Some notes for an upcoming research project on the Anglo-Catholic Socialist movement. 

In a London Review of Books article, Terry Eagleton nicely summarizes the Anglo-Catholic Socialist critique of the Oxford movement:

Most other Victorian sages from Carlyle to Morris were keenly engaged with the Condition of England question, appalled by the predatory nature of industrial capitalism and unsparing in their moral denunciations of it. With Newman, by contrast, we find a mind loftily aloof from Chartism, bread riots and the Factory Acts, more preoccupied with the Arian heresy of the fourth century than with typhoid epidemics in English slums.

And as F.D. Maurice keenly observed about the Oxford Movement as a whole, “their error, I think, consists in opposing to the spirit of this present age, the spirit of a former age, instead of the ever-living and active Spirit of God” (quoted in Ramsey, 36).

In the eyes of the Anglo-Catholic Socialists, the Tractarians suffered from a severe bout of abstract theology. What they failed to emphasize was the sense that if Christ is lord of all, if the bread and the wine bind us to the commonalty of Christ, then church must take on a distinct political role: not only in combating the encroachment of the liberal state, as Pusey surely did, but in challenging the ascendancy of the capitalist economy.