It’s not just the numbers right now, it’s the rate of growth.

Last night during the rag chew on ZedNet, one of the participants wondered about why the crack down on Catholics who desire the Traditional Latin Mass.  After all, the numbers aren’t all that threatening.

I opined that it wasn’t just a matter of the numbers, as considered in a present day snap-shot of how many people are attending in how many places.

It’s the rate of growth.

From the time that Summorum Pontificum was implemented in 2007, over the next 10 years there was 500% growth.

It seems to me that the indices of places where the Traditional Latin Mass is being celebrated are out of date now.  During COVID Theatre, many young priests quietly implemented Summorum in their parishes.  The indices have to catch up.  I suspect the numbers are higher than supposed.

Which brings me to an article at Crisis about the growth of the TLM.  HERE

Keep in mind that the plural of anecdote is “data”, here are a couple of items.

Yesterday, I heard that this Sunday’s attendance at one FSSP location was some 1300.

Yesterday, a priest friend of mine, traveling through an airport in California, was twice asked, first by a 35 year old TSA agent and later by a 50 year old security guard, whether he was affected by the Motu Proprio.

Back to Crisis.

Over some 30 months, the number of parishes offering the TLM increased by 27%. The average number of parishioners at each TLM increased by 34%. Overall TLM attendance across all parishes from January 2019 to June 2021 increased by 71%.

At a time when general Mass attendance was decreasing, attendance at the TLM was dramatically increasing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Gaetano says:

    Bear in mind that almost everything imaginable has been done to suppress celebration of the TLM.

    Bishops have imposed bans despite SP

    Priests know that scheduling a TLM will get unwelcome chancery attention & pushback from certain parishioners.

    Seminarians know the fastest way to get in trouble is to show an interest in the TLM or wear a cassock.

    Yet it still grows.

  2. Gaetano says:

    We must, however, also acknowledge that there appears to be a ceiling for the people willing to attend the TLM every week.

    That ceiling is low enough that it is arguable whether entire TLM in a diocese outnumbers a single large parish for weekend attendance.

    There are 654 diocesan priests in the Archdiocese of New York. That doesn’t include the 559 religious priests also in the archdiocese, making a total of 1,213.

    In comparison, there are 504 priests in the entire FSSP.

    The SSPX in the U.S. has 85 priests & one bishop. Worldwide, they have 590 priests & three bishops.

    Even with total worldwide membership, that’s not even the total number of priests in just the Archdiocese of New York.

    I say this not to minimize the influence or importance of TLM communities. They are important in the life of the Church

    But a little humility on numbers is important.

  3. Prayerful says:

    Francis isn’t stupid and knows the rate of growth will eventually leave any Conciliar successor without followers. The boomer Rite has an aging cohort. Francis has shown a preference for no Catholics rather than traditional Catholics approving when his new archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels suppressed a priestly society ( Community of the Holy Apostles) with as many seminarians as the National Seminary, but that would mean icky traditional Catholics. Francis evidently prefers the way most onetime Catholic Belgian have no beliefs.

    That said, the number of TLM hearers is relatively tiny.

  4. jkpgibson says:

    I had a thought, that isnt it more fitting to use the term “movement” to describe this phenomenon? “-ism” and “-ist” do sound factionalistic, and traditionalism is even the name for a kind of fideism (!

    “Tradition(al) movement” sounds a lot more “friendly” and “accompaniable” doesn’t it?
    Heck, even call it the “tradition renewal” like the charismatic renewal. After all, that’s exactly what we are trying to do, *renew* and restore the Tradition to its proper place.

  5. Ariseyedead says:

    Traditionis Custodes is the answer to that burning question,
    “Who will rid me of that troublesome Mass?”

  6. Thorfinn says:

    “We must, however, also acknowledge that there appears to be a ceiling for the people willing to attend the TLM every week.”

    There may be, but we are nowhere close to it.

    The people going to a TLM now have to deliberately alter their routine (and often travel) to seek it out. Many families that we know personally like the TLM but do not go regularly because: A) they’d have to upend their family’s Sunday routine (and yes, family routines especially around religious practice are important), B) their son is one of very few servers at their current Mass, C) they are very involved at a different parish and feel responsible for supporting it (and their son(s) are part of a very small server pool).

    We have had recent surveys to gauge interest in the TLM at new parishes and found large unmet demand from local parishioners. I would suggest as a rule of thumb that given a reasonable, stable Mass time, reasonable demographics (the existence of some young families from the Benedict era), and a sympathetic pastor (i.e. not showing antipathy for the usus antiquior), most typical parishes with ~4 weekend Masses could support 1 TLM. And then grow from there.

  7. JT says:

    BTW, prepare for another lockdown. Pretty sure it’s right around the corner.

  8. NBW says:

    Luke 11:11 comes to my mind about this whole situation;
    “And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” We ask and are hungry for the Truth and for a beautiful, reverent Mass, all of which are found in the TLM. What we were given was Pachamama and Masses being shut down.

  9. srose says:

    Funny thing is happening to our weekly Sunday TLM attendance in Southern Oregon (Archbishop Sample is a great supporter of the TLM). Since the moto proprio was announced, the last two weeks have seen a substantial increase in attendance with people we’ve never seen before. It’s as if a light bulb went on in peoples’ minds: “Whoa, if the Pope is trying to suppress this Mass, that must mean it’s something worthwhile. I need to check it out!”

  10. Chrisc says:

    Gaetano, I think the combination of covid, McCarrick and others, and TC will raise that ceiling. How high? I don’t know. But my guess is that we are at a turning of an age here in the US, where there is a recalibration of whether there are any churches that stand apart from the gospel of neo-liberalism.

  11. JustaSinner says:

    Marxists are ALWAYS threatened by numbers, ALWAYS. They love democracy until they gain power, then democracy is a false word bandied about. (Think “German Democratic Republic”—East Germany of yore, or the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea, North Korea). Make no mistake, broGOglio is a Marxist and his cult in the Vatican are cool with it as they hold power.

  12. Cameron466 says:

    To add, speaking from my very limited personal experience, the NO Catholics (20s and 30s) that are really motivated in their faith are pretty much all connected to Opus Dei.

    (I don’t mean they’re all members of Opus Dei—many, including yours truly, are “cooperators”—but they’re involved in some fashion or another and getting formation from Opus Dei priests).

    Opus Dei. You know, that group with the priests who wear cassocks, do the NO ad orientem in Latin, whose founder loved Latin, they’re always talking about mortification…

    In short, even if they somehow succeeded in crushing the TLM, the future is not boomer. Even among the NO, the parts of the church that are energized love tradition.

  13. JPManning says:

    We’ve just gained a regular Sunday TLM in my city, the first one. I’m so happy!

    The church was mostly empty, but then that’s true for all the services. I took my three oldest sons. As I looked at the empty pews in front of us I imagined coming back in 30 years and seeing those benches filled with my sons’ families.

  14. Hb says:

    It’s been suggested that this is a Roman distraction as the Vatican’s Secretary of state may be involved in the UK scandal.

    I think a certain generation is very fearful of the TLMs popularity and rapid growth despite their attempts to destroy it. They see their life’s work being rejected.

    As it’s be stated here earlier: if it’s of God no power on earth can stop it.
    We need not fear. It’s the Mass that just won’t die. Thank God for that.

  15. Fulco One Eye says:

    Yes. It is about growth. Let’s see. Soon after Jesus’ execution, the numbers were very small – barely double digit – then they grew and grew. And it was not the not-really-interested that filled the ranks.

    When somebody says, “Well, I really am not interested in making a big deal about Mass. Let’s keep it the way it is. It’s good enough” I wonder, why bother to go at all? They don’t seem to have the slightest clue about what is going on at Mass and Who we are dealing with!

    JPManning – It will take time. It will start with a few and build when word gets out and people experience the Mass celebrated in a way that reflects what we believe as Catholics. In only a few places, is the Tridentine Mass promoted vis-a-vis the Novus Ordo. In our parish, 3 years ago, about 30 people attended.
    Now it’s 180 or more each week. Though there are far too many acronyms, I prefer to call it the “Formal Latin Mass” versus the “Casual American Mass”.

  16. ChesterFrank says:

    They fear and want to stamp out the TLM-movement because they are not in control of it. You know who “they” are

  17. MariaKap says:

    Just one comment on the continual reference to the “Boomer” rite. Actually Baby Boomers had nothing to do with the implementation of the N.O. . The oldest boomer would have been 16 at the start of V2 and only 24 in 1970. The youngest boomers were infants at the beginning of V2. The N.O. was forced on us and many (myself included) have no memory of the Vetus Ordo. We had to discover it for ourselves in our adulthood.
    Please cut the boomers some slack. Just sayin. :)

  18. mo7 says:

    Among the many things for TC to deflect from: the scandal of Joe Biden et al and Holy Communion.

  19. JMody says:

    Why so harsh, so hasty a motu proprio? If it was to get out in front of something, that’s believable. If it was as someone said a couple years ago, that Francis is moving slowly but will move quickly if his health changes, I pray that’s not it – lashing out in fear of death is something I would hope no Pope ever stoops to, and I pray they don’t “fear” death. But is it possible? Sure.

    But say the stated reason is the truth, the TLM under auspices of Summorum Pontificum has to be curtailed before more damage is done. Damage by denying Vatican II or questioning the validity of the Mass? The only ones whom that description remotely fits are the SSPX, and something tells me this motu proprio is going to INCREASE the number of 1962 Masses they celebrate. Which bishops are experiencing damage from the presence and growth of communities of faithful, orthodox TLM-goers? And what are they actually experiencing?

    We can certainly guess — I think they are experiencing a call to holiness and orthodoxy, both in communication with TLM-goers, and maybe even in their own minds and consciences. Then, as some poet once said, what demons come to visit on the edge of sleep to make them doubt their life’s ENTIRE work and energy? They gave everything to “the spirit of V2” and to the “new springtime” (which gives every impression of being a quasi-Marxist revolution). And yet the Church withers, the only growth is in the portion of the Church rejecting them — they see that they were WRONG, that their energies have FAILED, and the Traditional Faith is finding a way to rebound, it is gaining steam, right when the transformation was almost complete. Is their response one of concern over division – they don’t seem to mind dividing any other way in space or time – or is it a wounded pride, doubling down instead of confronting evidence that indicates clearly how to succeed at the supernatural task given them, instead of the worldly task they claimed for themselves?

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  21. TonyO says:

    JMody: TC was not crafted in haste. The bishop of Dijon, France, kicked the FSSP out of his diocese (without a word of explanation), 2 months ago. He (apparently) knew what the text of TC was going to do, and he just decided to be pro-active about it. This means that it has been, basically, sitting on Francis’s desk for at least 2 months.

    They gave everything to “the spirit of V2” and to the “new springtime” (which gives every impression of being a quasi-Marxist revolution). And yet the Church withers, the only growth is in the portion of the Church rejecting them — they see that they were WRONG, that their energies have FAILED, and the Traditional Faith is finding a way to rebound, it is gaining steam, right when the transformation was almost complete. Is their response one of concern over division – they don’t seem to mind dividing any other way in space or time – or is it a wounded pride, doubling down instead of confronting evidence

    This is my guess as to the main driving force of those bishops and popes who refused to countenance letting the old mass continue in use. There are probably other forces too, but this is the main one. They are unable to fathom that the evidence shows they were wrong, and they won’t live with that.

  22. L. says:

    This all seems very familiar to me, because our diocese was run, and I think still is, by a small group of clergy who give every sign of hating the laity and the church, who teach falsehood, who wreck church buildings to make any sort of traditional Mass impossible, who discourage religious vocations, and who are interested only in managing the decline of the diocese. Unfortunately, having a large investment income enables them to live well while doing all of this.

  23. WVC says:

    I understand the Diocese of Wichita has made a good and proper judgment with regard to TC. I’d say we should keep a list of everyone and everywhere that falls on the right side of this fence, but then I don’t want to do Francis’s dirty work for him and list out the targets for whatever he might have in store.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    MariaKap, perhaps you, like me, have noticed the Marxist targeting of “Boomers” as just another class division, useful to the rabid hordes eager to blame someone for everything. White males were already properly marginalized from the culture, then white ladies were negatively identified (Karen’s) and made worthy of marginalization, and now “Boomers” are responsible for all the ills of the world. In the church world, they are blamed for the Novus Ordo, although as you rightly pointed out, they aren’t. People need to realize that culturally, we are all being played by these divisive strategies, and class warfare requires somebody else is to blame for how bad things are. Marxism is all about division and it has infected America badly.
    We all need to increase our awareness of these stereotypes and stop using them, and call them out when we hear them.

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