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Dante speaks to Pope Nicholas III, committed to the Inferno for his simony, in Gustave Doré's wood engraving, 1861.
For other uses of this term, see Simony (disambiguation).

According to the New Testament, simony is the crime of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. 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[1] but it also extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things".[2][3] Simony was also one of the important issues during the Investiture Controversy.

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Church of England

The Church of England also struggled with the practice after its separation from Rome. While English law recognized simony as an offence,[4] 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. The cases of Bishop of St. David's Thomas Watson in 1699[5] and of Dean of York William Cockburn in 1841 were particularly notable.[6]

As of 2007, simony remains an offence.[3][7] 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.[8] 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,[9] r.8.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ The Reader's Encyclopedia (1965), New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, vol.2, p.932, "Simon."
  2. ^ Smith (1880)
  3. ^ a b Halsbury 832
  4. ^ 3 Coke's Institutes 153–156
  5. ^ Handley, S. (2004) "Watson, Thomas (1637–1717)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 21 Aug 2007 (subscription required)
  6. ^ The Times, 10 April 1841, p.6 col.b, reprinted from the Cambridge Advertiser
  7. ^ a b Halsbury 1359
  8. ^ Simony Act 1588, s.4
  9. ^ 2003 No.3

Bibliography

  • 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)
  • Smith, W. (1880). A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the 'Dictionary of the Bible'. J.B. Burr Pub. Co.. pp. "Simony". 
  • Weber, N. A. (1913) "Simony", Catholic Encyclopaedia'

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Simple English

The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for:
File:DvinfernoPopeNicholasIII
Dante speaks to Pope Nicholas III, committed to the Inferno for his simony, in Gustave Doré's wood engraving, 1861.

Simony means that one pays for an office or a position in the hierarchy of Christian church. It is regarded as a crime in church.[1] but it also extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things".[2][3]

Roman Catholic Church

In the Middle Ages there were endless problems with simony and accusations of simony, especially during the Investiture Controversy. Rulers wanted to employ the educated and centrally organized clergy in their administrations.

References

  1. The name comes from Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. 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."
  2. Smith (1880)
  3. Halsbury 832)

Bibliography

  • 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)
  • Smith, W. (1880). A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the 'Dictionary of the Bible'. J.B. Burr Pub. Co.. pp. "Simony". 
  • Weber, N. A. (1913) "Simony", Catholic Encyclopaedia








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