Simony is the
ecclesiasticalcrime of paying for holy officesor positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles8:18-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment so that anyone he would place his hands on would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of the term "simony" ["The Reader's Encyclopedia" (1965), New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, vol.2, "p."932, "Simon."] but it also extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things". [Smith (1880)] "Halsbury" 832]
Roman Catholic Church
The intertwining of temporal with spiritual authority in the
Middle Agescaused endless problems with simony and accusations of simony. Secularrulers wanted to employ the educated and centrally organized clergy in their administrations, and often treated their spiritual positions as adjuncts to the secular administrative roles.
Canon Law also outlawed as simony some acts that did not involve the sale of offices, but the sale of spiritual authority: the sale of tithes, the taking of a fee for confession, absolution, marriage or burial, and the concealment of one in mortal sin or the reconcilement of an impenitent for the sake of gain. Just what was or was not simony was strenuously litigated: as one commentator notes, the widespread practice of simony is best evidenced by the number of reported ecclesiastical decisions as to what is or is not simony.
Simony did serious harm to the moral standing of the
Roman Catholic Church. Dante Alighiericondemns simonists to the eighth circle of hell in his "Inferno", where he encounters Pope Nicholas IIIburied upside down, the soles of his feet burning with oil, in a mock baptism. Nicholas goes on to predict the damnation of both Pope Boniface VIII, the Popein office at the time the Divine Comedyis set, and Pope Clement V, his successor, for that sin. Writers in the early Renaissance, such as Niccolò Machiavelliand Erasmus, condemned the practice, while Blaise Pascalattacked the casuistic defenses offered by those accused of simony in his " Lettres provinciales".
Church of England
Church of Englandalso struggled with the practice after its separation from Rome. While English law recognized simony as an offense, [3 "Coke's Institutes" 153–156] 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 offense and severance of any patronage relationship with the person who bestowed the office. The cases of Bishop of St. David'sThomas Watson in 1699[Handley, S. (2004) " [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/28868 Watson, Thomas (1637–1717)] ", " Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, accessed 21 Aug 2007 (subscription required)] and of Dean of YorkWilliam Cockburn in 1841were particularly notable." The Times", 10 April 1841, p.6 col.b, reprinted from the "Cambridge Advertiser"] As of 2007, simony remains an offence."Halsbury" 1359] 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. [ Simony Act 1588, s.4] Clergy are no longer required to make a declaration as to simony on ordinationbut offences are now likely to be dealt with under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, [2003 No.3] r.8.
*Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (2002) "Halsbury's Laws of England", 4th ed. Vol.14, "Ecclesiastical Law", 832 'Penalties and disability on simony'
* — 1359 'Simony' (see also current updates)
* cite book | title=A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the 'Dictionary of the Bible' | author=Smith, W. | pages="Simony" | publisher=J.B. Burr Pub. Co. | year=1880
*Weber, N. A. (1913) " [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14001a.htm Simony] ", "
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Simony — • Usually defined a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual of annexed unto spirituals Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Simony Simony … Catholic encyclopedia
Simony — ist der Name von Friedrich Simony (1813−1896), Geograph und Alpenforscher Julius Simony (1785 1835), deutscher Bildhauer Leopold Simony (1859−1929), österreichischer Architekt Stefan Simony (1860 1950), österreichischer Maler Siehe auch: Simoni,… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Simony — Sim o*ny, n. [F. simonie, LL. simonia, fr. Simon Magus, who wished to purchase the power of conferring the Holy Spirit. Acts viii.] The crime of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferment; the corrupt presentation of any one to an ecclesiastical … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Simony — Simony, Friedrich, Geograph und hervorragender Alpenforscher, geb. 30. Nov. 1813 in Hrochowteinitz bei Pardubitz in Böhmen, gest. 20. Juli 1896 zu St. Gallen in Steiermark, studierte Naturwissenschaften in Wien, widmete sich seit 1840 dem Studium … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
simony — early 13c., the buying or selling of sacred things, from O.Fr. simonie, from L.L. simonia, from Simon Magus, the Samaritan magician who was rebuked by Peter when he tried to buy the power of conferring the Holy Spirit (Acts viii:18 20) … Etymology dictionary
simony — ► NOUN chiefly historical ▪ the buying or selling of pardons, benefices, and other ecclesiastical privileges. ORIGIN Latin simonia, from Simon Magus in the Bible, in allusion to his offer of money to the Apostles … English terms dictionary
simony — [sī′mə nē, sim′ənē] n. [ME simonie < OFr < ML(Ec) simonia, after SIMON MAGUS] the buying or selling of sacred or spiritual things, as sacraments or benefices … English World dictionary
simony — simonist, n. /suy meuh nee, sim euh /, n. 1. the making of profit out of sacred things. 2. the sin of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferments, benefices, etc. [1175 1225; ME simonie < LL simonia; so called from Simon Magus, who tried to… … Universalium
Simony — , SIMONIAC Simony is the crime of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices or favors. The word is seldom used today, and then only in a religious context. Simon Magus, a Samaritan sorcerer, is responsible for this eponymous term. Many… … Dictionary of eponyms
simony — noun /ˈsaɪ.mə.ni,ˈsɪm.ə.ni/ The act of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices and pardons. , 1989: ‘There are those two,’ he then said, ‘who were recently arraigned on a charge of high simony. Fancying a monstrance and stealing it and… … Wiktionary