statement, responding to the joint statements of four evangelical groupings in the CofI, rightly urges a "reasoned discussion" characterised by "mutual generosity and grace". As such, Changing Attitude Ireland should be thanked for reminding us of the need to ensure that theological debate is not conformed to the norms of partisan, politicised discourse.
Mindful of the present debate in the CofI, Changing Attitude Ireland invokes an understanding of Anglican diversity:
In the Church of Ireland, we have always lived with profound differences in our understanding of issues of significant theological weight, such as the nature of God’s revelation in Holy Scripture and our understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Theological diversity is, as Changing Attitude Ireland states, a fact within Irish Anglicanism: such pluralism is, of course, not unique to Anglicanism. But the two examples set forward by Changing Attitude Ireland - our theological understandings of Scripture in relation to revelation, and eucharistic doctrine - do raise significant questions.
While there are diverse approaches to understanding God's revelation in Scripture and eucharistic doctrine, Church of Ireland communities share common practices regarding both. Irrespective of how we think the Triune God's revelation is related to Scripture, we read Scripture together in the offices and the eucharist, saying of Scripture "This is the word of the Lord". Irrespective of how we think Christ is present and active in the holy eucharist, we affirm that he is in our authorised eucharistic liturgies: "The body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for you ..."
Our theological pluralism is, therefore, within the context of shared practices as a Church. We can go further: our theological pluralism is secondary to our shared practices. Some may consider that there is no theological objection to lay or diaconal presidency. Some may consider that there is no theological objection to infants receiving the eucharist. But the requirements of the Church of Ireland's common life mean that such theological reasoning is secondary to our shared practices of episcopal ordination being required to preside at the eucharist and confirmation before Holy Communion being the norm.
It is, of course, possible that shared practices may be reformed as the Church reflects in the light of Scripture and Tradition. But such reform flows from the Church's corporate reflection and discernment - diocesan, provincial and Communion-wide. Until such reflection and discernment is undertaken, shared practices must be respected and upheld for the sake of communion.
Leaving aside the responsibilities placed upon us as a Church in communion with Anglicans across the globe, leaving aside consideration of the need for our theological reasoning to have doctrinal reference to the Articles and the BCP, Changing Attitude Ireland's reference to Scripture and the eucharist actually militates against diversity of practice. Shared practices trump theological diversity. This is what it means for the Church to be communion.