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A recent survey of nearly 2,000 young Catholics in 39 states shows the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) is being attended more frequently by 18- to 39-year-olds.
The online poll by Bridgeport, Connecticut priest Fr. Donald Kloster asked young people who attend the TLM their thoughts.
Dispelling a popular notion that love of the Tridentine Mass is merely nostalgia on the part of an older generation, 90% of the young respondents say they were not raised in the traditional rite from at least the age of 7.
The results support an apparent trend of increasing popularity among younger Catholics — a trend that has been baffling to Pope Francis.
In 2016, he said:
I always try to understand what's behind the people who are too young to have lived the pre-conciliar liturgy but who want it. Sometimes I've found myself in front of people who ... have a rigid attitude. This rigidity always hides something — insecurity, sometimes even more. ... Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.
In an age where almost 80% — 4 out of every 5 — cradle Catholics stop calling themselves "Catholic" by age 23, and only 30% of Americans raised Catholic still practice at all, nearly every one of the young respondents — 98% — reported attending Tridentine Mass every Sunday.
TLM attendee: "I have served at the Traditional Latin Mass for several years now and I really think it's the highest honor a member of the laity can have. I love the reverence and respect for God throughout the Mass. It's the true hardcore Catholic experience."
The survey confirms "the Traditional Latin Mass is experiencing a high volume of participation and interest in the 18–39 demographic — a demographic noticeably underrepresented in modern NOM (Novus Ordo Mass) parishes."
There is even an international federation known as Juventutem, which has affiliates throughout the United States.
According to the main website for Juventutem, members "have an interest in and love of the Traditional Latin Mass."
I love the Tridentine Mass. It's beautiful and it's reverent and it reflects the majesty and the glory and the richness of the Catholic faith. I even met my husband through there. He came back to the Tridentine Mass after many years as a lapsed Catholic because of the beauty and the historical significance of this rite.
Juventutem seeks to foster the sanctification of young people worldwide according to the Roman traditions of the Church.
Despite attempts to suppress the ancient liturgy and other elements of tradition, it seems the Mass of the Ages is not only making what could be called a comeback, but given the young ages of adherents, will continue for ages to come.