There have been deaths from the Catholic/Protestant divide. Then, Catholics adopted most of the reforms Luther wanted. Now, branches of both see the need to move closer. The Pope and some Protestants have held meetings.
Overtures have been made many times in the past. Then things got more conservative and they fell apart. In recent history, former Pope Benedict went out of his way to declare Catholicism the “true faith” in Christendom. The Klu Klux Klan thought of Catholics as terrible as black people.
Now, the economic reach of both Catholics and Protestants has stopped expanding. In many ways it is slowly retracting. Warring factions within the faith is seen as a problem.
Just how far can this make nice go? My ability to understand this is limited. But it’s fun to speculate nevertheless.
It’s difficult to change the doctrines or bureaucracies. Ignoring doctrine, however, is easy. Every branch has a surplus of theology. It’s always possible to leave some behind and move on. This practice started with Paul who decided to leave behind circumcision. There was plenty of theology left so it didn’t matter to him.
The courtship involves the liberal branch of Lutheranism which allows women to be ordained. As the Catholics and Lutherans work more closely together Catholics may have to recognize the legitimacy of these women. Maybe the Catholic church could open its theology by admitting no one who wrote the Bible actually met a man called “Peter”.
That opens the possibility of a Petunia.