Short Biographies

Malcolm Muggeridge

Appreciation by Bishop Richard Williamson:

"So Malcolm Muggeridge has died, at the venerable age of 87.  He was a famous journalist and broadcaster in the English-speaking world, but especially in his own country, England, and in his later years he converted to Catholicism.  Countless souls seeking God owe him a great deal.  I was one of them.  Dear Malcolm! - "God rest him all road ever he offended."

'When I returned to England in 1965 after two years in Africa, and, school-mastering in London, found the school-boys, like their country, ravaged by, notably, four unworthy mop-heads known as the Beatles, I looked around for a voice of sanity, or representative of worth, and standing out in his articulate, amusing but relentless condemnation of our worthless twentieth century, leaving it no chance of appeal, was Malcolm Muggeridge.

'With crafted clauses and crafty glee, his articles that I would read went for the tin gods of Liberalism, and without mercy or malice tore them to pieces.  Poor Liberals accused Malcolm of being 'negative', of being 'destructive' - you know the whole silly line! - but for anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear there was more to him than that.  Firstly, someone who has nothing to say does not usually bother with style or craftsmanship to say it, but Malcolm always has style and he was a craftsman with the English language.

'And then secondly, behind all the impish mockery and iconoclasm there ran a coherent sense of there being some real values by which all the posturing poltroons who betrayed them stood condemned.  Accordingly, although he was not a Catholic at the time, nor even, as I recall, professed himself to be a Christian, he attracted a large number of implicit and explicit believers who had nobody else to defend their minds and souls against the great lie of Liberalism with which their official leaders were, to a man, more or less going along.

'So one day I got on a bicycle and rode over to his cottage in Robertsbridge, Sussex, to see him.  I cannot remember whether I had announced my (completely unimportant) visit beforehand or not.  In any case he and his wife Kitty received me very kindly, sat me down to lunch, and we talked, and he listened, and he essentially understood everything that 'my dear boy' had to say about the woes of teaching abandoned youth in mid-20th century London.

'I have fond memories of maybe half a dozen such visits to Malcolm and Kitty over the next few years.  I am in so way boasting that I was a special friend of theirs, only that Malcolm was a good friend to me, a friend in need as I have no doubt he was to hundreds, maybe thousands, of spiritual derelicts of the 20th century who made as I did the pilgrimage to the Sage of Park Cottage.

'How good God is!  I think had Malcolm been a fully-fledged Roman Catholic at the time, I might not have gone near him.  As it was, with his sharp and independent mind which had gone right into left-wingery and come out the other side, with his total refusal to buy into the 20th century illusions, and with his wisdom and goodness of heart manifested in his ready ear and warm hospitality, he greatly helped me towards the time when I left London and went ahead of him into the Catholic Church.

"Ah, my dear boy, so now you are a full card-carrying member," was his greeting to me as I next visited him in the South of France, as though I had done something like joining the Communist Party!  But I can remember how I went with them to a local Mass, something he told me that he and Kitty did every day, and how they sat at the back... Malcolm said the mere idea of receiving Communion was something still alien to him... yet the reverence with which he attended the Mass, how describe it?  This white-haired man withdrawn to the rear of the dark church, with his life's companion beside him and with years of life and of life's battles behind him, several decades of striving and questioning, all dropped into silent homage before the great Mystery in which he sensed, but could not yet discern, the Answer.... And we would emerge into the daylight, and the 20th century would pick up again with coffee and breakfast and banter.

'So it was no great surprise when maybe some ten years later he and Kitty entered the Church.  Deo gratias.  However, Catholic readers of his several autobiographical books might be surprised for instance by his un-Catholic choice of heroes, with exceptions like of course of the great St. Augustine whom he loved.  Alas, I never met Malcolm again after he became a Catholic, so I cannot be sure of how he evolved, but I suspect that he came into the Church by his heart, drawn especially by the example of, and contact with, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, while a certain part of his head remained outside, with the existentialists and their progenitors.  But let such readers be assured that a large part of Malcolm's head was Catholic - how many Catholic rectors of a prestigious university would step down, as he did, years before be became a Catholic, in protest at contraceptives being made available on the campus?  He believed with complete sincerity in so  much of what many 'Catholics' had quite simply abandoned.  In any case, he was a beacon in the darkness to many of the spiritual waifs of our time like myself.  Dear Malcolm, thank you, and good bye!  Readers, say a prayer for Malcolm's soul and for Kitty whom he had left behind: 

"Earth, press not hard upon these bones

of Malcolm, humbug-hater,

To rise, they are too weary now

And nothing will stop them later."

                                                                                      +  Richard Williamson. 1.12.90

Specially recommended:-  A Twentieth Century Testimony

Further readings:-              Fireside Chats     (Angelus Press)

By Kitty Muggeridge -     Gazing Upon Truth

                Kitty and Malcolm were received together into the Catholic Church, and  both had extensive writing experience, reporting from around the world and appearing on television and in the major newspapers. "From the very beginning of my life", he once wrote, "I never doubted that words were my 'metier'. There was nothing else I ever wanted to do except use them; no other accomplishment or achievement I ever had the slightest regard for, or desire to emulate. I have always loved words, and still love them, for their own sake. For the power and beauty of them; for the wonderful things that can be done with them." In a conference given in Westminster hall Mr. Muggeridge  compared his own vilification by liberal media to similar treatment from certain quarters towards Archbishop Lefebvre. Two quotations of his in particular are memorable, both from the days before his final conversion and reception into the One True Faith:  "Whereas  non-Catholics were never formerly left in any doubt about the uniqueness and the authority of Roman Catholocism, the present ecumenical delirium  gives one the distinct impression that the Christian denominations are indifferently falling over one another, like  so many drunks supporting each other keep from tripping over the track they are stumbling  their way home by,"  and "Short of showing Shakespeare round Stratford on Avon, I would dearly love to show Jesus Christ round the Vatican".

                He and his wife are remembered by grateful Eastern Europeans as the first journalists to explode the myth of Stalin's Soviet paradise of workers  in the first half of this century and to alert world attention to the plight of millions who starved to death in the under the Five-Year Plan. Malcolm pre-deceased  his wife by four years. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

                “The Goldfish Bowl”; this Profile is the text of a lecture in Belfast and Dublin given (1984) by the biographer of Archbishop M. Lefebvre, author and apologist  Michael Davies. This Welshman, holding an Honours Degree from London University and a teaching diploma from St. Mary’s College, Twickenham, has been a teacher for the last twenty-five years in Catholic schools.

Besides this, he has written many articles for Catholic periodicals throughout the English speaking world and is the author of a number of successful pamphlets. Finally, he has written some full-length books such as Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebre now running into several volumes, the three-volume series on Liturgical Revolution, and a splendid account of St. Pius X’s fight against the modernists of the last century - and the lessons for us today- entitled Partisans of Error. His work has been translated into many languages, not excluding Welsh, of course...  

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