Traditional Latin Mass Schedule in Memphis

Blessed Sacrament - Sundays 8:30 am, First Fridays 12pm noon, First Saturdays 9am
2564 Hale Avenue
Memphis, TN 38112

St. Michael's - (None at this time)
3863 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122

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Monday, December 25 (Christmas):8:30am Traditional Latin Mass at Blessed Sacrament

Monday, January 1: 8:30am Traditional Latin Mass at Blessed Sacrament. Rosary at 8:05am.

Last Updated: December 22, 2017

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Is the Old Rite of Mass more Meritorious than the New Rite of Mass?"

Is the old rite of Mass more meritorious than the new rite of Mass? Fr. Chad Ripperger, professor at St. Gregory’s diocesan minor seminary and Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary, both in Nebraska, answers the question.

"[...] since the new rite is valid, as to the intrinsic sacrifice, the agency of the Church and the agency of the priest as a public person, it is the same as the old. Also as mentioned, we cannot pass judgment on the priests or faithful who go to these respective Masses since we do not have access to their interior lives and cannot judge with certitude who is more holy. It is possible to have beautiful decora in the new rite of Mass, even though the decora used by many in the new rite is often lacking. However, when we consider the rituals themselves, it is possible to arrive at which is more meritorious.

The new rite is “streamlined” in the sense that those who wrote it sought to simplify the ritual. This resulted in less pomp, so in this respect we may say the old rite is more meritorious than the new. We have mentioned in a prior article (56) that the old rite excels the newer rituals with regard to the virtues. Specifically, the old rite proceeds more from charity than the new insofar as the old rite is more ordered to God and less ordered toward the people. This is manifest not only in altar orientation(the new rite can be said oriented) but also in the fact that references to the upernatural virtues were reduced in the propers. Also, the new calendar reduces the glory of the saints. Since charity is love of neighbor for the sake of God, it is hard to see how charity could govern a reduction of the glory of God through the saints. The readings are said toward the people in the new rite, rather than as something offered back to God by facing God the Son Who shall rise in the east. In the old rite, the epistle and the Gospel are read facing God as in the form of a sacrifice offered back to Him. Many parts of the new rite are said facing the people (such as the introductory and penitential rites) rather than to God, as in the prayers at the foot of the altar in the old rite. In these and in other ways, the new rite is less ordered to God and therefore does not manifest the virtue of charity as well.

Some parts of the new rite are the same as the old. It is possible, provided the manners and gestures associated with these parts remain the same, that the new and the old rite can have the same merit in respect to these. Yet most of the parts that remained the same in the new rite (here we are thinking at least about the Latin versions of the prayers) had the gestures changed from the old rite. The Gloria in the old rite contains gestures that were dropped in the new rite, and the Gloria is not said facing God externally since the prayer is not said oriented. The first Eucharistic canon, which is in large part taken from the canon in the old rite, has had a vast majority of its gestures stripped away. These gestures constitute an additional merit, such as the gestures of the signs of the Cross made over the oblata and things of this kind.

The new rite, as a form of prayer, is hard to pray mentally since there are more things said out loud, and the general tenor of Vatican documents on the subject encourages a form of active participation that requires more things occurring on the side of the laity. The old Mass, since it is less activist on the side of the laity, tends to make it easier for them to pray the Mass. While the old rite stresses a more interior active participation, the new rite, with a lack of periods of silence as exist in the old rite, makes the ritual less meditative. In fact, the periods of meditation in the new rite are somewhat artificial and are not integral to the ritual as such but serve to stop the ritual rather than being a part of it. In other words, the priest stops the rite so the people can meditate, rather than having the people meditate while the ritual is in progress, as is the case in the old rite. As a result, in the new rite it is harder for people to lift their minds and hearts to God. The requirement of attention as part of prayer is more difficult and so, in that respect, the new rite is less meritorious than the old because God is more pleased with those things that easily draw us to Him.

We have already noted elsewhere (57) that the old rite fosters greater humility than the newer rituals. This means that the newer ritual as a prayer has less of one of the conditions that make prayer efficacious. In this respect the old rite is more meritorious than the new. We have also mentioned elsewhere (58) that the old rite manifests the Faith more clearly. In this respect the old rite is more meritorious than the new, since prayer has an efficacy based upon how the Faith is manifested in the prayer itself. In connection to the clarity of faith, we have also seen (59) that the old rite is more beautiful than the new. The more beautiful a thing is, the more it pleases God. The more beautiful it is, the greater glory it gives to God. Because the old rite is more beautiful than the new, it is more meritorious than the new. In effect, the prayers of the old rite of Mass better express the desires and intentions of an authentic Catholic faith, since they contain the faith in a clearer fashion. The prayers of the old rite of Mass foster a greater sense of our unworthiness and need for humility and sorrow for our sins. The prayers are more ordered toward God and suit Him better since they contain a proper supernatural dimension.


It is safe to say that, objectively speaking, with respect to the ritual itself the old rite of Mass has an ability to merit more than the new rite of Mass. While this merit is accidental, since the essential or intrinsic merit of the Mass, which is the Sacrifice of Christ, is the same in both rites, it is nevertheless something serious. Since the faithful are the beneficiaries of the fruits derived from this aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we have a grave obligation to consider the impact that this factor may be having on the life of the Church. While it is not our intention to denigrate the new rite, we must recognize that the ritual of Mass used in the old rite is more meritorious and therefore more beneficial for the people who assist at it and for the priests who offer it."

For the full reading of Fr. Ripperger's article, click on"Merit of A Mass."