“Why, then, would Francis punish those who worship according to the Latin rite?”

From The Federalist.  My emphases.

The Latin Mass Is The Future Of The Catholic Church
Pope Francis is punishing a faithful and devout minority of Catholics in hopes of staving off the inevitable.
By John Daniel Davidson

You don’t have to know the entire modern history of the traditional Latin Mass to understand what’s behind Pope Francis’s recent apostolic letter, Traditionis custodes, claiming the ancient rite threatens the unity of the Catholic Church and imposing strict new limits on its use.

All you must do to understand what’s happening now is attend a Latin Mass. There, you will see full church pews teeming with young families and couples, mewling infants and unruly toddlers, single twenty-somethings, and teens. The air will be full of incense and, in some parishes, the haunting beauty of Gregorian chant.

Most of the women and girls will be in veils, most parishioners will be following along with a 1962 Roman missal and responding to the priest in Latin, kneeling or genuflecting as required. You will see, in short, a religious ritual that looks odd and shockingly out of place in modern society. You will also see, unmistakably, the future of the Catholic Church.


One national survey of Latin Mass attendees, conducted by Fr. Donald Kloster in 2018, found that only 2 percent approve of contraception, compared to 89 percent of Novus ordo attendees. On approval of abortion, the split was 1 percent compared to 51 percent. On government licenses for gay relationships, 2 percent to 67 percent. The same survey found parishioners at Latin Mass have on average nearly 60 percent larger family sizes, donate on average five times more, and attend weekly Mass at 4.5 times the rate of Catholics who attend the Novus ordo rite.

Another survey by Kloster and others, conducted online last year, found that among adults aged 18 to 39 who attend Latin Mass, 98 percent report going every Sunday. This stands in stark contrast to the findings of a 2018 Gallup poll, which showed dramatic declines in weekly Mass attendance among all Catholics, with the sharpest decline in the 21 to 29-year-old demographic, from 73 percent in 1955 to 25 percent in 2017, the lowest of all age groups.

Even more striking, the survey by Kloster found that 90 percent of these young Catholics were not raised in the Latin rite and that the vast majority were drawn to it by forces from within their generation, rather than by their parents. A plurality, 35 percent, cited “reverence” as what prompted them to seek out the Latin rite.


Why, then, would Francis punish those who worship according to the Latin rite? Why would he misrepresent, in brutal and authoritarian language, the motives of these Catholics?


Clerics of Francis’s generation, who came up in the reforms of Vatican II, envisioned a very different future for the church than the one that’s now emerging. They imagined a church that would give no offense, in its worship or its doctrine, to Protestants.


Sapienti pauca.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Save The Liturgy - Save The World, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, Traditionis custodes. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. TheBackPew says:

    The Money Line: “The divisions caused by Traditionalists are also nothing compared to the divisions that millions of ordinary Catholics incite routinely when they deny Catholic teaching, bear false witness against the church, and shirk their religious obligations.”

    Cue Biden, Pelosi, Martin, and the 80+% noted above. And all of this from a secular publication.

  2. Clare says:

    I just don’t get it. How are large families who raise faithful children and contribute to the church a problem, unless we have some different definition of success, such as approval from the media and liberal politicians? All the bishops who were brave enough to say they’ll continue to be generous with the EF probably won’t get a red hat anytime soon, sadly.

  3. Blackwater Fisherman says:

    The draw to TLM is about reverence. It has been for my family some 15 years or so. It seems like this unreasonable dislike and hatred of the TLM is another prong on the attack of the devil on families. This Mass is so represented by young faithfuls. I not a young faithful anymore, I’m a good ol’ boomer convert, who raised a family and got lucky to have a priest who new both forms of the Mass. He’s retired and moved on, hopefully, one day, we will have a priest who can do this again and add a Sunday TLM to boot.

    Thank you all you Bishops and Priest who see and understand.

  4. Chrisc says:

    Clare, because sometimes traditionalists can be a bit annoying. Sometimes this is great. Other times not so much. Certainly some can cling to the liturgy in a superstitious rather than a reverent way. They make arguments that are hasty and judgments that are rash. Almost as if they have been abused and forced out to the margins. This is thankfully not all traditionalists, but certainly these types do exist.

  5. Johanna says:

    Blessed are the rabbits, for they shall inherit the church.

  6. Danteewoo says:

    I’ll take an annoying Traditionalist over Francis and his crew any day.

  7. Jean-Luc says:

    The Federalist forgets to mention vocations. In my country, France, the traditional catholics are 1 to 2% (some say 2.5%) of practicing catholics, but every year, around 20% of the newly ordained priests come from traditional catholic communities.

  8. JMody says:

    To say it more bluntly – if there is a division between the Latin Mass goers and the rest of the Church, are NONE of the curia capable of asking “is it the Church moving in the wrong direction or is it these TLM fans”? Because this author highlights the “division” and it’s one of THIS side sticks to the faith of our ancestors and that side is disappearing faster than a popsicle on a June day at the beach.
    This whole discussion is going to bring another curious, honest, intellectual question to the surface again, which is,

    why ARE we forbidden from asking questions about the Second Vatican Council’s documents AND their implementation?

    Try to ask a question about, oh, how religious liberty, or collegiality, or even say the feast of Christ the King, and see how far you get. “Active participation”, but not reading, and not thinking things through — nope, you don’t even need to read the introit/collect/preface, have a “missal” with 900 pages of the worst music committed to paper instead. In fact, it’d be best if you would pray along our happy prayer, (don’t use such foul language as “novena”), make sure you keep supporting the parish and diocese, and maybe just let me do the thinking and do as you’re told. And just think, it’s not like the bad old days where we only got told to “pray, pay, and obey”.

    To paraphrase, I thought _____ was a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual. (Lately, my answer is “Animal Farm”).

  9. Grant M says:

    Just 12 days after TC exploded, and already we have a whole library of outstanding responses. I feel almost sorry for MSW at N”c”R: he is hopelessly outgunned.

  10. hilltop says:

    There are two trains in the station and one has no engine. Francis, seated in his train car looks out his window, sees that his train is moving and the other is not. He returns his gaze to his navel while thinking this is an uncommonly smooth riding train they have arranged for me….

  11. Mike says:

    Much of the critical commentary assumes that the attacks on Tradition are a series of well-intentioned mistakes. Thus, the Federalist article talks about Mass attendance, orthodox beliefs, reverence, large families and big contributions… and the comment above cites vocations. But what if none of these is considered a good thing by those making the decisions? Is not the destruction of the institutional Church, at a minimum, and beyond that the Faith itself exactly what they seek? When vocations plummet, contributions dry up and entire countries quickly abandon the Church (Ireland), are the Modernists happy or sad?

  12. TonyO says:

    Is not the destruction of the institutional Church, at a minimum, and beyond that the Faith itself exactly what they seek?

    @ Mike: It depends on the “they” you mean: ultimately, Satan and his demons are behind heresy and apostasy. They certainly want vocations to dry up, churches to close, and masses to abuse the liturgical norms.

    The assumption behind the “critical commentary” is that at least some of the hierarchy who are making bad choices do not think that they are in league with Satan, and do not directly intend to advance Satan’s cause: they are, rather, muddled and mistaken about what is going on. For prelates such as these, a drop in vocations is (at least mildly) regretted, even if they cannot see their way clear to accepting the truth about the true causes of the decline. They are – possibly – only material heretics. These modernists are sad when churches close etc.

    And, out of charity, and humility regarding a judgment about any specific prelate’s mind, these critical commentators are willing to assume people like Gregory are in the class of those unknowingly advancing Satan’s cause.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Clare: You raise a good point. “I just don’t get it. How are large families who raise faithful children and contribute to the church a problem…”

    There are a number of reasons we stiff-necked peasants are a problem: we are refusing to assimilate to the Borg; we are an obstacle to People’s Glorious Future; our Overlords Will Not Be Denied.

    More specifically regarding the Vatican: they have an agenda, and it’s socialism, not Christianity. Here is Ed Pentin of the Register last December:

    “The Dec. 16-17 Vatican Youth Symposium, hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is serving as the launch for a collaboration between Pope Francis’ Global Compact on Education initiative, which invites a new humanism based on a global change of mentality, and Mission 4.7, a U.N.-backed advisory group of civil and political leaders aiming to meet the educational target (numbered 4.7) of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

    “The SDGs were created in 2015, the same year as Pope Francis published his environmental encyclical Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home), and their chief architect is Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, a population control advocate and ally of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.”

    “Now in its fifth year, this week’s Vatican Youth Symposium has always served to promote the SDGs, even though targets 3.7 and 5.6 include “sexual and reproductive health services” — U.N. codewords for abortion and contraception.”

    More of the usual suspects appear in Pentin’s article: Bishop Sorondo, Audrey Azoulay, Bill and Melinda Gates.


  14. Semper Gumby says:

    Modernism and Leftist ideology are the core beliefs of many, but not all, in the Vatican hierarchy. A Scapegoat must be identified and attacked- the TLM is a convenient target. Such are the times.

    Similarly, many, but not all, in the current Pentagon hierarchy are motivated by Leftist ideology. For those personnel, selling themselves and their ideology ranks above duty, honor and common sense. There is now a glut of flag officers beholden to their Leftist masters such as: Gen. Milley; Adm. Gilday; Adm. McRaven (pro-BLM and, among other things, wrote a 2019 NYT op-ed implying Pres. Trump should be replaced via a coup); and Gen. McCaffrey (among other things ranted that Pres. Trump was “Mussolini” for cancelling federal subscriptions to WaPo and NYT- if a federal employee wants a “newspaper” they should spend their own money rather than the taxpayers’). To these flag officers add a number of immature and over-ambitious officers and enlisted who are determined to be the Leaders of the Future, or, after leaving the military, to perch in a high-paying federal job or contract.

    So, the Vatican or the Pentagon, these institutions sometimes attract a certain type of person who place Self-aggrandizement, Virtue Signaling, Salesmanship, and Emotional Satisfaction above duty, honor, the Gospel, leadership, and mission accomplishment. Their current surge is temporary, it never lasts (though it usually requires a disaster to restore sanity), and it must be resisted.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    The Federalist article: “Catholics who attend Latin Mass are by all accounts the least likely to encourage disagreements, widen gaps, or reinforce divergences in the church. They are far more likely to adhere to Catholic teaching and accept the obligations the church places on the faithful than Catholics who don’t attend Latin Mass.

    “Clerics of Francis’s generation, who came up in the reforms of Vatican II, envisioned a very different future for the church than the one that’s now emerging.”

    Resentment. Elitism. Revenge.

    Early last year more than one Catholic cleric and theologian called for censorship of Catholic social media. Meanwhile, Gen. McCaffrey recently called for journalist Tucker Carlson’s “termination” for daring to criticize Gen. Milley (who pimps “white rage” and racist Critical Race Theory). McCaffrey whined in support of Milley: “Mark Milley…Princeton and Colombia [sic]. Years in combat.”

    Note how McCaffrey led with two colleges rather than Milley’s military experience.

    These guys are on the wrong side of history. They are resorting to bullying and authoritarianism. Time will tell if they resort to violence.

  16. Cincinnati Priest 2 says:

    Fantastic article especially since from a secular source.

    One little quibble: “Not raised in the Latin rite”??? I think the author means, not raised with the usus antiquior. All Roman Catholics are Latin rite Catholics.

    Also, while the stats are highly encouraging, I’m curious about the even 2% of TLM-goers who support such evils as abortion, contraception or sodomitical “marriages.” I don’t know any such Catholics. Wondering if fellow readers do.

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