I’m curious what folks think might be the impact of more traditional Masses (TLM or NO) on conversions to the Catholic faith. No impact? Positive impact? Negative impact?
Both probably. However, the wider the choice, theoretically the more conversions. Doesn’t necessarily translate into more attendance at Mass, though.
I believe there will be definitely an increase in conversions. There is something about the Holy Mass which draws people to it. Plus, I think the renewal of the TLM will stem interest not only among Catholics but also interested Protestants and high church anglicans.
Someone who actually converts to the Catholic faith will have done so regardless of the rite because he will have committed himself to the Truth, but there’s no way to know whether theoretical access to the classical liturgy will be more helpful in opening him to that Truth or not. I suspect yes, but I like to compare our two Roman rites to Paul’s metaphor about maturity in faith. The NO is milk, whereas the TLM is steak and potatoes, so if someone is not even ready for mashed carrots, he might just spit the steak and potatoes out.
It was the TLM back in the 1960s which first aroused my interest in the Catholic church and my thoughts about conversion, when I was a student, but regrettably that fell away when the TLM was no longer offered. Stripping away so much of what made the Catholic church different - the beautiful liturgy was gone and so much of the devotional life disappeared - making the Church seem so similar to the dull protestant upbringing. I knew in my mind that was not right and that I should convert anyway, but my interest in becoming a Catholic fell away albeit with the seed well and truly planted, with my knowing within myself that it was the one true church. But it was the TLM and the full traditional parish life, (offered by the SSPX and now increasingly other indult and other communities) which I rediscovered once again in the 1990s, that drew me back irrevocably to really understand the faith, converting 10 years or so ago, attending primarily only the TLM.
So I firmly believe an MP making much wider availability of attending the TLM will attract more non Catholics wanting to find the only true path to salvation. Apart from ex presbyterians such as myself, I’m sure more high church anglicans will make the final step once the TLM is widely available. That said I’ve never understood why high church anglicans get so close to Catholicism but don’t realise that one more step is really necessary - the TLM will remove the any pretext they might have had.
Certainly a very positive impact, people WANT something solid to achor onto, especially those Protestants of the more conservative traditions. The TLM is perfect, and with the increase of literacy and desire to learn (by those who truly care about their education)people are more eager to follow along in Latin and with the other visual and audible aspects that contribute to praying the mass.
I guarantee with the MP not only will conversions increase, but inward conversions of lifelong Catholics will as well.
I would think it would have an increase even if only for the fact that more options would be available, and people who only wish to worship at a TLM would be able to do so, which may very well be the final “push” they need to become Catholic. Personally, it wouldn’t have affected my decision (if the TLM had been the only thing available it would’ve taken a lot longer for me to decide to convert, and this is coming from a former high church Anglican too…).