1529 - Henry VIII nationalizes the church

    Henry VIII's marriage crisis (with Catherine of Aragon, the sister of Emperor Charles V) led to his seizure of the church and a formal break with the pope.  This liberated English society from theocratic dogma as the overriding social force and "liberated English dreams of empire from the narrow aims of religion in order to aspire to the creation of a new source of wealth in the world trading system."  The secularization of English society produced the first 'modern state'.

Catherine Of Aragon

  Catherine of Aragon, a pawn in the political battle between King Henry VIII and the papacy, paid for her innocence with her head.

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      Commercial activity in urban centers of Reformation Europe emerged fully formed out of the bold acquisitiveness of the merchant classes.  The idea that you could improve your life through the acquisition of wealth was a revolutionary idea with purely secular origins.  If we produce more, we are likely to eat better, be happier, and enjoy more security against the ravages of poverty.   And if the accumulation of wealth turned out to be the point of life, then the teachings of the medieval church was nonsense. 

      Legal historians point out that this shift in thinking was socially cataclysmic.  If the secular world of finance and commercialism was to supplant the theocratic one of papal bulls and converts, Aristotle's premise, that 'wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else," would have to go.  click here for more

      No line of thinking could have been more radical or revolutionary to the 16th century European.