Most Catholics do not desire the TLM because most Catholics do not particularly desire ANY mass.
That is to say, they go to the nearest, most convenient Mass.
If they have to make a positive choice to seek out the old mass…most won’t bother going out of their way.
But let’s say the situation was reversed. Let’s say the old mass was made obligatory, and for 20 years the new mass could only be said by indult in one or two churches per diocese. Do you think all the people in the diocese would flock to those churches because they love the novus ordo so much?
I dont think so, I dont think most Catholics really care. They’re indifferent, most will never bother to actively seek something out, they’ll just go to the nearest one.
Therefore, it is unfair to judge the TLM by how many people are actively demanding it, because no similar comparison or statistics exist for the Novus Ordo, ie, how many people, after a few years of obligatory TLM, would still be actively demanding the Novus Ordo. Maybe a few, and they could go to a few indult parishes per diocese.
Then, after 20 or 40 years of the Novus Ordo being practically forbidden, limited to a few indult parishes…we’d see how many priests bothered to learn it, and how many people bothered to request it even if a universal indult was given for it.
Lack of active demand is no argument against the TLM, because that holds it to a higher standard than the Novus Ordo…which no one has had to actively demand, merely passively accept.
Like I said…switch the scenario, impose the old rite, practically ban the Novus Ordo for 20 years, and put it under indult only for another 20…and we’d see how many people requested it at the end of those 40 years, and how many simply kept going along with the status quo.
I really think most Catholics dont care…and so no progress is going to be made on the TLM unless it is imposed from the top down. Which, after some intitial uneasiness, people would accept and quickly return to not caring. Most Catholics aren’t going to actively demand either liturgy, so it’s an unfair standard to judge the TLM by. Most are just going to go the mass offered closest to them.
I honestly believe that if they were put on a level playing field…many more people are actively demanding and seeking out the TLM than would ever actively go out of their way to attend the Novus Ordo if it was restricted in a similar way.