It seems that the problem is not whether a Church uses the term "obligation" or not. If there is an obligation, people will do the minimum to squeak by, and if there isn't an obligation, people just won't go. The problem, then, seems to be people. That's natural, though, because we are sinners.
For what it's worth, I don't particularly like the term "obligation" because it sounds like something you have to do that you may not want to do, and there has never been a time that I didn't want to go to Mass if I was able. Still, it is important to emphasize that, as Christians, we are required to keep the Sabbath holy.
I do not like the term "obligation" either. However, I know a few Catholics who will attend the shortest Mass they can find, preferably one without a sermon, so that they can get back home within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, they are driven by the fear of hell to attend Mass, otherwise, they might not even attend. Because religion is not a real priority in their homes, and rarely discussed, they were shocked when their own children became pro-abortion, used artificial contraception, and believed in euthanasia. These are Irish-Italian American Catholics too. However, I am glad that they attend at least once a week to "fulfill my 30 minutes of obligatory prayer once a week." Otherwise, things could be far worse.
To be fair, I also know some Orthodox Christians who do not even bother to attend church with the exception of Christmas and Easter. And some of these folks only come on Pascha to "Come take the Light" and then they leave promptly. We call them Cheaster Christian. They give the excuse that their work schedule prevents them from attending Divine Liturgy on Sunday, but when one looks at their work, it involves Little League, Soccer matches, gym matches, or swim meets which are scheduled for Sunday mornings. (Yes, I am talking about Soccer Moms more than Soccer Dads). Would it really help to have an "obligatory" Sunday Divine Liturgy? Would it make any difference in their daily lives as Christians?
We really need to pray for these folks.
Sometimes that is true. The saying of our Lord comes to mind about lukewarmness. How can we start a fire under people?
In my case, I got to the point where I stopped going to the Catholic Mass because I was losing my faith due to Cardinal Mahony's "Liturgical Revolution" as he himself called it. I did not like going to Mass to get entertained, as I felt that I should be worshiping God. However, I certainly did not feel like I was engaged in heavenly worship with scantily clad dancers, so I lost my spiritual focus.
Around this time, I wrote Cardinal Mahony a letter concerning my allergy to the lemon scented air fresheners where present in almost all of the parishes in his archdiocese, but he wrote back giving me a dispensation from attendance at Sunday Mass. Therefore, I was no longer under the "obligation under pain of mortal sin." Some of my Catholic friends became concerned and encouraged me to attend the Tridentine Mass, but it seemed so cold, sober, and silent. In addition, many of the parishioners who attended the Latin Mass were constantly disrespectful of Cardinal Mahony and called him names. This created a very toxic environment. While a few of my Catholic friends encouraged me to visit various Byzantine Catholic churches which were not under Cardinal Mahony, other Catholic friends told me that it would be very anti-American to attend an Arabic or Russian church, even if it were under the Pope, so I vacillated.
Then on Pascha 1993, I almost died of pneumonia which put me in the hospital with a 105 degree F temperature for seven days. The doctor gave me little chance of survival, so I prayed and promised the Lord that I would call the Melkite Church if I survived. A new antibiotic was given to me and I slowly recovered. By the beginning of the Fast of the Theotokos, I had finally recovered, so I was able to attend my first Melkite Divine Liturgy. I was delighted when the priest prayed, "Let us be attentive." That prayer caught my attention, and my faith was restored. I went from being a nominal broken Catholic to being on fire. I quickly learned the Byzantine chant and was chanting Vespers on Saturday and singing with the choir on Sundays. Even though there was no "obligation," I attended daily services whenever possible because the Holy Services and the Divine Liturgy filled me with holy joy and renewed my hope.
Therefore, I am eternally grateful for the Eastern Catholic Church, which restored my faith in Jesus Christ and in His Church. If I had not visited that Melkite Church, I would not be an Orthodox Christian today.