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Writing in the context of the contentious case of the irregular and simoniacal election of Bishop Daimbert of Pisa, Andreas was reticent about the Vallombrosans' actual position on the validity of the sacraments of simonists and nicholaists, a reflection of the Church's refutation of more radical positions, whereas the Anonymous clearly underlined their opposition.
He applauded Henry III's deposition of the three popes he found when he went to Rome for his coronation, calling the imperial intervention a strike against the "multicephalous hydra" of the simoniacal heresy.
This perversion of church from spouse to prostitute is one of the principal images of the canto, as are the "oro" and "argento" (repeated at 95 and 112) sought by the simoniacal popes, two substances which Peter claimed not to possess: "Silver and gold have I none" (Acts 3:6), a scripture to which Dante later refers in the Paradiso: "Pier comincio sanz' oro e sanz' argento" (XXII, 88).
To make sure his readers understand his point, he repeats this comparison between a pious and learned layman and an ignorant, immoral, and simoniacal priest two more times.