Paix Liturgique, the French organisation that has commissioned opinion surveys on the usus antiquior in several European countries, has conducted a poll in England, Scotland and Wales. The telephone survey was conducted between 21st and 28th June by Harris Interactive. 800 individuals, over the age of 18 and claiming to be Catholic, were identified from a sample of 6153.
The full results can be found on Rorate Caeli and other blogs. I will just highlight some of the findings.
Awareness of the Motu Proprio
Of the 800 Catholics, 60.6% said that they were unaware that it was permissible to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary, or more traditional Latin, form. Since the sample would have included many lapsed Catholics, this is not a surprising figure. However, when the figures for those who claim to attend Mass regularly (ie at least once per month) are analysed, 37.2% were still unaware.
The conclusion must be that a very poor job has been done of explaining the provisions of summorum pontificum and the rights it gives to ordinary members of the faithful.
The poll asked the question: Would you consider it normal or abnormal for both liturgical forms to be celebrated regularly in your parish? Again, taking those who attend Mass regularly (ie at least once per month), the replies were as follows:-
No opinion 14.4%
Put another way, amongst regular Mass attenders, almost twice as many think that it would be normal for both forms to exist side by side in a parish as those that think that it would be abnormal.
Perhaps the most interestying question was: If Mass were celebrated in Latin with Gregorian chant and in its extraordinary form in your parish, without taking the place of an ordinary one in English, how frequently would you attend it?
Again taking the replies of the practicing Catholics (ie those who attend Mass at least once per month), the answers were as follows:-
every week 43%
once per month 23.4%
on Holy Days 7.8%
These are truely remarkable figures. Only 8.2% are so opposed to the traditional form that they would never attend, against 91.8% who would attend at least occasionally. As many as 66.4% say that they would attend at least once per month.
Of course what people say they would do in a poll and what people actually would do are different matters. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that this survey reveals both acceptance and interest in the traditional form of Mass is widespread. Furthermore, the proportion of practicing Catholics who would oppose the introduction of of the usus antiquior into ordinary parish life is minimal.
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