(LifeSiteNews) – Why would the FBI target peaceful traditional Catholics with young growing families that attend Latin Mass? Why would Pope Francis suppress the thriving Latin Mass, which is building a young community of strong, faithful, and committed Catholics deeply devoted to the practice and tenets of the Catholic faith?
Despite harassment from Rome and targeting from federal law enforcement, the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) movement is growing in strength and numbers determined to worship Our Lord at the 2,000-year-old Traditional Mass of the Ages. The recent TLM statistics convey that this thriving community of growing Catholics loves the Catholic Church, embraces its teachings, and is growing exponentially.
What would justify the FBI targeting good, Church-going Catholic citizens with large young families?
Why suppress the fastest growing entity of Catholicism, Pope Francis?
Here are the heartening statistics of growth and fidelity at a time when the Catholic Church is in a free fall outside the Latin Mass. This is the benevolent and thriving future of the Catholic Church in America. It should be applauded, not suppressed or targeted.
It has been four years since my First National TLM Survey of all adults was released in 2019. The survey consisted of seven questions and yielded a sample total of 1,773 from 16 states.
The survey contrasted the beliefs of Novus Ordo Mass attendees versus Traditional Latin Mass attendees in three areas of doctrinal beliefs: contraception, abortion, and gay “marriage.”
- Of the Novus Ordo faithful, 89% approved of contraception. The TLM, only 2%.
- Of the Novus Ordo faithful, 51% approved of abortion. The TLM, a meager 1%.
- And 67% of the Novus Ordo faithful approved of same-sex “marriage.” At the TLM, this number is only 2%.
It would seem that only a few of the questions have had a percentage shift from 2019 to 2023. One is the fertility rate of Novus Ordo women, which was 2.3 in 2019.
Pew Research now has the fertility rate of American Novus Ordo women at 2.1. The fertility rate among the United States TLM women was 3.6 in 2019; it now has risen to 3.8 (this is my estimate from talking to TLM apostolates).
This increase could be explained by older TLM women who used contraception in their youth and then had stopped using contraception once they began to attend the TLM. The TLM women in 2019 had a 57% bigger family size. In 2023, TLM women have an 81% bigger family size.
This number may continue to widen, since collectively there continues to be an elevated percentage of Novus Ordo women who use contraception, and younger TLM women who are marrying have never and will never use contraception.
The fertility rate was around 5.0 for all women worldwide in 1960, according to worldbank.org. Therefore, I expect the fertility rate to keep rising among TLM women.
The question on weekly Mass attendance has also changed since the virus shutdown of 2020. Before 2020, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) was saying that 22% of Novus Ordo Catholics in the United States were going to Mass. That number has been cut by 40-50%.
In my own Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, there were around 441,000 Catholics in 2020 and 70,000 were going to Mass. That’s about 16%.
As of the end of 2022, we were around 445,000 Catholics with 50,000 going to Sunday Mass, which is about 11%.
Conversely, the TLM Sunday attendance for all adults in both of my National Studies came in at an average of 98%.
The percentage number of TLM Catholics going to Mass from 2020-2022 held steadily at 98%.
The virus didn’t affect the TLM faithful the way it did the Novus Ordo faithful. I conducted an informal poll of 10 parishes across the country in the fall of 2022. Their attendance from Easter 2021 to Easter 2022 had a median growth of 24%! The amazing outcome was that the growth was after and in spite of the promulgation of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.
The Second National TLM Study concluded on March 1, 2020. Just two weeks later, we endured the shutdown of Catholic Churches for months. This Second Study of 18-39 year old adults collected 1,779 samples from 39 states.
For anyone attending a Sunday TLM, it is incredible how much younger the congregation is as compared to the Novus Ordo, which is now heavily attended by an aging baby boomer segment of the Church.
One response that gave me a lot of hope was that 80% of our young adults going to the TLM thought about a priestly or religious vocation. I doubt that number would be north of 10% among their fellow young adult Novus Ordo-attending Catholics.
We know that our USA population is made up of 51% females and 49% males. When I was a seminarian, there was much talk about attracting men back to the Novus Ordo Mass. It is obvious to anyone who is not an ideologue that the Sunday Novus Ordo is bereft of any significant number of men. It was not uncommon to have many men in the confessional at my various TLM apostolates. The Second TLM Study showed that 57% of the respondents were male; that is an eight-point bump over the percentage of males in our USA population!
The TLM attracts men because the Traditional Liturgy is more masculine and ceremonially transmits the faith on a much deeper level.
Finally, the TLM is made up of around 20% converts. The Novus Ordo has a much more modest number of 2% converts. The reverts in the TLM were also an elevated number of 25%. I’ve not been able to locate a percentage number of reverts who attend the Novus Ordo. Only 16% of the respondents attributed their preferred TLM attendance to their parents.
In fact, most of the young adults frequenting the TLM tend to bring their parents into the TLM; intuitively quite backwards.
As a priest who has said the Novus Ordo for over 20 years and the TLM 24 years (seven years exclusively the TLM), I can testify to the beautiful expansion of my spiritual life through the Holy Mass. The Novus Ordo gave me sanctifying graces slowly like a dripping faucet. The TLM has given me graces superabundantly like a rapidly flowing river.
One should not be surprised that the Mass of the Ages, the Mass given to us by the early Church, and the Mass attended by generations of our forefathers would better quench our collective spiritual thirst.
Father Donald Kloster has been ordained for 27 years for the Diocese of Bridgeport. He received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin. He attended the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH for 2 years and completed an MDiv from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary In Philadelphia, PA. He worked as a VA Chaplain for 8 years in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX and was a Missionary priest in the Archdiocese of Guayaquil Ecuador as a pastor for 7 years in one of the largest poorer parishes.
He has completed two National Studies on the TLM in the United States. He is a prolific writer on liturgical issues and speaks all over the country. His website is liturgyguy.com where his surveys and articles can be accessed.