Simony ( // ) is the act of selling church offices and roles or sacred things. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things".
The appointment of ecclesiastical officials, such as bishops and abbots, by a secular authority came to be considered simoniacal and this became a key issue during the Investiture Controversy.
The origin of the term "simony" is 8:9, 13,18–24:
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: ... Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done ... And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Thus, Simon's name came to be applied to the practice of selling church offices for money.
|Part of a series on the|
| Canon law of the|
Although an offense against canon law, simony became widespread in the Catholic Church in the 9th and 10th centuries.In the canon law, the word bears a more extended meaning than in English law. "Simony according to the canonists", says John Ayliffe in his Parergon ,
is defined to be a deliberate act or a premeditated will and desire of selling such things as are spiritual, or of anything annexed unto spirituals, by giving something of a temporal nature for the purchase thereof; or in other terms it is defined to be a commutation of a thing spiritual or annexed unto spirituals by giving something that is temporal.
In the Corpus Juris Canonici , the Decretum [ clarification needed ]and the Decretals of Gregory IX dealt with the subject. The offender whether simoniacus (the perpetrator of a simoniacal transaction) or simoniace promotus (the beneficiary of a simoniacal transaction), was liable to deprivation of his benefice and deposition from orders if a secular priest, or to confinement in a stricter monastery if a regular. No distinction seems to have been drawn between the sale of an immediate and of a reversionary interest. The innocent simoniace promotus was, apart from dispensation, liable to the same penalties as though he were guilty.
Certain matters were simoniacal by the canon law but would not be regarded as such in English law.So grave was the crime of simony considered that even infamous persons (deprived of citizens' rights due to conviction) could accuse another of it. English provincial and legatine constitutions continually assailed simony.
In 1494 a member of the Carmelite order, Adam of Genoa, was found murdered in his bed with twenty wounds after preaching against the practice of simony.
In the 14th century, Dante Alighieri depicted the punishment of many "clergymen, and popes and cardinals" in hell for being avaricious or miserly.
He also criticised certain popes and other simoniacs:
Rapacious ones, who take the things of God,
that ought to be the brides of Righteousness,
and make them fornicate for gold and silver!
The time has come to let the trumpet sound
for you; ...
|Corruption by country|
The Church of England struggled with the practice after its separation from Rome. For the purposes of English law, simony is defined by William Blackstone as "obtain[ing] orders, or a licence to preach, by money or corrupt practices"or, more narrowly, "the corrupt presentation of any one to an ecclesiastical benefice for gift or reward". While English law recognized simony as an offence, it treated it as merely an ecclesiastical matter, rather than a crime, for which the punishment was forfeiture of the office or any advantage from the offence and severance of any patronage relationship with the person who bestowed the office. Both Edward VI and Elizabeth I promulgated statutes against simony, in the latter case through the Simony Act 1588. The cases of Bishop of St. David's Thomas Watson in 1699 and of Dean of York William Cockburn in 1841 were particularly notable.
By the Benefices Act 1892, a person guilty of simony is guilty of an offence for which he may be proceeded against under the Clergy Discipline Act 1892. An innocent clerk is under no disability, as he might be by the canon law. Simony may be committed in three ways – in promotion to orders, in presentation to a benefice, and in resignation of a benefice. The common law (with which the canon law is incorporated, as far as it is not contrary to the common or statute law or the prerogative of the Crown) has been considerably modified by statute. Where no statute applies to the case, the doctrines of the canon law may still be of authority.
As of 2011 [update] , simony remains an offence. An unlawfully bestowed office can be declared void by the Crown, and the offender can be disabled from making future appointments and fined up to £1000. Clergy are no longer required to make a declaration as to simony on ordination, but offences are now likely to be dealt with under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, r.8.Halsbury 2002 , 1359
The First Council of the Lateran was the 9th ecumenical council recognized by the Catholic Church. It was convoked by Pope Callixtus II in December 1122, immediately after the Concordat of Worms. The council sought to bring an end to the practice of the conferring of ecclesiastical benefices by people who were laymen, free the election of bishops and abbots from secular influence, clarify the separation of spiritual and temporal affairs, re-establish the principle that spiritual authority resides solely in the Church and abolish the claim of the emperors to influence papal elections.
Anathema, in common usage, is something that or someone who is detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication. The latter meaning, its ecclesiastical sense, is based on New Testament usage. In the Old Testament, anathema was a creature or object set apart for sacrificial offering and thus removed from ordinary use and destined instead for destruction.
In English history, praemunire or praemunire facias refers to a 14th-century law that prohibited the assertion or maintenance of papal jurisdiction, or any other foreign jurisdiction or claim of supremacy in England, against the supremacy of the monarch. This law was enforced by the writ of praemunire facias, a writ of summons from which the law takes its name.
An ecclesiastical court, also called court Christian or court spiritual, is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the Middle Ages these courts had much wider powers in many areas of Europe than before the development of nation states. They were experts in interpreting canon law, a basis of which was the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian which is considered the source of the civil law legal tradition.
Usury is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. The term may be used in a moral sense—condemning, taking advantage of others' misfortunes—or in a legal sense, where an interest rate is charged in excess of the maximum rate that is allowed by law. A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors defined by a nation's laws. Someone who practices usury can be called an usurer, but in contemporary English may be called a loan shark.
A sinecure is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval church, where it signified a post without any responsibility for the "cure [care] of souls", the regular liturgical and pastoral functions of a cleric, but came to be applied to any post, secular or ecclesiastical, that involved little or no actual work. Sinecures have historically provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries.
The Gallican Church was the Roman Catholic Church in France from the time of the Declaration of the Clergy of France (1682) to that of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) during the French Revolution.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, a distinction is made between the internal forum, where an act of governance is made without publicity, and the external forum, where the act is public and verifiable. In canon law, internal forum, the realm of conscience, is contrasted with the external or outward forum; thus, a marriage might be null and void in the internal forum, but binding outwardly, i.e., in the external forum, for want of judicial proof to the contrary.
A benefice or living is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The Roman Empire used the Latin term beneficium as a benefit to an individual from the Empire for services rendered. Its use was adopted by the Western Church in the Carolingian Era as a benefit bestowed by the crown or church officials. A benefice specifically from a church is called a precaria, such as a stipend, and one from a monarch or nobleman is usually called a fief. A benefice is distinct from an allod, in that an allod is property owned outright, not bestowed by a higher authority.
In English law and the canon law of the Church of England, a monition, contraction of admonition, is an order to a member of the clergy to do or refrain from doing a specified act. Other than a rebuke, it is the least severe censure available against clergy of the Church of England. Failure to observe the order is an offence under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963. A monition can be imposed in person by a bishop or by an ecclesiastical court.
In canon law, commendam was a form of transferring an ecclesiastical benefice in trust to the custody of a patron. The phrase in commendam was originally applied to the provisional occupation of an ecclesiastical benefice, which was temporarily without an actual occupant, in contrast to the conferral of a title, in titulum, which was applied to the regular and unconditional occupation of a benefice.
Grimketel was an English clergyman who went to Norway as a missionary and was partly responsible for the conversion of Norway to Christianity. He initiated the beatification of Saint Olaf. On his return to England he became Bishop of Selsey and also for a time Bishop of Elmham. He was accused, by some, of being guilty of simony.
Impropriation, a term from English ecclesiastical law, was the destination of the income from tithes of an ecclesiastical benefice to a layman. With the establishment of the parish system in England, it was necessary for the properties to have an owner. This was the parochianus or parson/rector who was sustained by the benefice income while providing personally for the cure-of-souls. The parson was technically a corporation sole. With the passage of time, the benefice came to be considered a piece of property whose holder could discharge the spiritual responsibilities by a deputy and many were appropriated by monasteries or other spiritual corporations. These were bound to provide for a cleric for the cure of souls in the parish but could use any excess income as they pleased. The deputy was often known as the 'vicar'.
In English ecclesiastical law, the term incumbent refers to the holder of a Church of England parochial charge or benefice. The term "benefice" originally denoted a grant of land for life in return for services. In church law, the duties were spiritual ("spiritualities") and some form of assets to generate revenue were permanently linked to the duties to ensure the support of the office holder. Historically, once in possession of the benefice, the holder had lifelong tenure unless he failed to provide the required minimum of spiritual services or committed a moral offence. With the passing of the "Pastoral Measure 1968" and subsequent legislation, this no longer applies, and many ancient benefices have been joined together into a single new one.
In Anglo-Saxon law, corsned, also known as the accursed or sacred morsel, or the morsel of execration, was a type of trial by ordeal that consisted of a suspected person eating a piece of barley bread and cheese totalling about an ounce in weight and consecrated with a form of exorcism as a trial of his innocence. If guilty, it was supposed the bread would produce convulsions and paleness and cause choking. If innocent, it was believed the person could swallow it freely, and the bread would turn to nourishment. The term dates to before 1000 AD; the laws of Ethelred II reference this practice: "Gif man freondleasne weofod-þen mid tihtlan belecge, ga to corsnæde." The ecclesiastical laws of Canute the Great also mention the practice. According to Isaac D'Israeli, the bread was of unleavened barley, and the cheese was made of ewe's milk in the month of May. Writers such as Richard Burn and John Lingard have considered it an imitation of the "water of jealousy" used in the ordeal prescribed in Numbers 5:11-31 for cases of jealousy.
The right of patronage in Roman Catholic canon law is a set of rights and obligations of someone, known as the patron in connection with a gift of land (benefice). It is a grant made by the church out of gratitude towards a benefactor.
The Simony Act 1588 is an Act of the Parliament of England.
The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which makes it illegal to make fake versions of many things, including legal documents, contracts, audio and visual recordings, and money of the United Kingdom and certain protected coins. It replaces the Forgery Act 1913, the Coinage Offences Act 1936 and parts of the Forgery Act 1861. It implements recommendations made by the Law Commission in their report on forgery and counterfeit currency.
The Clergy Marriage Act 1548 was an Act of the Parliament of England. Part of the English Reformation, it abolished the prohibition on marriage of priests within the Church of England.
The Taxatio Ecclesiastica, often referred to as the Taxatio Nicholai or just the Taxatio, compiled in 1291–92 under the order of Pope Nicholas IV, is a detailed database valuation for ecclesiastical taxation of English, Welsh, and Irish parish churches and prebends.
|Look up simony in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|