Richard Hooker, Anglican Apologist

3 November -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Born in Heavitree in Exeter in about 1554, Richard Hooker came under the influence of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, in his formative years and through that influence went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a fellow. He was ordained and then married, becoming a parish priest and, in 1585, Master of the Temple in London. Richard became one of the strongest advocates of the position of the Church of England and defended its 'middle way' between puritanism and papalism. Perhaps his greatest work was Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity which he wrote as the result of engaging in controversial debates. He showed Anglicanism as rooted firmly in Scripture as well as tradition, affirming its continuity with the pre-Reformation Ecclesia Anglicana, but now both catholic and reformed. Richard became a parish priest again near Canterbury and died there on this day in the year 1600.


God of peace, the bond of all love,
who in your Son Jesus Christ have made the human race
   your inseparable dwelling place:
after the example of your servant Richard Hooker,
give grace to us your servants ever to rejoice
   in the true inheritance of your adopted children
and to show forth your praises now and ever;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Ecclesiasticus.

These also were godly men, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their wealth will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance with their children's children. Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake. Their offspring will continue forever, and their glory will never be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name lives on generation after generation. The assembly declares their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ecclesiasticus 44. 10-15

Responsorial Psalm

RThe assembly declares the wisdom of the godly
[and the congregation proclaims their praise].
O how I love your law!
all the day long it is in my mind.
Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies,
and it is always with me. R

I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my study.
I am wiser than the elders,
because I observe your commandments. R

I restrain my feet from every evil way,
that I may keep your word.
I do not shrink from your judgements,
because you yourself have taught me. R

How sweet are your words to my taste!
they are sweeter than honey to my mouth.
Through your commandments I gain understanding;
therefore I hate every lying way. R         From Psalm 119

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy.

Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Timothy 2. 22-25

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Jesus said to his disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 16. 12-15

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Richard Hooker
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.