Simony

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SIMONY, eccl. law. The selling and buying of holy orders, or an ecclesiastical benefice. Bac. Ab. h.t.; 1 Harr. Dig. 556. By simony is also understood an unlawful agreement to receive a temporal reward for something holy or spiritual. Code, 1, 3, 31 Ayl. Parerg. 496.

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(16.) 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.
Third, the canto is central thematically; Dante's invective against the simoniacal popes and his lamentation over the Donation of Constantine and its disastrous effects on the temporal order of the world reveal his underlying preoccupation with the corruption of the church and the resulting confusion between the "two suns" of earthly life.(9)