by Bishop Richard Williamson:
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.
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.
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:
press not hard upon these bones
rise, they are too weary now
nothing will stop them later."
+ Richard Williamson.
A Twentieth Century Testimony
Fireside Chats (Angelus Press)
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 ...to 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.
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...