The Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue in the U.S. has been particularly productive and impressive in its output. One of its best works is the collection The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, which examines this obvious point of dispute between the two churches with a common statement as well as a number of supporting papers by prominent theologians from both sides.
After carefully sorting through the history and the disputes, the common statements asks where the divergences between us need to be church-dividing:
“The goal of ecumenical dialogue is not to eliminate all differences, but to make certain that the remaining differences are consonant with a fundamental consensus in the apostolic faith and therefore legitimate or at least tolerable. Reconciliation is a process admitting of many degrees, leading up to full fellowship in faith, in sacramental worship, and in a structured ecclesial life” (§90).
It then goes on to discuss remaining differences on the term “saint,” the intercession of the saints, the invocation of the saints, and marian doctrine.
Finally there are some “church-uniting convergences” (§103):
“1. We reiterate the basic affirmation that ‘our entire hope of justification and salvation rests on Christ Jesus and the gospel whereby the good news of God’s merciful action in Christ is made known; we do not place our trust in anything other than God’s promise and saving work in Christ.’
“2. We now further assert together that Jesus Christ is the sole Mediator in God’s plan of salvation (I Tim. 2:5). Christ’s saving work and role in God’s design thus determine not only the content of the gospel and its communication but also all Christian life, including our own and that of Mary and the saints who are now in heaven…
“8. The term ‘saint’ is used in both our traditions for all those justified by the grace of Christ, and, to one degree or another, for certain individuals among them, marked by holiness, who live the life of faith in devotion toward God and love toward the neighbor in exemplary ways, calling forth praise to God…
“10. The fellowship of those sanctified, the ‘holy ones’ or saints, includes believers both living and dead. There is thus a solidarity of the church throughout the world with the church triumphant…
“13. In the fellowship of the living and departed saints, believers are inspired by others, as examples of God’s grace, to greater faith, to good works, and to thanksgiving for one another.
“14. Christians honor saints in at least three ways: by thanking God for them; by having faith strengthened as a result of the saints’ response to God’s grace; and by imitating in various situations their faith and other virtues.
“15. Among the saints who have played a role in God’s plan of salvation for humanity, Mary, who bore Christ, is in particular to be honored, as ‘God-bearer’ (theotokos) and as the pure, holy, and ‘most blessed Virgin’ (laudatissima virgo)…
“17. Saints on earth ask one another to pray to God for each other through Christ. They are neither commanded nor forbidden to ask departed saints to pray for them.
“18. Devotion to the saints and Mary should not be practiced in ways that detract from the ultimate trust that is to be placed in Christ alone as Mediator.”