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Richard Smith

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Bishop of Chalcedon, second Vicar Apostolic of England; b. at Hanworth, Lincolnshire, Nov., 1568 (not 1566 as commonly stated); d. at Paris, 18 March, 1655. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he became a Catholic. He was admitted to the English College, Rome, in 1586, studied under Bellarmine, and was ordained priest 7 May 1592. In Feb., 1593, he arrived at Valladolid, where he took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and taught philosophy at the English College till 1598, when he went to Seville as a professor of controversies. In 1603 he went on the English mission, where he made his mark as a missioner. Chosen to represent the case of the secular clergy in the archpriest controversy, he went to Rome, where he opposed Persons, who said of him: "I never dealt with any man in my life more heady and resolute in his opinions". In 1613 he became superior of the small body of English secular priests at Arras College, Paris, who devoted themselves to controversial work. In 1625 he was elected to succeed Dr. Bishop as vicar Apostolic, but the date usually assigned for his consecration as Bishop of Chalcedon (12 Jan., 1625) must be wrong, as he was not elected till 2 Jan. He arrived in England in April, of the same year, residing in Lord Montagu's house at Turvey, Bedfordshire. As vicar Apostolic he came into conflict with the regulars, claiming the rights of an ordinary, but Urban VIII decided (16 Dec., 1627) that he was not an ordinary. In 1628 the Government issued a proclamation for his arrest, and in 1631 he withdrew to Paris, where he lived with Richelieu till the cardinal's death in 1642; then he retired to the convent of the English Augustinian nuns, where he died.

He wrote: "An answer to T. Bel's late Challenge" (1605); "The Prudentiall Ballance of Religion", (1609); "Vita Dominae Magdalenae Montis-Acuti" i.e., Viscountess Montagu (1609); "De auctore et essentia Protestanticae Religionis" (1619), English translation, 1621; "Collatio doctrinae Catholicorum et Protestantium" (1622), tr. (1631); "Of the distinction of fundamental and not fundamental points of faith" (1645); "Monita quaedam utilia pro Sacerdotibus, Seminaristis, Missionariis Angliae" (1647); "A Treatise of the best kinde of Confessors" (1651); "Of the all-sufficient Eternal Proposer of Matters of Faith" (1653); "Florum Historiae Ecclesiasticae gentis Anglorum libri septem" (1654). Many unpublished documents relating to his troubled episcopate (an impartial history of which yet remains to be written) are preserved in the Westminster Diocesan Archives.


DODD, Church History, III (Brussels vere Wolverhampton, 1737-1742) the account from which most subsequent biographies were derived. See also Tierney's edition of Dodd for further documents; BERINGTON, Memoirs of Panzani (London, 1793); Calendar State Papers: Dom., 1625-1631; BUTLER, Historical Memoirs of English Catholics (London, 1819); SERGEANT, Account of the English Chapter (London, 1853); FULLERTON, Life of Luisa de Carvajal (London, 1873); FOLEY, Records Eng. Prov. S. J., VI (London, 1880); BRADY, Episcopal Succession, III (Rome, 1877), a confused and self-contradictory account with some new facts; ALGER in Dict. Nat. Biog.; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath.; CEDOZ, Couvent de Religieuses Anglaises a Paris (Paris, 1891); Third Douay Diary, C.R.S. Publications, X (London, 1911).

About this page

APA citation. Burton, E. (1912). Richard Smith. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Burton, Edwin. "Richard Smith." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the Memory of Bishop Richard Smith.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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