3.5% of a group can bring the group down, turn it around, or take it over.


3.5% of a group can bring the group down, turn it around, or take it over.  Alinsky knew this.  Demographers know this.  At 3%, groups gain significant influence.

Read HERE.

I was struck by something in the decree in the Diocese of Arlington.

They said openly that only 2.8% of Mass going Catholics go to the Vetus Ordo.

That got me thinking.

First, I wonder if that is true.  They had/have the Vetus Ordo in 21 places, slashed to 8.   Only 2.8?   I’ll bet it is more.  But they are somnambulant, not in the sense that they do nothing, but in the sense that they, like most conservatives, go about their lives, trying to live well, and just want to be left alone.  Hobbits.  Nothing wrong with Hobbits!  They are so wonderful the Rangers die for them.

However, even Hobbit have to rise up.

I have been ranting for DECADES about how those who desire the traditional Catholic sacred worship have to step up and be recognized!  They have to involved in the parish, not just drift in for Sunday.  They have to be the first to get into the food drive or baby clothes collection.  The FIRST.  Not because we want to be seen, but because it is the right thing to do.  If there is the secondary effect of being seen, great!  Mostly, it builds unit cohesion, without which … we perish.

The American Revolution was fueled by 3%.  The revolution in Georgia, 3.5%

I am sure there are people better versed in this than I, but this seems to be a real thing.

And if it is real before TC was issued, it is real now.

Am I wrong?

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  1. Unfinished says:

    I don’t think Bishop Burbidge was intending to be deceptive with that statistic, but when I read it I thought: 2.5% of Mass attending Catholics? What does that mean?

    On average? On the Sunday they counted them? On Christmas? Or is it Catholics who EXCLUSIVELY attend the TLM?

    The last one seems right to me, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    I know this is anecdotal in a stats discussion but hear me out. The TLM was at 30% of the parishes in the diocese. My wife is from that Arlington so we spend a lot of time there, and a large portion of Catholics attend the TLM sometimes at their parish, but not all the time. Arlington was a diocese done so correctly that most people just went to Mass when they needed to – old or new. The liturgical wars had ended there and peace reigned in the land.

    So the percent of Catholics in that diocese who attend a TLM – at least occasionally – is probably closer to 10-15%. This is impacting a lot more families than the letter admits.

    Going off the 2021 stats for registered families in the diocese (~150,000), which doesn’t say much about Mass attendance, 2.5% of that is around 3800 families. So at a minimum 3,800 families, many with 3, 4, or 5+ children, have had their worship of Almighty God disrupted for no good reason. In reality I think that number is much higher if we account for the occasional TLMers.

    Very sad day for a diocese that we once considered the “model” to revive the modern Church.

    I think especially of Gainesville. ~600 souls at the weekly TLM with three holy priests who all say the Vetus Ordo. Now there is nowhere reasonably close for them to go to the old Mass. Front Royal – a booming parish with so many TLM attendees that many started to drive to St Peter’s 30 minutes away just to have some breathing room – now forced into a gym to worship and the St Peter’s TLM abolished.

    No mention of Christendom College – I wonder if they will still be allowed during the academic year?

    My heart aches.

  2. Fr. Reader says:

    That 3.5% has to be somehow united.

  3. RosaryRose says:

    Twelve angry Men – the one juror turned the others.

    I was on a jury once when we first started to convene, only 3 of us said “guilty”. The others seemed so adamant and strong. After a couple of days, we were unanimous – guilty.

    A big difference is – we have the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a host of Saints and angels on our side.

    Our Lady of Akita – the Mass will be gone (paraphrase) it has occurred to me She meant the TLM.

    This hobbit has been praying for 50 + years for the post- conciliar Church to behave like we have the True Presence. For anyone in fear, be not afraid, I have been watching and praying and I have deep joy that the Church is starting to wake up! Be like Aragorn – Call upon the dead kings (Saints) to help. Pray for the souls in Purgatory so they can join the Church Triumphant and pray for us. (Is this another reason why the new Church downplays Fatima?) Offer up every little thing! Offer up your favorite coffee for an hour, bear your insufferable coworker and give it to Our Lady to use for Her purpose.

    Yes, even one soul can turn it around. Especially when we are motivated to give all to the glory of God. For His Glory! We will be United in prayer and suffering, under our Lady’s mantle.

    If they remove my TLM, I’m going to the SSPX.

    Has an SSPX priest helped at an exorcism? That would tell us of their standing.

  4. As far as the percentage of TLMers in Arlington, we definitely were counted in the pews two Sundays in a row, either last year or early this year.
    As low as 2.8% sounds, Arlington does have a basis for that number. Whether or not the number is accurate can be questioned, but we were counted.
    The thing is, Arlington Diocese is huge and that 2.8 represents a lot of people just the same.
    As we now have only 8 TLM parishes, these are going to be a refuge to others out of the Diocese. That 3.5% may be more achievable.
    How to pull them all together for a cohesive objective? Not sure as there are many divisive factors that keep us from pulling together [ignorance of the Faith, understanding obedience and delegation, raging anger, distances traveled, lack of cohesive communities, etc]. Kinda like outta the Commie playbook, how infiltration to fight a group from the inside works. One factor is the threat of some of these TLMers will be leaving indignantly to join other not-in-Communion groups.
    How in the world can we pull together even at 3.5%?

  5. Sandy says:

    As all this unfolds, I keep wondering what Papa Benedict thinks of it. Unless it is hidden from him, he is surely praying for victory for those who want what is rightly theirs. Mother Mary, help us and defeat ALL the evil we are fighting now.

  6. Archlaic says:

    I’m not sure if there are any newer stats on these demographics, but about a year or so ago I heard about polling which showed that most Americans wildly overestimated the percentage of the population that was LGBTQetc or transgendered. The real numbers were below 5% but the poll indicated that the hoi polloi supposed it to be around 20%.

    Consider the influence – leverage, if you will – that these tiny minorities exert in our country and our lives… in the culture… government… commerce… and even in the Church!

    Visibilty and perception are great force-multipliers. Remember how attendance at many TLMs actually increased after Trad. Perditores? While it’s not always true that “all publicity is good publicity”, even a poorly-reported story in the MSM can generate interest and inquires, and help gain us allies.

    Even as we work to unite the 3.5%, let’s think about ways to get more media coverage of these draconian and unwonted suppressions. Perhaps some of the folks interviewed by the WaPo would be willing to reach out to the reporter(s) to whom they spoke and suggest a follow-up.

    Incidentally, there appears to be quite a contrast between the coverage in the Post and the complete lack of interest shown by the Chicago Tribune to date – at least as far as I can see. I wonder what that says about the extent to which the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago has ingratiated himself with the powers-that-be in that city… (in that regard the the final verse of yesterday’s Gospel seems quite apt!)

  7. Aliquis says:

    And just what exactly are we supposed to do? Stop financially supporting bad bishops and parishes? I expect most of us have already done so. So what else? Prayer and fasting, of course, but there’s no magical 3.5% to that. So what is this 3.5% supposed to do?

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “That 3.5% has to be somehow united.”

    Based on the nonsense I see on social media every day, that will take a miracle!

  9. summorumpontificum777 says:

    I strongly suspect that someone came up with a ballpark estimate of the number of folks in the pews at Sunday diocesan TLMs and simply divided that by the nominal number of Catholics in the diocese. The problem with that approach is that TLMers’ rate of Sunday attendance is probably close to 100% while for non-TLMers it might be 30% at best. I would guess that if you took a snapshot of actual bodies in the pews next Sunday, the TLMers were would be closer to 10% in that diocese. And, on average, they’d be younger. And, on average, they’d be more educated. And, on average, they’d have larger families. And, on average, they’d be more generous with their parish and the diocese. And, on average, they’d be more engaged with parish activities. The great folly of the Traditionis Custodes pogrom is that it’s targeting the most hardcore, committed Catholics in the diocese. Of course, it couldn’t really be any other way. If they were trying to annihilate the lukewarm, they wouldn’t need a pogrom. The lukewarm fade away on their own.

  10. LDP says:

    Since Traditionis Custodes, I have begun attending and, more recently, serving our parish TLM Sunday (usually Low) Mass. I attended a different NO Mass before. Since attending this Mass though, I have made a concerted effort to contribute more to the weekly collection, as well as giving weekly food donations to the church-supported food bank. I will try to do more of course and do hope that if we all strive to do the same, then others in the parish, especially those attending the NO Mass, will come to respect and appreciate the contribution that we TLM attendees are making.

    Fr Reader,

    ‘That 3.5% has to be somehow United.’

    I fully appreciate that the US is far larger geographically than those of us in Old World European countries tend to grasp, which of course brings many more logistical and administrative issues, but I have always wondered why there has been no push (or perhaps there has?) to form a US wide Latin Mass Society or equivalent. Of course there would be frictions between different factions (e.g. whether to include SSPX Masses in listings for instance), but I do wonder whether such a move would be beneficial overall for the traditional Catholic movement, and whether it would allow for the concentration of resources and manpower that could provide the foundation around which the 3.5% could rally. Of course, if all traditionally minded lay Catholics are gathered in one organisation, it would admittedly be a prime target, and a much easier one, for certain people in the Church to attack, the major downside I suppose…

  11. TonyO says:

    At best, the 2.8% is very likely a very, very low-ball guesstimate. That is, something of the nature of “what’s the lowest possible number consistent with the data we DO have?”

    There are 70 parishes in the Arl. diocese. If they have 5 masses a weekend on average, 21 TLMs is 6%. (If they have 6 masses a weekend on average, that’s 5 % TLMs.) The notion that attendance at these TLM masses is LESS THAN 1/2 of that at NO masses is just abysmally improbable, given the extremely high popularity some of them have (see comments above regarding Gainesville and Front Royal.) It is, frankly, not credible. So I don’t credit it.

    While Burbidge may seem to be just doing what he was required to do in moving those masses out of parish churches and into gyms and such, that’s also not accurate. He could, for example, invoke Canon 87 article 1 to dispense from that rule. He could re-designate some of those locations “shrines” or something. There are probably 3 or 4 other things he could do if he wanted to. Here’s the thing: one of the main reasons people want the TLM instead of the NO is for the reverence. Forcing people to move over to worshiping via the TLM IN A STINKING GYM!!!!!! while leaving the NO in the church (sometimes, a church renovated at great expense to be beautiful, paid by those committed to the TLM) is a foul crime, a cruel injustice, that Francis imposed out of vindictive cruelty. No bishop should be part of that. A pastor forced to do the TLM in the gym would be nearly justified to RIP all of the furnishings out of the church and install them in the gym, and leave the church a bare hulk – heck, lots of NO parishes are designed to look like that’s what happened to them, it’s considered chic or something.

    It is an ugly, ugly day in the Church when the bishop of one of the pre-eminently faithful dioceses in the country (and, probably, all of the western world, for that matter) goes nutter on the faithful laity and priests on the basis of a nutter document from Rome.

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  13. Thom says:

    That 3% includes all the children, correct? Given they outnumber the adults in TLM circles by a several factors, this leaves only a fraction of the 3% that have the capability of having an influence. And of that fraction, there is only a smaller fraction that have the time and resources to do so. Most Trad Dads are barely able to keep the family afloat materially, and Trad Moms are heroically running the homeschool, cooking, sewing, and gardening, etc. Somehow, they show up for events during the week at the parish which is usually 30 minutes or more away. Those without family obligations are a very small fraction of the 3%.
    So sure, there are some factions in TLM circles that can be unhelpful in this situation, but the main problem is that TLM families are already stretched too thin. It’s just not realistic to add the small task of taking over the entire local Church structure to their to-do list.
    Please don’t take this as a complaint. It’s just the reality on the ground, as far as I can see it.

  14. raisingdragonslayers says:

    I’m in the Diocese of Arlington, and a friend of mine wrote the diocese to ask how that number was obtained. The “Diocesan Communications” mailbox wrote back to him, and I quote, “The basis for the referenced statistic was taken from the October 2021 in-pew census of which it was recorded that 98,443 faithful attended a regular Sunday Mass and 2,538 attended a Latin Mass.”

    So apparently “physical location on a given day” is the same thing as “preference.”

    Well, it’s news to me that I prefer working at my desk to vacationing on a tropical island, but by this narrow definition, I must. By a wide margin.

  15. idahocatholic says:

    Maybe I’m pessimistic, but I can’t agree. My husband and I have been VERY active in various different parishes across the northwest, and have never been able to affect change toward more traditional practices. In fact, in our only parish to actually establish a monthly Latin Mass, we saw many families sacrificing to both attend and expand the TLM to no avail. If the bishop is opposed and the parish priest is blindly obedient, lay people are utterly powerless. This is exactly why we now attend our local SSPX chapel. We were tired of fighting a losing battle while putting our children’s souls in jeopardy — in all the parishes both the catechesis and the liturgy were scandalous. Now our only fight is to get a bigger facility for the exploding population at our local chapel. That fight we’re willing to engage in.

  16. Recusant5 says:

    If you want the Old Mass to survive apply that Old Ignatian Maxim “ Pray as if everything depends on God and Act as if everything depends on you”
    Withhold donations ; file lawsuits if warranted by law. Complain to the State Attorney General if donations are misused. Demand Diocesan financial statements if permitted ; highlight any abuses. Enlist the secular media who generally hate Bishops and Cardinals more than faithful Catholics. Protest peacefully everywhere the Bishop visits. If your cramped in small quarters complain your being exposed to COVID or danger of Fire unnecessarily as proper facilities are being denied you when available for the TLM .If the facilities are not handicap accessible file complaints or litigate if feasible under the law. Take out media adds explaining how you are being persecuted. Just praying and meekly complying is not how victory is won.Pray and Act.

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  18. When I wrote “The Latin Mass: Why You Can’t Have It” ten years ago next month, I used the Diocese of Arlington as a case in point. Based on a rough head count on a typical Sunday, I determined that, with one-eighth of the parishes and missions of the diocese making it available, only one-fourth of one percent of the faithful (that’s 0.25 percent) attended the Traditional Mass on Sunday.

    When you consider that paltry number just ten years later, 2.8 percent is pretty amazing. Things could be worse, as they will be for Chicago, and across the river in Washington DC, but some of the provisions are still = just plain humiliating.

    Since when does Rome micromanage the content of the parish bulletin? Isn’t that embarrassing?

    But why are all eyes on Arlington? Could it be that we have an average of two priests in EVERY parish? Is it because we open a new parish or mission almost every year? Is it because we have (or had) more TLMs than any other diocese in the known universe? Is it because the liturgical nonsense in the 1970s and 1980s is (almost but not quite) non-existent in the present day?

    In other words, is it because we’re doing all the right things, and it’s driving Rome crazy???

    But after two years, when the policy is subject to “evaluation,” the naysayers will tell you that the Vetus Ordo will give way to the Novus Ordo, as a result of the “re-education” efforts, and the prophets of doom in the pews are already nervous. Well, we’re already re-educated, and the Mass of the Ages isn’t going anywhere.

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