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simony(sĭm`ənē), in canon lawcanon law,
in the Roman Catholic Church, the body of law based on the legislation of the councils (both ecumenical and local) and the popes, as well as the bishops (for diocesan matters).
..... Click the link for more information. , buying or selling of any spiritual benefit or office. The name is derived from Simon MagusSimon Magus
, Samaritan sorcerer who attempted to buy spiritual power from the apostles. From this comes the term simony. He is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He was said to have founded a Gnostic sect.
..... Click the link for more information. , who tried to buy the gifts of the Holy Spirit from St. Peter (Acts 8). Simony is a very grave sin, and ecclesiastics who commit it may be excommunicated. The temporal price may be one of many kinds, e.g., money or high office. What is sold may be the performance of a sacrament or any other spiritual service; it is also simony to sell a benefice or endowment or other temporality to which anything spiritual is attached. Because of the frequency of simony at times in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the legislation of the church is very strict; e.g., simony in the election of a pope invalidates the election (law of Julius II, 1503); no priest may ask for a baptismal fee in any way; and Mass stipends are fixed by the bishop and are governed by the expense of the Mass and the necessities of the priest. Since the Council of Trent the sale of indulgences is prohibited in any form, and no blessed article may be sold as blessed. The prevalence of simony was most important in bringing about the 11th-century papal reform movement.
(from Simon Magus, a sorcerer who, according to evangelical mythology, asked the Apostles to sell him the gift of commanding the Holy Spirit), the buying or selling of ecclesiastical offices or holy orders, widespread in Western Europe in the Middle Ages and practiced by the papacy, kings, and important feudal lords. The abolition of simony was one of the principal demands of the advocates of the Cluniac reform, who introduced the term “simony.”