I have for years been pushing the conférence of Msgr Léon Gromier, a Master of Ceremonies for Pius XII, on the restoration of Holy Week from the fifties. That was all I knew about him. Fr Christopher Smith provides more information as well as discussing Gromier's arguments.
One of the more interesting parts of the talk is when [Gromier] takes issue with the adjective solemn as applied in the 1955 Reform. He writes, “The solemnity of liturgical services is not an optional decoration; it is of the nature of the service … Outside of this, so-called solemnity is not an amplifying enticement, to impress and score the goal … we made a prodigious use of the word solemn even for necessarily or intrinsically solemn acts. We use words, believing that we can put more solemnity into the Procession of Palms than into that of Candlemas, more solemnity into the Procession of Maundy Thursday than that of Good Friday (abolished as we shall see). Always on the same slippery slope, we learn that the Passion of Good Friday is sung solemnly, as if it could be sung in another fashion.”
Here Gromier identifies a crucial characteristic of the Reformed Liturgy that I had never been able to put into words. Theologians often talk about the svolta antropologica, a man-centered volte-face of theology after Rahner. Here we have a clear liturgical complement. Solemnity no longer arises from the nature of the Christological mystery being celebrated, but of how we go about celebrating it, and what we do to celebrate it. The Eucharistic Processions of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday were solemn before because of their reference to Christ being carried to and from the Sepulchre. After 1955, Maundy Thursday remains solemn because incense and song and candles accompany the Procession. Good Friday ceases to be so because those things that we do are omitted. I think this is a point worthy of further reflection. How often in our parishes, basilicas and papal liturgies have we seen attempts at solemnization of the liturgy interpreted as our use of Latin, candles and incense rather than the solemn nature of certain ceremonies rising from their intrinsic Christological import?"Solemnity no longer arises from the nature of the Christological mystery being celebrated, but of how we go about celebrating it, and what we do to celebrate it." We do not add Latin, chant, candles, incense, etc to make a rite solemn. Instead we have these things because the rite is of its nature solemn.