The reception of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes has not exactly been positive among practicing Catholics in the United States. This is shown by a recent Pew Research Center survey which notes that two thirds of baptized Catholics are unaware of the restrictions taken against the Traditional Mass.
Taken as a whole, regardless of their religious practice, the Pew Research Center (PRC) survey finds that 65% of American Catholics have not heard of recent Roman restrictions on the Traditional Mass.
These figures speak little in themselves. It is difficult to draw relevant conclusions on the real Catholics in the country, taking into account the baptized with secularized customs, who are in the majority in the United States as in Europe.
On the other hand, when the PRC study takes religious practice into account, the finding is not the same: nearly six in ten Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday or more often, have heard of the new restrictions contained in the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, and about three in ten say they disapprove of them.
Suffice to say that Pope Francis's measures are not unanimously approved among practicing Catholic families, who are the lifeblood of the Church in the United States.
Logically, the PRC survey shows a link between political affiliation and reception of the motu proprio. So, Catholics who vote for the Republican Party are about three times more likely to oppose the new restrictions on the Tridentine Mass as those who adhere to the ideas of the Democratic Party (20% against 6%).
This is one way of confirming that the Traditional Mass, based on the sacrifice of Christ, goes against the progressive ideas long conveyed by the Democratic Party.
The PRC also investigated Pope Francis’s image among Catholics. These figures which are partly biased this time around as they completely ignore the religious practice of Catholics, but which give some indications.
Thus, the study once again highlights a political polarization in the way Catholics perceive the current Roman pontiff: the share of Catholic Democrats who have a favorable opinion of Francis is 20 points higher than that of Republicans.
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to attribute certain negative attributes to Pope Francis, including his being “out of touch” and “naive.”
More significantly, nearly half of Catholic Republicans say that Pope Francis is “too liberal” (49%), while only 16% of Catholic Democrats say so: a gap that would probably be more marked when taking regular religious practice into account, but the PRC survey does not do so.
Here again, the cleavage between Rome and the American prelates on the refusal of sacramental communion to politicians professing or supporting positions contrary to the magisterium of the Church, did not help to restore the Pope’s image.