We do know that in the USA, about 90% or more of Catholics on Sunday went to Mass up until the early 1960's prior to the Second Vatican Council. We do know that seminaries were full, there were large Catholic families and religious life was thriving. We do know all this occurred under a very strict Catholic ethic which was severe.
On any given Sunday, the vast majority of Catholics who attended Mass, poor or rich (there were many more poor Catholics in the USA prior to the Council than today) wore Sunday best and were quite pious at Mass. The majority of Catholics attending Mass each Sunday would never go to receive Holy Communion if there was any doubt about an unrepentant mortal sin. Confession would come first.
I got an email recently about a confused Catholic trying to deal with both forms of the Catholic Mass in her parish. She is a new convert to Catholicism and attends the EF Low Mass once a week during the week and the High Mass once offered once a month on Sunday in her parish. This is what she says:
All these Low Masses aren't helping me to accept the OF. There's such a difference in the Mass itself and in the crowd that attends each one. The OF involves the people so much that they seem to forget that God is present. The attire is distracting and their actions are as well. There's so much talking when I'm trying to pray before or after Mass. I am physically exhausted after an OF Mass from trying to put on my blinders, stay focused, and pray for myself to stay humble and pure of thought. I know I'm a new convert, but Traditional Catholicism is something that I understand and am drawn to with every fiber of my being. I want so much to be a good Christian. I know I'm not crazy, because there are others who think the same way about the Masses. Others who struggle and are tired. It's not out of negativity, but out of love for Christ and the Church that people want only the Latin Mass.
As a priest who loves both forms of the Mass (although I would love to see the changing parts of the EF Mass allowed in the vernacular at least for the low Mass) I can understand the sentiments expressed above by this frustrated convert. It is as though the Church is schizophrenic when it comes to the Mass and the spirituality and demeanor of both Masses and how Catholics approach each one.
What would you say to the person above who will not go to an OF Mass any longer thus misses Sunday Mass altogether since no EF Mass is offered every Sunday? Of course this is a mortal sin at least on the surface (serious matter, one knows that it is a sin and with full consent of the will commits the sin).