Rorate Caeli

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi - The Traditional Latin Mass Catholic Survey - what Traditional Catholics believe

by Fr. Donald Kloster
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Norwalk, Connecticut, USA

Sha Balizet Fisher, PhD (Statistics consulting) -  Mr. Brian Williams (Consultant)  Mrs. Christine Boyle (Webmaster)


Through more than twenty years of offering both the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM) and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), this writer has observed variations between the people attending the two different Masses within the Roman Rite.  American Catholics attending the NOM have been surveyed repeatedly in terms of their beliefs and practices (Pew Research and Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate or Georgetown University's CARA).

Yet, the body of research does not appear to include a description of Catholics who attend the TLM.  These Catholics attend at least 489 Sunday Masses nationwide ( 2019).  On any given Sunday, an estimated 100,000 Catholics (on average over 200 faithful per Mass and/or parish) in the United States of America worship according to the ancient Mass that, prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), was offered in Latin for more than 1900 years.

The quickly growing number of TLM only parishes permits survey research going beyond one individual's observations.  The objective of this pilot study was to measure the fruit of the two Masses, by directly comparing the TLM and NOM attendees' responses to the same questions. 


The survey consisted of seven questions on the beliefs and attitudes of the respondents.  The surveys conducted were anonymous and had unique responses.  In pew surveys were administered to 1251-1322 responders according to the given question.  The same survey, administered online, received 451 responses.

In Pew Survey Respondents

Arizona, California, Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas

Online Survey Respondents

Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, 
Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

The TLM Survey was conducted to parallel questions posed in previous research, allowing a direct comparison between the TLM attendees and those of the NOM.  These were the topics:

1. Approval of contraception
2. Approval of abortion
3. Weekly Mass attendance
4. Approval of same sex marriage
5. Percentage of income donated
6. Annual Confession among weekly Mass attendees
7. Fertility Rate


Survey Question                        TLM       TLM samples         NOM        Data Source

1. Approve contraception             2%            1,773                   89%         Pew Research 2016 (Sept 28)
2. Approve abortion                      1%            1,769                   51%         Pew Research 2018 (Oct 15)
3. Weekly Mass attendance        99%            1,763                   22%         CARA 2017 (Apr 11, 2018)
4. Approve gay marriage               2%            1,759                   67%         Daily Wire (July 2, 2017)
5. Income % donated                    6%            1,702                  1.2%  (May 17, 2013)
                                                               Protestants                   2.5%        Relevant Magazine (March 8, 2016)
              All Christians during the Great Depression                   3.3%         Relevant Magazine (March 8, 2016)
6. Annual Confession
    and Weekly Mass                     98%            1,753                   25%         CARA 2014 (Feb 16)
7. Fertility Rate                             6.0               1,085*                  2.3           Pew Research 2015 (May 12)

*This question was directed to women only.


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.  These differences are noticeably evident when comparing beliefs, church attendance, monetary generosity, and fertility rates.

Importantly, TLM families have a nearly 60% larger family size.  This will translate to a changing demographic within the Church.  TLM attendees donate 5 times more in the collection, indicating that they are far more invested than the NOM attendees.  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 TLM Catholics who are deeply in love with their faith and cannot imagine missing their Sunday privilege.

Future Research

Would young adult TLM Catholics be more likely to commit to a life in the Church?  This question has never been studied among TLM Catholics since the inception of the 1970 NOM.  Research is needed to explore TLM attendees' vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, Married Life, and Single Life within the 18-39 year old subset of TLM Catholics.  Preliminary studies by this author indicate that the TLM produces 7-8 times the number of Priestly and Religious vocations.  Reception of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony would also seem to be much higher among TLM attendees.  Finally, how well does the TLM retain young adults once they leave their parent's homes?   Rigorous study on these topics are planned for 2019-2020.


Pew Research          Contraception                         Sept 28, 2016
Pew Research          Abortion                                  Oct   15, 2018 
Pew Research          Catholic Fertility Rate              May 12,  2015
CARA                       Annual Conf/Weekly Mass       Feb 16,  2014       
CARA 2017              Mass attendance                     April 11, 2018  Huffington Post quoting Dr. Mark Gray
Catholic   Donation %                             May 17,  2013
Relevant Magazine   Donation %                             March 8, 2016
Daily Wire                 Same sex marriage                  July  2,   2017