A new survey conducted by Fr. Donald Kloster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, in cooperation with a statistician and Brian Williams of LiturgyGuy.com, has highlighted some interesting data from an underrepresented group of Catholics: those who regularly attend the traditional Latin Mass.
The priest who initiated the survey has offered “both the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM) and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM)” for over twenty years and states in the introduction to his findings that he has “observed variations between the people attending the two different Masses within the Roman Rite.”
Noting that “American Catholics attending the NOM have been surveyed repeatedly in terms of their beliefs and practices (Pew Research and Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University [CARA]),” he also observes that “the body of research does not appear to include a description of Catholics who attend the TLM” who comprise “an estimated 100,000 Catholics” attending “at least 489 Sunday Masses nationwide.” Surveys were taken both in pew and online for a total of 1,773 respondents.
The findings on key questions were informative:
- 2% of TLM-attending Catholics approved of contraception vs. 89% of NOM Catholics.
- 1% of TLM Catholics approved of abortion compared to 51% of NOM attendees.
- 99% of TLM Catholics said they attend Mass weekly vs. 22% of NOM.
- 2% of TLM goers approved of “gay marriage” as opposed to 67% of NOM.
Also of note was the rate of giving among TLM Catholics, which was nearly six times the amount of giving (at 6% of income) as NOM parishioners (at 1.2%). TLM Catholics also had a fertility rate of 3.6 vs 2.3 for NOM — indicating “a nearly 60% larger family size”.
As the study authors state in their analysis, the differences between the two groups were “dramatic when comparing beliefs, church attendance, monetary generosity, and fertility rates.”
The initial survey, conducted over a number of months in 2018, was brief, but Fr. Kloster intends to engage in the study of additional topics in his next survey — such as propensity toward vocations — which he intends to launch this year.
The findings will likely come as little surprise to Catholics who regularly attend Mass at TLM chapels across the country. They indicate that these chapels are fertile ground for Catholic orthodoxy, large families, and an authentic practice of the faith and will continue to provide growth and nourishment to the Church for the foreseeable future.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children.