Rorate Caeli has reported on an opinion poll conducted in Italy by one of that country's leading polling organisations. I understand that the results can be considered reliable. Apparently, three questions were asked.
1. Are you aware of the motu proprio, summorum pontificum, by which Pope Benedict XVI approves both forms of the Roman Rite?
64% of practicing Catholics said YES
58% of all catholics said YES
2. Would you find it normal to have both forms celebrated in your parish?
71% of practicing Catholics said YES
71% of all Catholics said YES
3. If the Extraordinary Form were available in your parish, would you attend
a) at least once a month?
63% of practicing Catholics said YES
b) at least once a week?
40% of practicing Catholics said YES
These are all remarkably high percentages. I would guess that if the same questions were asked in England, the figures would less than half the Italian ones. However, this is only my guess. It would be interesting to see the results of a similar poll conducted here.
The most significant result is the one that found that 63% of practicing Catholics would attend a usus antiquior Mass at least once a month if there was one in their parish. This must surely be a compelling argument for provision of at least some older rite Masses in most Italian parishes. The result that as many as 71% of Catholics would consider this normal, would seem to suggest that opposition amongst parishioners would be minimal.
Another result that I find surprising is the level of awareness of summorum pontificum in Italy. Of course, being aware of the existence of summorum pontificum is not the same as knowing exactly what it decrees; nevertheless, 64% is a remarkable figure for a country where there is no equivalent to the Latin Mass Society, and very few old rite Masses are celebrated.
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