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Elevation of the Host

The 'host' was the consecrated bread which Catholics believed to be the sacrament or the body of Christ. By the fifteenth century it was common to elevate the host for adoration during the Eucharist. The acceptance of 'communion of the eyes' (which permitted the sick who could not swallow it, yet to gaze upon it and receive grace) reinforced this emphasis on 'viewing' the host. The host was regarded not only as a passive object to be worshipped, but also as an active object which worked wonders. There was much controversy within Catholicism concerning such teachings; the Protestants declared them anathema.