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Poll: almost half of Mass-goers would attend older form

Priests studying the Extraordinary Form at a training conference organised by the Latin Mass Society

Almost half of English and Welsh Mass-goers would attend Masses in the traditional form of the Roman Rite if it was celebrated in local parishes, a new study has shown.

The survey, which used a sample of 800 people who identified themselves as Catholic, showed that 66 per cent of practising Catholics would be happy to attend the traditional Latin Mass once a month if it were celebrated in their parishes.

Commissioned by the French group Paix Liturgique, the survey also showed that Britain had a higher percentage of regular Mass attendance than France, Portugal and Germany.

Although only 13 per cent of Britain’s population identifies itself as Catholic, 32 per cent of Catholics attend Mass at least once a month, if not more often, compared with 19 per cent of French Catholics and 10 per cent of German Catholics.

According to the survey, 43 per cent of those Catholics who practice regularly would attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form once a week. Fifty per cent of the Catholics questioned said that they would find it normal if Mass were celebrated in the Extraordinary Form alongside the Ordinary Form in their parishes. The survey also found that 60 per cent of Catholics were unaware of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which lifted restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass in 2007.

John Medlin, general manager of the Latin Mass Society, said: “Broadly speaking these results are the same across Europe. They indicate that among Catholics who take interest in their faith, although there is great ignorance, once people are made aware of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum there is a willingness for people in large numbers to accept the Extraordinary Form.

“Once it is explained, there is a willingness on the part of Catholics attached to the Ordinary Form for the two forms of the rite to exist quite happily side by side in the parishes, just as most of those attached to the Extraordinary Form are quite happy to accept the right of those attached to the ordinary form to have Mass celebrated in this way.”

In a statement Paix Liturgique said: “In Great Britain as elsewhere, the argument resting on the lack of interest among the faithful for the application of the Motu Proprio is unfair. When their point of view is solicited in an opinion poll the results are quite different to those obtained when one merely speaks in their name.”