Rorate Caeli

"There is in Germany a significant attachment to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite"

From Paix Liturgique:

Germany, Pope Benedict XVI's homeland, is a country where, as in France, there is a strong attraction among the faithful to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. The Fraternity of Saint Peter has a seminary there (and so has the Society of Saint Pius X); many lay associations (notably Pro Missa Tridentina and Una Voce) have long been active there; the Institute of Christ the King has an apostolate there; more and more articles on the liturgical question are appearing in the secular press; diocesan priests are learning to celebrate in that liturgical form; new parishes are, slowly but surely, more and more open to the application of the Motu Proprio; lastly certain religious communities, such as the Mariawald Trappists (see the French Letter of Paix Liturgique # 162), are reviving the Church's age-old liturgy. Yet, here again as in France, the German Church hierarchy is in large part reluctant to the Pope's action of liturgical reconciliation. In Germany too, therefore, everything seems to be set up to minimize the extent of the demand for the application of the Motu Proprio.

Encouraged by many German friends, Paix Liturgique commissioned a survey on the application of the Motu Proprio in the land of Saint Albert the Great and of Saint Hildegard. In order to do so, we entrusted Harris Interactive with putting together for us a survey along the lines of those already carried out in France and in Italy. This was done on line, February 18-25, 2010, with the participation of 2611 persons over the age of 18 residing in Germany.

Here are the poll's results. We are glad to offer them to the Holy Father to symbolically mark the fifth anniversary of his election to the Holy See.

Question # 1: Do you attend Mass?

Weekly: 5.9%
Monthly: 4.1%
On Holy Days: 18.9%
Occasionally (e.g. for weddings): 42.3%
Never: 28.8%

Question # 2: In July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI restated that the Mass could be celebrated both in its modern, "ordinary," or "Paul VI" form--i.e. in German, with the priest facing the faithful, communion received standing--and in its traditional, "extraordinary," or "John XXIII" form--i.e. in Latin and Gregorian chant, with the priest turned towards the altar, communion received kneeling. Were you aware of this?

Yes: 43.1%
No: 56.9%

Question # 3: Would you consider it normal or abnormal for both liturgical forms to be regularly celebrated in YOUR parish?

Normal: 50.6 %
Abnormal: 24.5 %
No opinion: 24.9 %

Question # 4: If Mass were celebrated with Latin and Gregorian chant in its extraordinary form in YOUR parish, without taking the place of the ordinary one in German, would you attend it?

Answers from those who practice regularly (weekly and monthy)
- 25% would attend weekly
- 19% once a month
- 9% for Holy Days
- 40% occasionally
- 7% never


1/ This survey only brings to light something that is obvious to everyone (including to the clergy): there is in Germany a significant attachment to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the demand is very much unsatisfied: 25% of practicing Catholics, i.e. one in four, would attend the traditional Mass EVERY SUNDAY if it were celebrated in their parish. 19% would do so once a month.

This amounts to 44%, which is more than in Paris where our survey of last month, also entrusted to Harris Interactive and resting on an identical questionnaire, yielded a result of . . . 33%!
This is a particularly weighty pastoral index, and overall it confirms that of the surveys mentioned here below.

2/ Let's talk numbers. Germany has a population of about 82,000,000, among whom 20,090,000 claim to be Catholic;1,185,310 go to Mass every Sunday and 823,690 once a month. Bottom line, this survey tells us that about 300,000 of the faithful would attend the traditional Mass every Sunday if it were celebrated it THEIR parish . . . .

3/ This of course is but a survey, which as all surveys only indicates broad trends without claiming to be precise down to the decimal point. Nevertheless, given the broad tendencies that it reveals, this survey seems to us to require at least some refection on the part of all Catholics of good will.
It is worth noting that this survey does no more than confirm all the polls that Paix Liturgique has commissioned since 2001 (Paris survey by Harris Interactive in January-February 2010, Versailles survey by the Institut JLM Etudes in December 2009, Italy survey by DOXA in September 2009, France survey by the Institut CSA in November 2006, France survey by IPSOS in April 2001), besides the Sofres survey that Le Pèlerin commissioned in December 2006.

4/ Only 24.5% of German Catholics do not find it normal for both forms of the Roman rite to cohabitate peacefully at the parish level (there were 34% in France according to the Le Pèlerin survey conducted before the Motu Proprio was published and 30% in the Paix Liturgique-CSA survey).
Opposition to the application of the Motu Proprio in Germany may be due to certain ecclesiastics, but there is no denying that it is very much in the minority among the faithful and that it might become totally marginal if all the faithful were aware of the Motu Proprio's existence and of the possibility for all pastors to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman rite freely.

5/ This survey cost €6,500, tax included. If you wish to participate in its cost and allow us to continue in our work of information, you can send your donation to Paix Liturgique, 1 allée du Bois Gougenot, 78290 CROISSY-SUR-SEINE, FRANCE, through bank transfer using the following codes:
> IBAN : FR76 3000 3021 9700 0500 0158 593 > BIC : SOGEFRPP