Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) like so many great Catholic converts of the 20th century experienced a fascinating pilgrimage from agnostic Communist sympathizer in his youth to later champion of conservatism and critic of decadent liberalism. Muggeridge’s early career consisted of several years as a teacher in India and several more as a journalist in Russia and India. Volunteering for service in World War II, he advanced to the rank of Major and won the French military award of the Croix de Guerre. By this time he had entirely lost his agnostic and Communist sympathies. For the rest of his life he became, like Socrates, the perennial Gadfly of  Modernity. He was a roving journalist who, with the satirical tip of his pen, struck at all things dumb and despicable. William F. Buckley Jr. deftly summed up Muggeridge’s approach to most religious matters by saying: “When he turned against the devil, the devil was outnumbered.”

At the age of 79, after several decades of embracing Anglicanism, Muggeridge came under the profound influence of Mother Teresa, after which he and his wife Kitty were received into the Catholic Church. An insightful, eloquent, and humorous writer in the tradition of fellow British pundits Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, Muggeridge’s writing style is reminiscent of theirs, as the following passage shows. “One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.” In 1988, two years before his death, Muggeridge published Conversion: The Spiritual Journey of a Twentieth Century Pilgrim. In its Introduction Muggeridge recalls the day of his baptism and confirmation as filled with “a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”

Muggeridge as student

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