Choose a topic from Part 2B:

100. Irreligion: Simony

1. Simony is the sin of trying to buy or sell somethingspiritual, or something connected with what is spiritual. Simonytakes its name from that of Simon Magus who tried to buy from theapostles the power of calling down the Holy Ghost by the imposingof hands (see Acts 8:18-24). Simony is a sin, because whatis spiritual cannot be estimated at a material price; because Godalone owns what is spiritual, while his ministers only dispense it;because spiritual things flow freely from God and are to be freelygiven by his clergy (Matt. 10:8): "Freely have you received;freely give." Therefore, simony is an irreverence to God, andconsequently it is a sin against the virtue of religion.

2. The priests of the Church are to be supportedmaterially by the people to whom they minister, for those thatserve the altar are to live by the altar. But no priest or prelatedare sell, or try to sell, sacrament, or Mass, or benefice, orecclesiastical office, for this would be the sin of simony.

3. As we have said elsewhere, it is right and lawful togive something for the support of those who administer spiritualthings, in accordance with the customs approved by the Church. Butin such giving (and in the receiving, too) there must be no hint orthought or slightest intention of buying and selling. Nor arepeople to be forced into making an offering by withholdingspiritual things that should be administered.

4. Things annexed to what is spiritual cannot be bought orsold unless the things can be evaluated in material terms entirelyapart from their quasi-spiritual character. Thus, certain rights ofpatronage and benefice may be sold, if it be made clear to allparties that the spiritual element does not enter into thetransaction. Similarly, blessed articles, such as blessed candles,may be sold if nothing extra is added to the price by reason of theblessing. Yet certain blessed articles lose their blessing (andattached indulgences for pious use) if they are sold, even lawfullyand not simoniacally.

5. To grant something spiritual as remunerationfor a service, issimony. For what is paid for athing is estimated, or can be estimated, in terms of money.

6. Anything acquired simoniacally must be surrendered; it cannotjustly be retained. Those guilty of the sin of simony are subjectto penalties set down in church law.

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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