posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 01:54 PM
As far as operative (bricklaying) masons "dying on the vine" because of the end of the cathedral era, nothing could be further from the truth.
The renaisance brought a rennaisance in building, as well. I would argue that there was a great deal MORE building going on; just more secular
The forces that brought about the Reformation were complex, and the seeds were actually planted in the 14th century.
Groups like the Beguines sought their own spirituality, independent of church heirarchy, and wound up being brutally repressed. This left a powerful
image in the public mind.
The british Isles, in part due to their isolation, had always been a hotbed of religious innovations. Groups like the Lollards and leaders like
Tynndale tried to translate the Bible into the language of the people, despite the ban from the church.
The philosophy of Thomas Aquinas ultimately contributed to the Reformation, even though he is a catholic saint. The scholastics' interest in pagan
Greece and Rome, as well as their inquiries into the text of the vulgate, would ultimately be fuel to the fire of the reformation. The university of
Paris, where Aquinas taught, was a leader in the philosophic movement that led to the Reformation, without being "masonic" in the least.
IF the masons flourished during the reformation, so did the Dominicans and Jesuits.
Ultimately, the Reformation happened in 1515 instead of 1315 because by 1500 the German church had been so alienated from Rome that princes were
eager for a reason to re-establish the national churches of the Carolingian period.
The reformation has less to do with freemasonry than it does with Frederick Barbarossa's (and the Holy Roman Empire's) humiliation at the hands of
the Pope. The split between The "Holy Roman Empire" and the Lombards/Vatican sewed the political seeds for Reformation.