Hard data regarding the TLM in the U.S.?

Does anyone know of any websites that give accurate/trustworthy statistics about the Traditional Latin Mass in the U.S. (that is, how many parishes offer the TLM on a regular basis, any survey data that indicate age, gender, family #, motivations of those who attend the Mass).

I would be interested in some hard data regarding this information because many people are currently talking about how many people currently go or will go to the TLM if and when it is offered more widely… and I think that a lot of them do not know what they are talking about.

I don’t think I’ve ever run across anything quite as specific as what you request. I know of one site that offers an up-to-date list of indult parishes. How that will change after September 14 is going to be interesting.


I imagine it would be hard to get the remainder of the statistics short of e-mailing each church on the list. As is, I think getting info like motivation for attendingwould be rather difficult to obtain and would be considered perhaps a little too personal a question to ask of congregants.

The FSSP churches are all mostly small. Little growth. Its why I believe those thinking a large number of Catholics will embrace the TLM over the NO are kidding themselves. JMHO.

I, personally, would never assume that a large number of Catholics will embrace the TLM over the NO–if by that you mean there will be some huge demographic swing. Well, at least, I expect that the vast majority of Latin rite Catholics will continue to attend the NO. However, I do think that if the TLM is freely allowed to be requested, if it is made visible on EWTN, for example, etc… a large group of Catholics WILL take advantage of a more widely available TLM. I also hope, as the Pope does, that a freer use of the extrordinary form of the liturgy will have some influence on the “ordinary” NO form–reintroducing a little more reverence, more Latin, sacred music (as specified in the Vatican II document on the liturgy), perhaps ad orientum, etc.

I am really amazed by the way many people in the Church are so threatened by a wider use of the TLM. I am also amazed that so many are quick to make predictions of its destiny towards failure or irrelevancy! (or, on the other hand, of its quick ascendency) How do THEY know?:shrug:

Returning to my original post… are you just offering this as a blanket assessment or do you have any numbers to back it up? This is the kind of thing I am talking about.

Thanks for the web link. As for a poll asking people for their motivation for attending the Latin Mass being ‘too personal’ … I would beg to differ. Judging by the posts on this forum, I don’t think Traditionalists are shy to share their thoughts/feelings/opinions! :smiley: (nor should they be)

I think that a lot of Catholics who have no experience with the TLM, but might have some curiosity, would be “enquiring minds who want to know.”

I’ll offer what I can:


One of those is our parish.
At each of the two Masses on Sunday I’d estimate 100 to 150 people, average age 25-30.
On each of the weekday Masses I’ve seen an average of 20 to 40 in attendence.

I’ve never seen any of the statistics that you’re looking for. Sorry.

p.s. as I posted earlier, there were five of our local N.O. priests at our parish yesterday to begin to learn the Extraordinary Rite.

From what I have seen those who feel threatened come from two major groups. The first group would be those who see a return to the Traditional Mass or any celebration of it as being a step backward theologically to pre Vatican II days when the Catholic Church was a more closed and ritualistic institution than it is now. An institution in which rules were supreme and little emphasis placed on a “personal relationship with Christ” An institution in which the Clergy reigned and the laity suffered in silence and abject ignorance left to their own devices during the Mass usually saying endless rosaries because they could not participate in the Mass. They see the Traditional Mass as being a hopeless hodge podge of repetitive prayers and excessive external signs of reverence that are totally and completely incompatible with modern thinking, scholarship, and theology.:bigyikes: :bigyikes: :bigyikes:

At least that is the way they see it.

The second group sees the whole idea of a sacrifice as incompatible with Christian worship and believe the Traditional Mass places an undue emphasis on it and ignores the glory of the Risen Lord in which Christ is present among us in the congregation. Since the Traditional Mass is primarily focused on Christ and not on the congregation as the Pauline Rite often is,disclaimer (yes I know that the Pauline is not specifically designed that way), they find it threatening and not satisfactory. I have seen and heard many who will make statements such as "In the old Mass I never felt close to Christ,because I was an observer. Now, I see Christ in my neighbor and in me!! These people believe or tend to believe that any type of worship is fine as long as you worship in some fashion and that everyone should be free to find his or her own path to Christ and the pauline Rite provides an appropriate vehicle for that personal encounter.

Both of these views are I believe heavily influenced by non Catholic, particularly Protestant beliefs as well as an excessive acceptance of a Christology from below perspective which emphasizes Christs humanity rather than His divinity.

As to projections about acceptance or rejection of the Traditional Mass, I believe they are by and large projecting their own attitudes and preferences without really looking at the big picture, and that really goes for those on both sides of the issue.

Here is something you might find interesting.



Right now many people might say TLM attendance is not growing or will not last long… Let just wait for a little bit because it is still fresh for the main stream Catholics… May be after Spetember 14 more and more Catholics will embraced it because they haven’t seen the Pope celebrating it publicly… It is a chain reaction. In addition, to those who wanted to destroy the reputation of this venerable rite may God have mercy on you!

Laudater Jesus Christus
Instaurare omnia in Christo


True that.

A picture is worth a 1000 words…:thumbsup:

I do not have statistics and can only speak from personal experience; and my experience is almost strictly related to my archdiocese, which happens to be in one of the most, if not the most, unchurched states in the Union.

As part of adult RCIA over a nunmber of years, I have taken candidates and catechumens to Mass at St Patrick’s in Portland (we are a parish about 15 to 20 miles away, 20 to 25 minutes travel mostly by freeway). While it did not have the Mass from the 1962 Missal, it had the current Mass in Latin, and at the time (up until a couple of years ago) had an absolutley crack choir, who knew and sang both Gregorian chant and older music such as Palistrina.

Each year, and each group, had mixed reactions to the Mass, and there were always some who raved about the music, and the air and attitude of solemnity and reverance. I always pointed out that the Mass was availabel each Saturday night, within easy driving distance, and if they chose not to belong to that parish, that they certainly would be welcome to return.

As best I can determine from asking them later, none of them made one return visit to the parish. It certainly was not an issue of accessibility, as it was mostly freeway to the parish.

Why? They grew to know parish members, and they became involved in the parish in which they joined (St. Francis, in Sherwood). Perhaps unsaid was a degree of laziness. Perhaps it was the fact that our parish is not goofy; our pastor, a Jesuit, is in his 70’s and not one to dabble in liturgical experimentations. Perhaps it is the fact that we have both 24 hour Perpetual Adoration and an active social ministry.

Who knows? My experience - limited, I will grant to all - is that St Patrick’s was not kept under a bushel basket, was not hard to get to, and was most definitely not SRO. People much physically closer were not flocking there.

From that, I think that there will be interest in the Mass according to the 1962 Missal; but I have a hard time seeing that there is really much demand in the area for a pemanent, constant attendance by a large group. Time will tell. I am not threatened by the wider availability of the 1962 Missal; my experience is that many people find the vernacular very important. I also find most people have a very blank look if one starts talking about comparisons between, for example, the various Canons of the Mass; they simply do not have an intelectual or theological basis to even follow what is being talked about. To a large extent to the people I have met in the pews, reverence is as reverence does; they can sense greater (and lesser) degrees of reverence but they do not seem to have an attitutde that Latin is particularly more reverent in and of itself.

Will the 1962 Missal have a come back? I have no doubt. Will it be a good thing? Anything that brings more reverence to our worship is a good thing. Will it have a lot of people at the beginning? I would not be the least bit surprised. After the newness wears off, will it continue to attract the same number of people? I can only speak from personal experience, but so far, none of my experience points that way. But then, time will tell.

It may well be that on the West Coast our experience will be different than areas, say, in the South, or the Midwest, or the East Coast. That, too, may enter into the equation.

As our diocese does not have any TLMs there are not stats available. The TLM was refused and banned here for the past 40 years.

Can’t give numbers when none exist due to lack of a place to worship.

Thoughtful comments.

The situation is in flux. Unless you are extremely committed to the Traditionalist cause, you have to have the physical ability to attend a TLM to think of yourself as a Latin Mass person.

At one extreme you have people who won’t attend the Tridentine rite under any circumstances. Then you’ve got people who disapprove but would, under protest, if they were expected to for some reason. Then you’ve got people who would choose an NO, but would go to the TLM if it happened to be more convenient. Then you’ve got people who would choose a TLM, other things being equal, but won’t go out of their way. These are soft traditonalists. Then you’ve got people who will attend a TLM if at all reasonable, people who will drive many miles for a TLM, and finally people who won’t attend NO under any circumstances.

The vast majority of Catholics are probably somewhere in the middle. As it becomes easier to attend Tridentine rite Masses, more will do so. Once it becomes seen as a normal thing to do, people might stop thinking “a Tridentine Mass” and think “Mass, oh and it is in the old rite”.

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