are less and less inclined to self-identity as Catholics.  They will, as they older, stop even pretending.  Older people will drop away from church attendance.  Many dioceses will soon lose large numbers of priests through death and retirement.  Church attendance and income will drop.

For years I have talked about the future of the Novus Ordo and the TLM, the roles they would play.  Summorum Pontificum was, therefore, a game changer.  It was probably the signal most important legislative move that Benedict XVI made, and he did it according to what I for years have called his “Marshall Plan” for the rebuilding the Church in the wake of post-Conciliar devastation and against the onslaught of the dictatorship of relativism.

No initiative we undertake in the Church can succeed without it being rooted in our sacred liturgical worship.   However, our collective sacred liturgical worship is presently in a state of cataclysmic disorder.   I believe with all my heart and mind that we, collectively, cannot in this present state fulfill properly our obligation to God according to the virtue of religion, that virtue which directs us to give to God what is His due.   Hence, according to the hierarchy of goods which we all must embrace, we are, collectively, disordered.  Nothing we can do as a Church will succeed in this state of affairs.  We have to see to our worship of God.

The use of the TLM will help us to correct our downward trajectory.  The knock-on effect that learning the TLM has on priests is remarkable.  That knock-on effect ripples beyond the sanctuary to congregations.

“An enemy as done this”, is what the parable of the Lord says.  The Enemy, the Prince of this world, knows how to bring us from order to disorder.  Consider the lies of the Devil to our First Parents.  In every act of the Enemy, the objective is to disorder our relationship with God, to bring us to withhold from God what is due to God.   God’s plan for humanity at every step involved His teaching us how to worship Him properly.   He continues to show us today.

Christ says that the Prince of this world has no power again Him (John 14:30). We can do this with Christ’s help.  We must to revitalize our sacred liturgical worship in order to set things on a new course.

We can do this.

What will it take?

Firstly, it is going to take nearly heroic courage from priests, who will need to work to acquire tools that they were systematically cheated out of in their formation.  They will be intimidated.  They will fear that they can’t do it.  They can, but it will take hard work and support from others.  Graces will be given in this undertaking, because the connection of the priest and the altar is fundamental to the Church’s life.  No other thing that the priest does is more important.  Priests must also be willing to suffer attacks from libs, many of whom are not malicious but who are blinkered and nearly brainwashed.

Next, it is going to require nearly heroic courage and spirit of sacrifice from lay people who must support their priests and encourage them in projects that they will be reluctant to undertake.  Lay people must also be ready to engage in their parishes on a new level.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. HvonBlumenthal says:

    If Traddird put 5 times as much into the collection, and attend Sunday Mass 5 times more often than a NOM Catholic, it means one traditionalist makrs 25 times the financial contribution.

  2. mepoindexter says:

    It doesn’t take a lot big Catholic families to fill a Church.

  3. Jerome Charles says:

    You can find the study here:

    It appears that the TLM Catholics were directly part of Fr. Kloster’s survey; NO Catholic stats were from secondary sources, from what I can tell. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    It doesn’t surprise me that his analysis concludes that TLM Catholics are “more faithful Catholics” on these issues. There are also other important Catholic practices to compare– Do they practice the Works of Mercy, for instance? How generous are they with those in need? Are they faithful to the Commandments? Do they welcome the stranger/immigrant? How many have given their lives to church work–as lay people, often spending their own money on graduate degrees, only to earn less than they are worth?

    Maybe I should do a survey investigating these sorts of Catholic issues.

  4. Dan says:

    I have said to people many times that when persecuted. the way the Church survives. is that they bring it into their homes, into the domestic church, where they preserve it like an ember to be reignited when the time is right. This has been true throughout history, even as recently in memory of a young Karol Wojtyla secretly attended seminary, or more recently we can think of Msgr. Schuler quietly instructing a few seminarians (and now a few good bishops) in the traditional right.
    Of course this is why the devil wants so much to attack marriage and the family. He knows he has the surface, legislative, structure of the church on the run, he has since 1960 or earlier, now he wants to destroy the place where it hides. In the home in the family.
    The families, i think, more attracted to the TLM are the ones that have brought that ember into their homes, they have preserved the traditions and the church teaching in their families, waiting for the days when the church bells would ring again. Summorum Pontificum has in many ways allowed the church bells to ring again, where those families can now come somewhat blinking into the light, together with some young well formed new priests we start to see glimmers of new light into even the NO where suddenly things like sacred music and reverence are making a come back.

    What we need now are for those young well formed priests to be strong, because the devil is not going to give up what he has gained without one hell of a fight. This last summit on abuse of minors has made it clear, that the domestic church, along with some strong good priests will be mostly in this alone, they will need to fight and fight hard, and be willing to be martyred along the way, there will not be overwhelming support from bishops (there are a few who will fight) or even to a large degree the Holy See. This is a fight that will come into our homes and our families.

    I hope priests looking at this survey will see this, although the TLM community might be much smaller in numbers, they will back you, the good faithful servant of God, they will stand behind you and support you, financially, emotionally, spiritually. Please don’t back down, don’t give up. We will fight with you, shoulder to shoulder. And when we are all rotting in prison for the hate crime of being Catholic, we will assist you at Holy Mass to our last day.

  5. Dan says:

    Punctuation not withstanding, I do know the difference between right and rite. :-) and even write.
    I remember when preview accidentally was turned on here for a bit. That saved me a bit of embarrassment. but I can’t say I am not warned by the proof read warning every time I post. :-)

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Didn’t we know this already? It’s not like pro-woman priest Catholics attend Mass in the extraordinary form.

  7. Julia_Augusta says:

    Although the study was conducted in the US only, I suspect the same differences appear between N.O. and trad Catholics outside the US. I have attended the TLM in Singapore, Ireland, France, and the UK; I have also been to Novus Ordo masses outside America.
    Before the TLM, queues for Confession are long. I have to get there at least 45 minutes before mass begins.
    Before the Novus Ordo mass, there is no one – not even a priest – at the confessional. I have to run around to find a priest to hear my confession. Recently in Thailand, the priest seemed irritated that I wanted to confess. No one else was waiting outside the Confessional – he probably thought I was a crazy tradCath tourist.
    In the NO parish in Japan where I regularly attend mass in spring and autumn, I am the only one ever going to confession before mass. My conclusion based on my travels is this: NOvus Ordo Catholics do not believe in the sacrament of Confession. Yet, they go to Communion. I was always taught in Catholic school that receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin is a mortal sin. This is a shame. Confessions has worked wonders in my heart. A lot of anger and resentment I had been keeping inside for years are simply gone. God does work in a mysterious way if you let Him. It’s supernatural and real at the same time.

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    The results are predictable, but this is not how I would have done this statistical survey. I know they had a Ph.D statistician helping, but these are two different non-comparable subject populations. People have to pre-chose to attend the TLM, often at great distances. Of course, they are going to show high compliant rates of weekly attendence. Of course, they are going to show high rates of traditional beliefs. They are a self-selected subpopulation of people holding to traditional Catholic beliefs.

    A much more interesting survey would be to ask questions about education of the TLM families, homeschooling, use of mass media, activities in the community, both religious and nonreligious, diet, etc. In other words, beyond religious practices, what effect does the TLM have on the other parts of their lives. This might be able to tease out the effect of secularity in diminishing religious sensibilities and put the lie to the liberal hopes, post-Vatican II, that engagement with the culture would lead to a flourishing of the life of grace.

    I mean, not to be too harsh, but the results of this survey were kind of obvious and predictable, even before they did it. They didn’t ask the hard questions of how these people found their way to the TLM or what attitudes are different in the formation of parishioners from the NO and TLM. I suspect they won’t do that because it would expose what we already know: its the theological shift controlled by the liberals after Vatican II that is directly responsible for the problem. Even if the Mass went back to TLM universally, without proper Catechesis (which I suspect most of the TLM attendees in the survey had), the effect would be only those who wanted to go to the TLM would go and the rest would stop attending, much as the opposite happened in 1969.

    Yes, people will get old and die, but the population of NO parishioners will shrink at about the same rate a priestly vocations shrink, so the relative priest/parishioner ratio will stay the same in years to come, I suspect, unless more horrible abuse or theology occurs.

    The other problem with this survey is the NO and TLM data were collected at different times in different environments. The TLM survey used both written and electronic polling of about 15 states; the PEW survey was, probably, phone conducted and had a larger geographic range. These populations are not matched for age, sex, education, etc.

    I would like to see this survey re-done with more stringent conditions, using the same methodology for both groups. There are much more subtle questions that need to be asked in the survey and a lot more good data collection can tell us. As a pilot study, this survey shows what we already expected – Traditional Catholics are more traditional. They missed a chance to reveal the WHY differences between the populations, not just the WHAT.

    The Chicken

  9. veritas vincit says:

    “The results are predictable, but this is not how I would have done this statistical survey. I know they had a Ph.D statistician helping, but these are two different non-comparable subject populations. People have to pre-chose to attend the TLM, often at great distances. Of course, they are going to show high compliant rates of weekly attendence. Of course, they are going to show high rates of traditional beliefs. They are a self-selected subpopulation of people holding to traditional Catholic beliefs.”

    Masked Chicken, I agree, but I would go farther. Catholics who attend the TLM are a subset of, not the Catholic population at large, but observant and regular Mass-going Catholics, maybe something like 20-30% of those who identify as Catholic. You are not going to get nominal Catholics to attend a TLM for the simple reason they are unlikely to know the TLM exists.

    I suspect that if a poll were commissioned among Catholics who attend Sunday Mass regularly, there would be less difference, maybe a lot less difference, between observant NO Catholics and observant TLM Catholics.

  10. UncleBlobb says:

    “Just two per cent of Catholics who attend the TLM approve of contraception, one per cent approve of abortion, and two per cent support same-sex marriage.”
    I can’t help but wondering … what are these people thinking?! Maybe they’re in the process of conversion? Maybe they took a wrong turn at Albuquerque? Maybe their spouse made them go? It’s a mystery.

  11. JesusFreak84 says:

    Anyone else confused as to how 2% of TLM attendees can STILL be embracing Modernism? 1% would’ve been much higher than I expected…

  12. WVC says:

    Well . . . . duh.

  13. WVC says:

    @UncleBlobb and @JesusFreak84

    -my thoughts exactly! Who on earth goes to the Latin Mass and embraces such wrong thinking? I suspect the poll must have been rigged!

  14. TonyO says:

    Julia_Augusta, the difficulty with your finding that in NO parishes people don’t go to confession right before mass, whereas in TLM parishes they do, is that there is a VAST GULF in difference in the planned, stated, and expected confession times for the two groups.

    I don’t know what it was like in your parish before the NO came around, but in my parish and in those around me, regular confessions were held on Saturday afternoon, maybe also on Saturday evening in a few places. As far as I recall, that was pretty much true in every parish around us. You could also make an appointment to see the priest, but unless you were going for spiritual direction, that was pretty unusual. So by and large, if you didn’t go on Saturday afternoon, you didn’t get to confession and had to wait until next week.

    This REMAINS the time for confession in most NO parishes, or at least one of the main times. I have done a survey of the parishes around me now (I just moved), and almost every single one has confessions on Saturday afternoon, while most of them ALSO have at least one other time. A few have confessions nearly every day, or Monday through Thursday, either every morning before mass or every afternoon (in addition to Saturday). A few NO churches I know have confessions before at least ONE of the Sunday masses, though not before each mass.

    The TLM masses I have gone to tend to have confessions before every mass. I don’t recall this being true in the period of the 1960’s before the introduction of the NO. So, my surmise is that this practice came about as a result of two social / cultural changes since 1965: First, far more people present at any mass go to Communion than was true in 1960: whether in NO or TLM mass, the vast majority of adults go to confession, whereas before 1960 this was not nearly as true. Generally, adults are now expected to go to Communion at each mass, most do, and and thus the few who don’t stand out like sore thumbs. Secondly, the TLM masses in nearly all places are masses that made a come-back, and quite a few people go there even though it is not their local parish. This means that they travel from a distance, and they are less likely to both travel in on Saturday for confession, and then Sunday for mass. I think that the confessions just before mass, then, are a modern accommodation to the new reality of the demographics of who attends at the TLM masses.

    What is very interesting is that I have seen at least 3 different NO parishes that often have long, even VERY long lines for confession. And at least one of them is a parish that has confessions on an almost daily basis. It is clear that what the priests do about talking up confession, and making it available when people can use it, together can make a huge difference. One big one is having confessions on Saturday mornings early enough to catch people before they start their projects for the day. One local parish has them at 8:00 am, with a line forming before 7:45, and if they started at 7:30 there would be a line then.

  15. Hidden One says:

    Looking at these stats, there are two things I would like to note:

    1. The OF stats are affected to a small (positive) degree by folks who would go to the EF but can’t.
    2. Often with this stuff people question to what extent the EF caused this vs. to what extent people already serious Catholics ended up going to the EF. Anecdotally, I think both groups are sizable within EF populations. But either way, the family size is critical. Whether or not the folks with or desiring larger families are that way before seeking the EF or become that way after starting to attend, Catholic kids are disproportionately being raised in the EF.

  16. pjm88 says:

    Only God knows who is more devout and pleasing to Him. Homo videt in facie, Deus autem in corde. Man sees the face, God sees the heart.

  17. William says:

    This is a true “stop the presses” moment.

    The only people who are surprised by this are those who think that Sr. Joan Chittister is more Catholic than Pope Pius XII.

  18. Gilbert Fritz says:

    “The authors found that 99 per cent of Catholics who attend the TLM fulfil their weekly obligation, compared to just 22 per cent of those who go to the NOM. [Whew!] Ninety-eight per cent also go to Confession at least once a year along with weekly Mass, compared to 25 per cent of NOM attendees.”

    I’d say that it would have been more interesting to compare those who attend the TLM with those who DO attend the NOM, rather than with those who DON’T.

    And even more interesting would be comparing TLM attendees with other Catholic groups. I would guess that any group with a similar “destination parish” situation would give similar results. Destination parishes and Catholic sub-groups self select for the dedicated; it takes dedication to drive a long distance instead of attending the closest Church, or to join a group.

    A FSSP pastor in my town said that many young people in the parish were drifting away from the Faith, were not being properly catechized, were getting into with drugs, etc. He preached a sermon on the sad fact that many traditionalist parents seem to think attending the TLM will magically keep their children in the straight and narrow.

  19. teomatteo says:

    Is it just me [Fr Z: YES] or are studies like this divisive? Now if someone had a ‘grace-O-meter’ now that might be helpful but I suppose they did this study with good intentions. I will concede that out of charity. (Fr Z: you got somethun right].

  20. beelady says:


    My experience has been similar to that of TonyO’s. Perhaps you would change your conclusion that no one who attends the NO Mass believes in Confession if you visited my parish and diocese in Michigan or the parishes near him.
    I am sure that others could also offer suggestions as to where to find N.O. parishes with long lines for Confession.
    We don’t have any options for the TLM near us yet Confession lines are always long. Our priest hears them on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well as Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
    We sometimes drive to a parish about 15 miles away to have our Confessions heard on Saturday morning. Our experience there has been the same, the lines are always long and they start forming at least 15mins before the posted starting time.
    By the way, our NO parish has led our Diocese in Ordinations to the priesthood and consecrated life for over 100 years.
    We have Adoration five days a week and it is always well attended.
    I’ve never done a count of the children but I can assure you that EVERY Mass is noisy and very large families are the norm.
    Please be careful when drawing conclusions and making assumptions about people based on which type of Mass they attend.
    As pjm88 said so well, “only God knows
    who is more devout and pleasing to him”.

  21. Sword40 says:

    Our FSSP parish has two priests. Confession is heard 7 days a week for 30 minutes prior to every Mass. It is also offered during every Sung High Mass on Sundays. I usually get to Mass very early so I can get in line to Confess. Been averaging once every 3rd week. We live almost two hours each way from the church.

  22. rmichaelj says:

    For those who commented on the fact that the Novus Ordo Poll looks at all Catholics vs. those who attend mass weekly.

    If you look at the actual Pew research it does break down those who attend mass weekly vs. those who don’t. It makes a big difference on views regarding abortion, for other beliefs the changes are minor. For example- of those Catholics attending mass weekly 13% believe contraception is morally wrong while 87% don’t. Not much change there. Whereas in regards to abortion 87% of weekly attending catholics believe it is wrong- vs. about half of all catholics believing it is wrong.

    In summary- there is a big difference in viewpoints in regards to abortion between attending N.O. Catholics and non attending- but in the other areas- the differences are minor.

  23. anselm33 says:

    The masked chicken makes some good points about bias in statistical sampling. I have another point to make, and it’s not based on any statistical survey, but is anecdotal, my own experience. Those Catholics who attend Anglican Usage parishes (the Ordinariate) would show similar differences in Mass attendance, etc. , and home schooling from those nominally belonging to NO parishes. The Anglican Usage liturgy offers a renewal not based on the TLM. I believe Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI foresaw this in Anglicanorum Coetibus (sp?), that this was one way to renew the liturgy for the Church in English speaking countries.

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