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.

"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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