What kind of reputation did Hooper have as a preacher?
I assume you are referring to Hooper's reputation prior to wearing the veil. His parishioners are shocked when Hooper puts on the veil because up to that point, he has been a conservative, ordinary minister, one that the congregation could respect. He behaved the way he was supposed to as a minister, concerned with the welfare of his parishioners and open to their advice. It's ironic that after donning the veil, Hooper seems to become a better minister, delivering more intense sermons.