Lent Madness: Richard Hooker vs. Clement of Rome

This is an intriguing matchup. I’ll be interested to see if the Anglicans or Romans carry the day. In recent action, John the Baptist decisively defeated Martin of Tours 58% to 41% and will move on to face Aelred in the next round. Here’s the latest updated tournament bracket: Lent Madness 2010

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was an Anglican priest and theologian who helped shape Anglicanism as we know it. After studying at Corpus Christi College in Oxford, Hooker was ordained priest in 1579. After a brief time as rector of a church in Buckinghamshire, Queen Elizabeth I appointed him rector of Temple Church in London. He subsequently served as subdean of Salisbury Cathedral.

But it is for his writing that Hooker is best known and his influence on Anglican theology is still felt today. “Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity” included his exposition of Anglicanism as the Via Media (the middle way) between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. It was also one of the very first great works of theology written in English.

Hooker is also credited with positing Anglicanism’s famous “Three-Legged Stool” of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. He died in 1600 while serving as rector of St. Mary’s in Bishopbourne in Kent.

A Collect for Richard Hooker: O God of truth and peace, who raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Clement of Rome is counted as the third bishop of Rome after the apostles. We know nothing about his two predecessors beyond their names. But we have several important documents written by Clement including two letters he wrote to the church in Corinth.

“The Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians” is usually referred to as I Clement and dated 96 AD. The letter was written because a group of Christians at Corinth had had deposed their leaders. Clement scolds them and reminds them of the importance of Christian unity and love. He speaks about the roles of leaders in the church and the letter offers key insights into the early Christian understanding of Church government.

According to legend, Clement was martyred when he was tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. Many depictions of the saint therefore include the symbol of the anchor.

A Collect for Clement of Rome: Almighty God, who chose your servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability: Grant that your Church may be grounded and settled in your truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



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