Malcolm Muggeridge, who died on November 14 at the age of 87, was famous as a journalist and radio and television personality. In the early 1930s, he was one of the few newspaper correspondents in Russia who did not tell lies about the starvation then occurring. While Walter Durranty of the New York Times was flattering the regime by telling lies about abundant harvests, Muggeridge was writing columns describing Stalin’s policy of deliberate creation of famine in the Ukraine. For telling the truth, he lost his job with the Manchester Guardian.
For four years in the 1950s, he was editor of Punch, the famous British humor magazine. About this period he wrote, “Life, as I discovered, holds no more wretched occupation than trying to make the English laugh.” He caused a great deal of stir during his editorship by writing an article (for an American magazine) which was interpreted as an attack on the Queen.
In 1982, at the age of 79, he became a Roman Catholic, partly out of admiration for Mother Teresa, whom he visited in Calcutta and showed in a series of programs dealing with religious topics. Well before this, he had demonstrated his strong pro-life views by participating in an Ottawa pro-life rally in 1976. He was strongly against contraception, pornography and divorce.
He was a very readable writer, well known for his apt and witty aphorisms. Each of his readers is bound to have one or more favorite books – a brilliant chronicle of the period before the Second World War, The Thirties; his two-volume autobiography, Chronicles of Wasted Time; and the various other books written after his conversion testifying to the depth of his religious feeling and the strong impact made on him by figures like Mother Teresa and great saints of the past.
Both his son John and his daughter-in-law, Anne Roche-Muggeridge, who live in Welland, Ontario, are well-known writers on religious subjects as well, Anne especially for her book, The Desolate City, a discussion of the state of the Catholic Church today.