Religion: Burying the Bitterness

When Martin Luther laid the cornerstone of the Reformation 456 years ago, the object of his bitterest invective was the Pope. Last week, as part of a continuing ecumenical study on doctrinal problems dividing Lutherans and Roman Catholics, a commission of 13 Catholic and 13 Lutheran theologians issued a remarkable statement. The issue of papal primacy, they said, "need not be a barrier to reconciliation" of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches.

The doctrinal discussions, begun in 1965 under the auspices of U.S. Catholic bishops and the three major Lutheran denominations in the U.S., have already reached broad areas of agreement on...

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