It's almost 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the door in Wittenburg which began the process of reformation. The advantage of his reformation over the Wycliffe one, or the Huss one was the invention of the printing press. Within two weeks the whole of Northern Europe had printed copies of Luther's protest. Thus began the necessary break from the Roman Church.
However the Roman Church in 1517 was very different than the Roman Catholic Church of today.
Over the last week I have been at two different churches, from two different denominations were both speakers have spoken approvingly of the relationship between themselves and the Roman Church, both affirming that the Roman Catholic Church has changed.
It has changed in 1517 it hadn't approved the Immaculate Conception and sinlessness of Mary, this didn't come until the C19th. In the same Century the Roman Catholic Church dogmatically asserted Papal Authority. More than these though it wasn't until the Counter Reformation that the Catholic Church anathematised Sola Fide and in many respects placed an anathema on the Catholic System itself. This is from the Counter Reformation:
CANON 9: "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.
As Martin Luther rightly said, the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone is the Doctrine by which a Church stands or falls.
It's seems Protestants have also changed, at the Reformation, Ad fontes was important- 2back to the sources" was one of the cries- back to the text of scripture, what does the Bible say. Martin Luther again said, 'unless I am convinced by scripture and sound reason- I do not accept the authority of the Popes or councils for they have contradicted each other, my conscience remains captive to the word of God.'
However at one of these meetings a speaker informed the gathering that Catholics and Protestants agree because they share a common experience in the Charismatic renewal, which has affected both Protestants and Catholics despite the vast difference in doctrine held by them both. It seems that now experience validates experience rather than being tested by the Scriptures themselves. As well as that the Catholic Church has changed because Catholics embrace the Alpha Course. However if you read Chris Hand's Alpha course, Falling Short or examined the material for you will find that rather than Alpha being a Protestant course it is very ambiguous on Sola Fide, presenting Justification as a work of Faith. Of course Rome is ok with that, but add the word Alone and then there is an issue.
One of the big differences between Rome and Evangelicals centres around their different understanding of how one is saved. Evangelicals affirm that the way to heaven is only through Christ's atoning sacrifice, when the sinner repents of their sins, like the thief on the cross they are assured that 'you will be with me in paradise'. Rome however has several steps, baptismal regeneration, extreme unction and even then purgatory maybe for eons and eons, to complete the work of atonement for that one person, the work of the Cross is not enough. Jesus' cry from the Cross, it is accomplished is done away as works are added to the completed work of Christ.
If we don't agree on the Gospel we cannot have a relationship where we treat them as fellow believers. The Reformation was necessary and in many ways is still necessary.