Waugh Anniversary Observed in Canada

A Canadian paper, the National Post, commemorates the 50th anniversary of Evelyn Waugh’s death with an article by a Roman Catholic priest who teaches at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. This is Fr. Raymond de Souza. The article opens with a recognition of Waugh as 

…the perfect patron saint… for those who love the English language, the Catholic faith and practise journalism, save for the fact that [because] he was such an unpleasant person he would never be canonized.

Fr. de Souza’s favorites among Waugh’s books are not the usual selections of Brideshead Revisited and Sword of Honour. He would instead choose what he describes as Waugh’s 

historical novels of two saints, Edmund Campion, about the Jesuit martyr under Elizabeth I, and Helena, about the mother of Emperor Constantine.

Recognizing that his taste might represent a minority view, Fr. de Souza thinks Waugh’s book having the greatest relevance in today’s world is Scoop:

The satire highlights the sordid side of Fleet Street and the sensational culture of the competitive press. To “feed the beast” — the insatiable need of the modern media for what we now call “content” — provided the impetus for the title of the fictional tabloid.

That tabloid is of course Lord Copper’s Daily Beast, now the name of an internet tabloid. Fr. de Souza concludes his article:

Waugh died at only 62, so it is possible to imagine him living long enough to see the early Internet and cable news. Better that he died when he did; it might have distressed him more than liturgical reform.


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