I here repeat, together with its very interesting thread, a post from 2009. My views have now changed to the extent that I now more strongly favour the pre-Pius XII rites wherever it is unproblematic to do them. But I think this piece ... and the associated thread ... raise and discuss some very important topics, especially given the Benedict XVI principle that what has been sacred cannot just be abolished.
It is not surprising that the Spirit of Bugnini struck, proleptically, when Pius XII published the first revision of the Holy Week Rites. They were an easy target; very few laypeople attended them and they were celebrated at hours which did not respect the Authenticity of Time, the veritatem horae. Even those who did attend them only did so, of course, once a year. They naturally had much less of a constituency which felt an investment in them, than the daily liturgy did. So they became the first big example of radical revision which ignored the concept of organic development; the first victims of whatever the Germanic compound for Committeeliturgy would be.
Moreover, it happened a very long time ago. There are lots of clergy and laypeople who remember the Mass of the 1962 Missal; I was myself was part of the very last generation trained at seminary to say the Tridentine Mass and I am, just about, in full time ministry still. So there are continuities, and not least because, since the Heenan indult, there have always been tridentine celebrants. But any priest who remembers doing the pre-Pius XII Holy Week rites must be eighty or older. For most of us, standing outside the church hoping the fire will 'take' and wielding our stylus to incise some marks on the candle before processing it inside the building, sprinkling the people after they have renewed their baptismal vows, and all the rest of it, constitute our oldest memories of the Great Vigil.
I think the reforms contained a substantial gain. I gather that Abp Lefebvre also thought so; I believe one of the origins of the SSPV lay in his unwillingness to sanction the older rites. And it must be better to have a goodly number attending somewhat mangled rites than practically nobody taking part in pure pristine rites. A hermeneutic of continuity implies now the organic development of the Pian rites; a return to the pre-Pian rites would be that very archaeologism which (with Pius XII) we rightly condemn when it is used to foster formulae questionably derived from Hippolytus.
But those who most favour the revised usages are ill placed to argue that a status quo is totally immutable. And it remains true that changing the Holy Week Rites is less disruptive than altering what happens weekly and daily in the life of Christians (sauce for goose, ditto for gander). You can't do Holy Week on autopilot; you have to fish out your last-year's notes of where to leave the props and how to rehearse the servers.
So what should we be doing? For starters, I think we priests should try to find time, during our retreat if not in the hustle and bustle of Holy Week itself, to read each year the rites in the older books; and thus at least to understand more adequately (and perhaps to preach more profoundly upon) the meaning of these ancient Mysteries of our Redemption.