I read an article talking about operagoers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it says:
“Society goes to the opera to see and be seen,” an American proclaimed. “It goes to exchange gossip, to chatter about the things of the day, to criticise a fashion, or a book, or a new preacher.” Rarely, however, did the operagoers pay much attention to the action on the stage.
Does "preacher" here refer to a person whose occupation is to preach the gospel, such as a pastor or minister? 'Cause I can see why people would criticise a fashion or a book in their conversations, but why whould they especially criticise a preacher?