Religion: Retracing the Reformation

Catholic and Lutheran theologians agree on a key doctrinal issue

In the distant past, theological disputes between Protestants and Roman Catholics were, quite literally, matters of life and death. Tens of thousands of people died during the devastating religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. Sharp differences remain on some basic points of doctrine, but in recent years the churches have been working quietly to resolve these old dogmatic quarrels. Last week a panel of 20 Lutheran and Catholic theologians, meeting in Milwaukee, announced that they had reached essential agreement on the meaning of "justification," one of the key issues of...

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