I’m a strong advocate for properly done Lifeteen Masses. I’ve seen them convert the heart of more than one jaded and nearly despairing priest.
The problem with comparing the OF and the TLM in 2017 is that there are millions of OF masses every weekend where there are maybe a few dozen TLM masses.
When TLM was the norm, there were plenty of irreverent moments, disengaged people and outright abuses. However, it also occurred between the years 1600-1960 when people’s view of respect and reverence were far different than they are now.
Today, TLM is very rare and sought out. Only those who strongly desire to attend make the effort to go to such a Mass. To make a fair comparison to the OF Mass, one must find a similarly sought-out Mass that isn’t simply attended out of the sense of obligation.
The best example of this I’ve found outside of the Phillipino based CFC run churches is the Lifeteen Mass. The desire for the Mass itself is incredibly high. The teens (and adults) who attend seek out this Mass not simply for the ancillary things (like the music) but because they recognize the reverence and respond to it. They attend the program before or after in a desperate thirst to know more.
It’s the exact same sentiment of the TLM population.
So what @DeaconJeff is describing, or what I describe, or what @Walking_Home talks about is how when people try and declare that reverence is the deciding factor between TLM and OF they are operating with the inherent misunderstanding of the OF as viewed through the lens of the common experiance, rather than for what it really is—an amazing and invigorating Mass that has been given to us through the Church in her wisdom.