When the Roman Empire fell in A.D. 476, the political instability that followed scrambled the stability of the Western World. For the first time in one thousand years, the widespread and disparate elements of Europe and North Africa were not under the rule of one master. The ensuing political infighting which threatened the life and well-being of former Roman citizens drew the diverse elements of the Fallen Empire to seek whatever protection, any sense of normalcy that they could find.
The political order crumbled slowly, then cascaded into oblivious. The ecclesiastical authorities, which had risen to prominence during the reign of Constantine, remained intact. Where politicians had fled, failed, or died, the local priests, bishops, and higher ranking religious authorities remained in power. When markets collapses, when law and orders seemed swept away never to return, the mass, the sacraments, the holy rites of the church, the learning of the Church Fathers, remained.
From the disastrous milieu of political anarchy and cultural apostasy rose the Roman Catholic Mass, a series of rituals and procedures which affirmed the identity of the Roman Citizen who no longer had a Rome to pay allegiance to. The ceremonies of the Catholic Church had their place in a world which was falling away, in a world where ignorance and superstition threatened the established learning of the ages, where barbarians uprooted and upended the decayed political and legal traditions of Cicero and Caesar.
So, the traditions intact for a thousand years never changed. Tradition has its place in a world that has shifted from stability to anarchy; when learning reemerges, when civil order returns, then man has nothing to fear from question or renewing his values and vows against tried and tired traditions. Men and women who seek to connect with something lasting must looking beyond procedures and processes. which in their time were necessary, but have long since lost touch with the essential mysteries of faith and Spiritual Growth:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the
tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2: 8)
No matter how old or revered the traditions of men, they are still traditions, and they do not compare to the eternal truth, which is Jesus Christ.