The Conservatism of Radicalism

The radical opposes both secular and modernist tendencies.  He sees tradition as something valuable in itself, because it is a form of life; but also he sees it as in constant change.  His task is to understand the inner direction of this process in history and to commit himself to it.  Radicalism grounds itself upon a profound conservatism, and sees the old position essentially as the springboard from which a new leap into the future can and must be taken.

Modernism and secularism cannot accommodate or envisage the future because they cannot comprehend either the value or the obsolescence of the past.  They are trapped in a morass of contemporaneity from which they struggle to escape by a constant putting forth of piecemeal solutions and administrative decisions.  This fumbling struggle is commonly lauded as a praiseworthy empiricism and a freedom from ideology.  It is this struggle which has engulfed the energies and engaged the minds of both political and ecclesiastical thinkers in Britain more or less completely for the last twenty years.  Efficiency, productivity, incomes regulation, and the sophistication of incentives have become the political ideals: while decentralisation, vernacularisation, and administrative reorganisation have become the official pursuits of the church. (129-130)

Brian Wicker | The “Slant” Manifesto: Catholics and the Left


Church and Politics

If the church’s raison d’etre is to be the sacrament of the universal brotherhood of mankind, then clearly it cannot be concerned with special Christian interests (catholic schools, the “position of influence” afforded by establishment status, the “preservation of moral standards”, etc.), but only with the true interests of all mankind.  But — still more important to emphasise, because less generally admitted — if the church as liturgical community is not only the sign of this eschatological brotherhood, but the present means through which that brotherhood should eventually be achieved, then equally clearly it cannot avoid being committed to those political movements in the world which are working towards brotherhood, and against those which are working against it.  In other words, Christianity is, in very essence, about politics, and not about religion — about this world, and no other. (169-170)

Brian Wicker | The “Slant” Manifesto: Catholics and the Left

A Good Question

…can we, as Christians living in the capitalist society of today, give any concrete meaning to our professed belief in the radical and far-reaching nature of the fall, and in the equally radical nature of Christ’s redemption of mankind from the fall-situation, unless it be in terms — at least partially — of Marxian alienation and emancipation? (164)

Brian Wicker | The “Slant” Manifesto: Catholics and the Left

The Sacrament of Socialism

…at this time, and in our situation, only the idea of a socialist society can give content and meaning to the Christian belief in the coming kingdom which Christ will establish at his return; and the main purpose of the church today is, by making present the eucharistic community of believers to society as a whole, to constitute the sacrament of this socialist society — the sacrament of community in the fullest, most profoundly human, most developed manner that we can yet conceive. (151)

Brian Wicker | The “Slant” Manifesto: Catholics and the Left