Eight days ago I wrote Traditionis Custodes Results: No Fallen Sky (I Called It). The purpose of it was to show that the reports of the death of the TLM (Old Mass / Tridentine Mass / “extraordinary form”) were — like one of Mark Twain’s sarcastic jibes about his own alleged demise — greatly exaggerated, to say the least. The game then became (in response to my tweaking) “wait a year and see what happens.” Hence, Fr. Hugh Somerville Knapman, OSB (right before resolving to never again mention me on his blog) wrote on 9-7-21: “Dave is right that the sky has not fallen in for traditionalists…yet. We’ll see how prophetic he is in a year’s time.”
Fair enough. I ain’t going anywhere and will be glad to sit and wait another ten months and come back and report what the status of the TLM around the world is at that time, too. And (very unlike many hysterical reactionaries at the present moment) I will be more than willing and happy to admit that I was an inaccurate prognosticator, if indeed that turns out to be the case.
At this point, if I had to bet the farm, I’m bettin’ on the “TLM sky” still being up there (and blue, as an extra bonus) ten months from now. If I’m wrong, these words will still be here and can be thrown in my face. I never claimed infallibility. I’m not filled with pride and full of myself, as my reactionary detractors seem to (infallibly?) think. But I’ve had a very good record — generally speaking — in my predictions. As of 9-6-21, the tally of the world’s parishes was as follows:
[W]e have a whopping 18 dioceses that have shut down the Old Mass out of 212 (or 8.5%). Another 17 restricted them (or 8%). That leaves 91.5% of the dioceses with the Old Mass intact: 83.5% with no restrictions whatever compared to previous practice. This is the sky falling down? Obviously not, . . . There is some regulation so far: to the tune of 16.5% of 212 dioceses.
We have a website that helps us keep track of these things. Another eight days have passed, and we now know of data from 229 dioceses around the world, though there are 3,160 Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdictions worldwide. This means that we only have “results” from 7.2% of the world’s dioceses and other jurisdictions. 92.8% of them have (presumably) not issued statements on this question. In light of that, the figures are (so far) even more overwhelmingly in favor of the status quo (in terms of actual numbers thus far of TLM shutdowns) since Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum in 2007: allowing far more latitude for the Old Mass to be celebrated.
The current figures show the TLMs being totally suppressed in 19 dioceses. That’s 0.6% of the world’s Catholic jurisdictions (one out of every 166) or 0.66% of the world’s 2881 dioceses and archdioceses (one of every 152). Moreover, seven of those (for who knows what reason) are from the tiny nation of Costa Rica, with a population of 5.094 million in 2020 (a number between the 2021 populations of Alabama and South Carolina). If we look at known world figures, minus Costa Rica, which accounts for 37% of all total closures of the TLM, the figures become 0.38% (twelve out of 3,153 jurisdictions) or 0.42% (twelve out of 2874 dioceses).
That’s the sky falling down? Now, granted, we only have reports yay or nay from 7.2% of all jurisdictions and 7.9% of all dioceses, but according to the science of polling, this is not insignificant, and gives a good indication of the way things will proceed going forward. The present figures also show that in 32 dioceses, “some” TLMs are suppressed. That is 1% of all jurisdictions and 1.1% of all dioceses. Thus, the total tallies are:
19 total closures out of 3,160 Catholic jurisdictions (0.6% or 1 of every 166)
19 total closures out of 2881 dioceses and archdioceses (0.66% or 1 of every 152)
32 partial suppressions or “regulation” out of 3,160 Catholic jurisdictions (1.0% or 1 of every 99)
32 partial suppressions or “regulation” out of 2881 dioceses and archdioceses (1.1% or 1 of every 90)
Grand total (prohibition + suppression):
51 cases out of 3,160 Catholic jurisdictions (1.6% or 1 of every 62)
51 cases out of 2881 dioceses and archdioceses (1.8% or 1 of every 56.5)
Therefore, as of current statistics, 98.4% of jurisdictions 98.2% of dioceses have no reports of any regulation whatsoever of the TLM.
Restriction to Known Cases (where regions have decided yay or nay or “some”):
19 total closures out of 229 dioceses and archdioceses (8.3% or 1 of every 12)
32 partial suppressions or “regulation” out of 229 dioceses and archdioceses (14% or 1 of every 7.2)
51 cases of total + partial suppression out of 229 dioceses and archdioceses (22.3% or 1 of every 4.5)
Therefore, in the 229 known cases, 77.7% of dioceses have no regulation whatsoever (no change) and 91.7% are allowing TLMs either fully or with regulation (some shut down)
The alarmists and “prophets of doom and gloom” could say that the percentage of dioceses with no regulation whatever has gone down (from 83.5% to 77.7%) in eight days. And the ones restricting the TLM to some degree also went from 8% to 14%. So we see some increase in what in their eyes is a “bad” and “undesirable” outcome. These trends will likely continue to some extent as reports come in, but it looks like, in the long run, instances of regulation or suppression will be nowhere near the majority of cases.
And so I ask again, if the trends broadly continue as they are, how is that the sky falling down and/or some supposed wicked, pope-led conspiracy to totally suppress the TLM? So far it clearly is not either thing. And so the hysterical and tin foil hat factions hold on to their cynical view that a year’s time will prove their suspicions to have been accurate.
We’ll see, won’t we?! Time will tell. Proof’s in the pudding. And I’ll be watching; wearing my “religious sociologist” hat.
Photo credit: Linnaea Mallette [PublicDomainPictures.Net]
Summary: So far, statistics show that, overwhelmingly, Catholics still have a free (or mostly free) availability of the TLM. Traditionis Custodes, contrary to dire predictions, has not changed that.