DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A newly released study indicates that U.S. Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) are, on average, far more faithful to the Church's teachings than those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM).
The new study compares a survey of TLM attendees with previous surveys of Catholics at large — almost all of whom attend the NOM. The comparison shows that TLM attendees fulfill basic commitments to the Faith at far higher rates than other Catholics.
Among TLM attendees, only 2 percent approve of contraception, only 1 percent approve of abortion and only 2 percent approve of same-sex "marriage." In contrast, previous surveys have indicated that 89 percent of Catholics, in general, approve of contraception, 51 percent approve of abortion and 67 percent approve of same-sex "marriage."
Likewise, those who attend the TLM are far more likely to fulfill their Sunday obligation than are other Catholics. Ninety-nine percent of TLM attendees fulfill the Sunday obligation every week — in contrast with the mere 22 percent of NOM attendees.
A document sharing the survey's findings states:
TLM Catholics go to Mass every Sunday at 4.5 times the rate of their NOM brethren. This implies a deep commitment to the faith. The almost universal adherence to the Sunday Mass obligation depicts Catholics who are deeply in love with their faith and cannot imagine missing their Sunday privilege.
The study also found that, on average, TLM attendees donate a higher percentage of their income and have more children than their NOM counterparts. The document notes, "Importantly, TLM families have a nearly 60 percent larger family size. This will translate to a changing demographic within the Church."
It also points out, "TLM attendees donate 5 times more in the collection, indicating that they are far more invested than the NOM attendees."
The poll of TLM attendees was conducted March–November of 2018. There were 1,322 respondents to in-pew polls and 451 responses to an online survey.
Responsible for the survey of TLM attendees is Fr. Donald Kloster, a priest of the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
"The Kloster 2019 Study had been an idea of mine going back about five years now," Fr. Kloster told Church Militant in an email Monday.
The document from the study states, "Modern society, by popular belief, is the cause of decreasing sacramental participation in the Catholic Church. However, the present survey, compared with other data, reveals a striking variance between Catholics attending the TLM versus those who attend the NOM."
Father Kloster echoed this in his comments to Church Militant:
Since I was a little boy, I had heard that the society in the [United States] was responsible for all of the declines in the leading sacramental indicators of the Catholic Church. Even if my study has a large margin of error, the numbers themselves speak volumes to anyone who has no interference from their own bias or ideology.
"The study had a huge sample size," Fr. Kloster said. He also noted, "The 16 states from in-pew surveys (1,300+) and online surveys (451) closely mirrors many of the battleground states in elections. I wanted the study to include the four corners of the [United States] as well as middle America."
The in-pew surveys had respondents in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Hampshire and Texas. The online surveys reached Catholics in Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Father Kloster expressed gratitude for the people who helped him put together the study, saying, "Many thanks to Dr. Sha Balizet Fisher for her consulting on the statistics, Mr. Brian Williams for his invaluable consulting and Mrs. Christine Boyle in setting up the online samples."
The TLM, also known as the Extraordinary Form, is the version of the Roman Rite that existed prior to sweeping changes to the liturgy that came in the 1960s following the Second Vatican Council.
The number of parishes offering the TLM exploded after 2007 when Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, which made it much easier for parishes to have TLM on a regular basis. In a letter to bishops explaining Summorum Pontificum, Benedict noted that the old version of the Missal "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."
The TLM is said entirely in Latin, and large portions of it are prayed quietly by the priest. The priest faces the same direction as the people for almost the whole liturgy. The TLM generally lasts longer than the NOM because many prayers and rituals handed down in the liturgy were shortened, removed or rendered optional for the NOM.
Last year, some TLM parishes obtained special permission to perform the pre-1955 rituals for Holy Week. In 1955, the Holy Week liturgies were changed by the removal and simplification of various rituals. Some argue that the 1955 Holy Week revision established a precedent for the later changes to the liturgy.