Q: A parish liturgist has been approached about offering a “Tenebrae service” on Wednesday night of Holy Week – and she has concerns about the appropriateness of doing so.
As I understand it, Tenebrae was part of the canonical hours during Holy Week, which was suppressed in the 1955 revision of Holy Week.
Therefore, it really is not part of our approved liturgical books any longer.
It is also not mentioned in the Directory on Popular Piety.
However, I see places offering this service, using a variety of texts.
So my questions:
- Is it permitted to offer this service as a devotion?
- If so, which version(s) may be used? Would it be best to avoid the official pre-conciliar liturgical texts since they are no longer in force?
- What concerns might there be in doing so? (For example, do the texts promote anti-Jewish sentiment? Does the celebration of this prayer on Wednesday night distort the flow of how Holy Week unfolds by anticipating the passion and crucifixion? Might celebrating this service be seen as promoting the pre-conciliar usage?)
A: Here are some previous blog posts: