Monday, August 06, 2012

Survey Results and Analysis: Hieratic English in the EF and the English Missal in the Ordinariate

[Some analysis of these results follows the results themselves. Some of you might find the section "Clergy, the EF and the Vernacular" particularly intriguing -- I certainly did.]

Should the English Missal be used in the Ordinariate?
Should hieratic English be used in the Roman books, including the EF?

1. Do you believe the English Missal (or something based off it) should be one of the liturgical options provided for the Ordinariates?

2. Do you believe the English Missal has the potential to make a worthwhile contribution to the liturgical life of the Latin rite generally?

3. Do you believe that there should be a wider provision for an appropriate vernacular to be made optionally available within the context of the Extraordinary Form?

4. Do you believe that maintaining the EF in "Latin only" or "almost entirely in Latin" is limiting to the growth and appeal of the EF?

5. For the LAITY only: Would you be more likely to regularly attend the EF if there was a wider provision for and use of the vernacular within it?*

* Question 5 was an interesting response given the response to question 4 above. It makes me think I should have specified a few more answers to this question so as to clarify the context of who was responding. (My main interest would be in the response of those who are not already attending or regularly attending the EF.) Given the other answers in this survey, and given that most NLM readers are not those who simply would never have any interest in attending the EF, my interpretation of this result is that those who responded by a "no" to this question are perhaps those who are already attending the EF and thus more vernacular would not make them more likely to attend since they are already attending; however, a number of those same people, as per question 3, do perhaps still believe a wider provision of the vernacular should be made.

6. For the CLERGY: Would you be more likely to offer the EF Mass if there was a wider provision for and use of vernacular within it?

7. For the CLERGY: Would you be more likely to pray the EF breviary if you could pray it in the vernacular and fulfill your canonical obligations in so doing?

Survey Analysis

Evidently, this is not a scientifically carried out survey, so let us get that point out of the way first of all. That said, the results were interesting.

English Missal and the Ordinariate: On the point of the English Missal in the Ordinariate, very clearly a majority of our respondents came out in favour of that option (or something like it) being available within the Ordinariate (87%) and felt that the English Missal (or something like it) could make a valuable contribution to the liturgical life of the Church generally (85%).

EF and the Verncular: In terms of the related question of a similar vernacular within the EF context, the majority of respondents (64%) felt a wider provision should be made for the vernacular in the EF and just over half (55%) felt that maintaining the EF in Latin only was limiting to its growth.

Clergy, the EF and the Vernacular: 58% of our of clergy respondents (which translated into 164 clerics) said that they would be more likely to offer the EF if there was a wider provision for and use of the vernacular within it. 74% of a clergy respondents (or 226 clerics) said that they would be more likely to use the EF breviary as their breviary if they could pray it within the vernacular.

Just to dwell a bit more on these statistics, the point of interest here for me is not the percentage of those who responded affirmatively vs. negatively, but rather the actual hard numbers.

How so? What this suggests is that we would have approximately 164 more priests who would be much more inclined to celebrate the EF Mass and 226 clerics who would be much more likely to adopt the EF breviary as their breviary if the vernacular options for the EF liturgical books were greater.

To put a bit of perspective on these numbers, according to the FSSP as of October 2011 they had 228 priests (including associated and postulating priests) in the Fraternity. Presuming then that the majority of the clerical respondents in question are not already priests belonging to or associated with an EF only society like the FSSP (and thus already celebrating the EF) those numbers possibly represent significant gains for the usus antiquior. To really know for certain, we'd have to eliminate some of these variables of course, but given how the question was worded, the implication is certainly that those who responded affirmatively are not already routinely celebrating the EF.

A further thought. These numbers only relate to those clerics who happened to see and respond to this survey in the past few days. How would this translate, numerically, when taken beyond the limited scope of this survey? In other words, if the circumstances described in questions 6 and 7 where to come to pass, what might the gains look like for the usus antiquior given that they already look pretty healthy even within the limited confines of this survey? I find it an interesting point to speculate upon and certainly I think anyone who is interested in seeing the EF grow and spread should as well.

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