Real Clear Politics: The Rise of Latin Youth
Liberal bishops dismissed Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution authorizing wider use of the traditional Latin mass, as a bone thrown to over-the-hill conservatives. But Pope Benedict XVI probably wrote it more for the young than the old. ...
... The secular press covers youth interest in the traditional Latin mass far more respectfully. The Economist recently reported on the "traditionalist avant-garde." The old mass, it found, isn't petering out but picking up some speed: "The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, started in 1965, now has over 5,000 members. The weekly number of Latin masses is up from 26 in 2007 to 157 now. In America it is up from 60 in 1991 to 420. At Brompton Oratory, a hotspot of London traditionalism, 440 flock to the main Sunday Latin mass. That is twice the figure for the main English one."
The influx of conservative Anglicans has bolstered these numbers a bit: "Dozens of Anglican priests have 'crossed the Tiber' from the heavily ritualistic 'smells and bells' high-church wing; they find a ready welcome among traditionalist Roman Catholics."
But the principal source of growth comes from youth interest. "Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church," says The Economist. "Traditionalist groups have members in 34 countries, including Hong Kong, South Africa and Belarus. Juventutem, a movement for young Catholics who like the old ways, boasts scores of activists in a dozen countries."
Self-consciously "relevant" Catholicism is increasingly seen by the young as irrelevant. Youth masses that try to imitate the trends of the world, often lamely, generate only sporadic attendance. ...
Are there lessons here for the Protestant world?