National Survey Results: What We Learned About Latin Mass Attendees

Should anyone doubt the importance of the Liturgy in the life of the Church, you need only take a look at the statistics. The difference in Mass attendance, obedience to the Divine Law of the Church and in holiness of life among those who attend the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, as compared to those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass, is vast and extremely significant. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

Traditional Latin Mass National Survey

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

Contributors: Sha Balizet Fisher, Ph.D. (Statistics), Brian (Consultant), 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 at Georgetown University [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 (slightly 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 over 1,500 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. Data was collected between March 2018 and November 2018. The surveys were anonymous and unique responses only were tallied. In pew surveys were administered to 1322 respondents. The number of responses varied (between 1,251 and 1,322) 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 designed 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


TLM Survey Results


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 dramatic 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 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.


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


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7 Responses to National Survey Results: What We Learned About Latin Mass Attendees

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    Thank you, Fr Kloster. Great survey! Our rural area is dry of choices; but I would choose TLM if it were within my reach.


  2. Robert John Bennett says:

    “Mass attendance”? “Obedience to the Divine Law of the Church”? “Holiness of life”?

    A friend commented, “Oh, gimme a break. Does anyone really think the present pope and his accomplices CARE about such things?”


  3. Gertrude says:

    No Robert. I don’t think the Pope does care, but every desert has its oasis, and around every oasis are the green shoots of growth. Such is the Latin Mass. From small centres throughout the world seeds are being planted. It might not be in my lifetime that they come to fruition, but come to fruition they will. Although this survey applies to America, here in the UK we see wonderful things where traditional Orders ha’ve been welcomed. This Holy Mass is our future – and the future of Holy Mother Church. Twas ever thus.


  4. kathleen says:

    Yes Mary, I’m in the same boat. Where I live there is only one TLM celebrated on the first Sunday of every month, an hour’s drive away… and that’s it! However, I look forward to this once-a-month holy Mass with all the excited anticipation of a child. Only in the big cities of Spain is the celebration of the TLM more readily available.

    Gertrude is right; wonderful things are happening in the UK due to the spreading of this Holy Mass and its transcendent beauty. I see it every time I go back to visit my family and friends there. Even in France, the tradional Catholics who attend the TLM are fighting back against the surge of militant secularism simply through their faithful orthodoxy to the Faith. It is wonderful to see them in their thousands on the annual pilgrimage to Chartres.


  5. Mike Ryan says:

    “the present survey, compared with other data, reveals a striking variance between Catholics attending the TLM versus those who attend the NOM..”

    Well, only to an extent. If we examine the tables we see that 99% of those who attend the TLM attend Mass weekly whereas only 22% of the other group do. So it’s a bit like comparing apples and pears. To be able to draw any valid conclusions you need to compare like with like. Thus the entire cohort for NO Mass attendees should be based on those who attend Mass weekly. Such a comparison might, nevertheless, reveal interesting comparisons but at the moment the survey is largely comparing regular attendees with irregular or non-existent attendees.


  6. Crow says:

    Umm, Mike, I think that the irregular attendance of the NO’s is the point, not the demographic. I would be careful about mentioning any of this to Pope Francis, though, as he is sure to find an excuse to shut the TLM down – it’s very existence builds resistance to the St Gallen mafia agenda. It is interesting because the Latin Mass is the cause, it is not just that those who attend are more conservative. I have found, over the period I have been attending weekly, that the Latin Mass is a catechesis- the truths of the faith permeate without words articulating them in a concrete sense. With the Latin Mass, there is no need for the ‘New Evangelisation’ – it just exists and any person watching and listening recognises it as authentic and the truth.


  7. rmichaelj says:

    If you look at the actual Pew research it does break down those who attend mass weekly vs. those who don’t. It makes a difference on some topics, on others it doesn’t. For example- of those Catholics attending mass weekly 13% believe contraception is morally wrong while 87% don’t. Not much change there. Whereas in regards to abortion 87% of weekly attending catholics believe it is wrong- vs. about half of all catholics believing it is wrong. Basically there is a big difference in viewpoints in regards to abortion between attending N.O. Catholics and non attending- but in the other areas- the differences are minor.


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