Increasingly, I am of the opinion that there is a distinct difference between Traditional Catholicism and Traditionalism. Traditional Catholicism concerns itself with reviving defunct practices and liturgies spanning the history of the Western/Latin Christian tradition. Traditionalism, by comparison, seeks to preserve the practices and liturgy of the earlier part of Catholicism's modernization, reconstituting early attempts at modernization as the perennial religion.
This needs to be fleshed out. Lets start with the first of the two, Traditional Catholicism.
Traditional Catholicism has the benefit of historical perspective. Its vision spans a wide swath of Latin Christian history. There is a deep appreciation for the many pre-Tridentine local variants, and typically a considerable knowledge of Western Christian praxis and liturgy before the cycle of Reformation-Counter Reformation. If there is a weakness to it, it is that it is largely academic. Most of the positioning occurs in academic publications, flexing considerable scholarly muscle. It is rarely if ever applied in a real setting, mostly due to the overwhelming indifference of the major denominations. This is despite the fine analysis of many of its proponents.
Laszlo Dobszay was a good example of this. Coming at it from a purely Roman Catholic perspective, Dobszay targeted Pius X's considerable reform of the Roman breviary, often positing that the pre-Pian breviary ought to be given a renewed examination. He reflected an emerging trend in liturgical scholarship, at least the scholarship concerned with daily prayer, that Pius X had effectively suppressed one of the oldest psalter schemas in continuous use. The problem that Dobszay and other scholars have is that their work seems to have little chance of making a practical impact. The Roman Church, for instance, has no intention of revisiting the Roman Breviary as it existed before Pius X. Consequently, Traditional Catholicism is often a private venture (among Roman Catholics) or belongs to smaller religious communities (in the Anglican Church) or monasteries away from the public eye.
Speaking from a scholars background, Traditional Catholicism has a lot to love. In so far as it makes the case to restore long since forgotten liturgies of various local flavors of the Latin tradition, it exemplifies the very best idea of liturgical plurality. But it is this fact that makes it so unappealing to the larger currents in the Latin West. Recovering the obscurities of Latin Christianity has failed to influence the larger liturgical stream; it is an eccentric's task or the lonely research of a scholar. It simply does not press any weight upon the broader Church or the liturgical imagination. Set side-by-side with mainline Catholicism or the Traditionalists, this group cannot help but to be the odd one out. Its work produces intelligent conversation, but the implicit ecclesiology leaves many religious observers slightly uncomfortable.
The liturgical theory behind Traditional Catholicism requires a substantial amount of decentralized authority, the local parish being entrusted with the care and maintenance of its liturgy. Such trust requires the adherence to a common matrix of faith that is equally understood and accepted in the larger confederation of the religion. Conservative leaning persons would be uncomfortable with the prospect of the most tasteless liberal excess running wild. Liberals, on the other hand, would fret at the possibility of pre-modern liturgical forms displacing contemporary theories and patterns of worship.
There is also the simple fact that this position may well be too academic to be viable. Betwixt the rediscovery of ancient forms, there is often a fair amount of reconstruction going on. Fine at the academic level, but hardly a sure basis upon which to rest religious observance.
Yet, the whole discussion is, up to this point, so highly hypothetical so as to be essentially irrelevant. Those who would rediscover the liturgy as it was prior to the Reformation and Counter Reformation are the smallest of minorities. In variably, many of them, for convenience sake, fall in line with the early modern liturgies of the Roman or Anglican pedigree, the acceptable parameters for Traditionalist Catholics or Anglicans.