Few issues in the Reformation provoked so much controversy—or spilled so much blood—as debates over the Eucharist. For the Roman Catholic Church, the doctrine of transubstantiation was not merely based in Scripture and rooted in tradition and official church teaching; it was the keystone of the whole sacramental system through which the Church claimed spiritual authority as the mediator of salvation, and for ordinary believers, was the focal point of sincere, though often superstitious, devotion. For many Protestants, however, it was an absurdity contrary to both reason and sound theology, and obscured the central role of faith in receiving Christ and His benefits.
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