Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.98 a.3

Whether all perjury is a mortal sin?

Objection: 1. It would seem that not all perjury is a mortal sin. It is laid down (Extra, De Jurejur, cap. Verum): "Referring to the question whether an oath is binding on those who have taken one in order to safeguard their life and possessions, we have no other mind than that which our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs are known to have had, and who absolved such persons from the obligations of their oath. Henceforth, that discretion may be observed, and in order to avoid occasions of perjury, let them not be told expressly not to keep their oath: but if they should not keep it, they are not for this reason to be punished as for a mortal sin." Therefore not all perjury is a mortal sin.
2. Further, as Chrysostom [*Hom. xliv in the Opus Imperfectum on St. Matthew, falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] says, "it is a greater thing to swear by God than by the Gospels." Now it is not always a mortal sin to swear by God to something false; for instance, if we were to employ such an oath in fun or by a slip of the tongue in the course of an ordinary conversation. Therefore neither is it always a mortal sin to break an oath that has been taken solemnly on the Gospels.
3. Further, according to the Law a man incurs infamy through committing perjury (VI, qu. i, cap. Infames). Now it would seem that infamy is not incurred through any kind of perjury, as it is prescribed in the case of a declaratory oath violated by perjury [*Cap. Cum dilectus, de Ord. Cognit.]. Therefore, seemingly, not all perjury is a mortal sin.

On the contrary Every sin that is contrary to a divine precept is a mortal sin. Now perjury is contrary to a divine precept, for it is written (Lv 19,12): "Thou shalt not swear falsely by My name." Therefore it is a mortal sin.
I answer that According to the teaching of the Philosopher (Poster. i, 2), "that which causes a thing to be such is yet more so." Now we know that an action which is, by reason of its very nature, a venial sin, or even a good action, is a mortal sin if it be done out of contempt of God. Wherefore any action that of its nature, implies contempt of God is a mortal sin. Now perjury, of its very nature implies contempt of God, since, as stated above (Article [2]), the reason why it is sinful is because it is an act of irreverence towards God. Therefore it is manifest that perjury, of its very nature, is a mortal sin.

Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above (Question [89], Article [7], ad 3), coercion does not deprive a promissory oath of its binding force, as regards that which can be done lawfully. Wherefore he who fails to fulfil an oath which he took under coercion is guilty of perjury and sins mortally. Nevertheless the Sovereign Pontiff can, by his authority, absolve a man from an obligation even of an oath, especially if the latter should have been coerced into taking the oath through such fear as may overcome a high-principled man.When, however, it is said that these persons are not to be punished as for a mortal sin, this does not mean that they are not guilty of mortal sin, but that a lesser punishment is to be inflicted on them.
2. He that swears falsely in fun is nonetheless irreverent to God, indeed, in a way, he is more so, and consequently is not excused from mortal sin. He that swears falsely by a slip of tongue, if he adverts to the fact that he is swearing, and that he is swearing to something false, is not excused from mortal sin, as neither is he excused from contempt of God. If, however, he does not advert to this, he would seem to have no intention of swearing, and consequently is excused from the sin of perjury.It is, however, a more grievous sin to swear solemnly by the Gospels, than to swear by God in ordinary conversation, both on account of scandal and on account of the greater deliberation. But if we consider them equally in comparison with one another, it is more grievous to commit perjury in swearing by God than in swearing by the Gospels.
3. Not every sin makes a man infamous in the eye of the law. Wherefore, if a man who has sworn falsely in a declaratory oath be not infamous in the eye of the law, but only when he has been so declared by sentence in a court of law, it does not follow that he has not sinned mortally. The reason why the law attaches infamy rather to one who breaks a promissory oath taken solemnly is that he still has it in his power after he has sworn to substantiate his oath, which is not the case in a declaratory oath.

Whether he sins who demands an oath of a perjurer?

Objection: 1. It would seem that he who demands an oath of a perjurer commits a sin. Either he knows that he swears truly, or he knows that he swears falsely. If he knows him to swear truly, it is useless for him to demand an oath: and if he believes him to swear falsely, for his own part he leads him into sin. Therefore nowise seemingly should one enjoin an oath on another person.
2. Further, to receive an oath from a person is less than to impose an oath on him. Now it would seem unlawful to receive an oath from a person, especially if he swear falsely, because he would then seem to consent in his sin. Much less therefore would it seem lawful to impose an oath on one who swears falsely.
3. Further, it is written (Lv 5,1): "If anyone sin, and hear the voice of one swearing falsely [*'Falsely' is not in the Vulgate'], and is a witness either because he himself hath seen, or is privy to it: if he do not utter it, he shall bear his iniquity." Hence it would seem that when a man knows another to be swearing falsely, he is bound to denounce him. Therefore it is not lawful to demand an oath of such a man.

On the contrary On the other hand, Just as it is a sin to swear falsely so is it to swear by false gods. Yet it is lawful to take advantage of an oath of one who has sworn by false gods, as Augustine says (ad Public. Ep. xlvii). Therefore it is lawful to demand an oath from one who swears falsely.
I answer that As regards a person who demands an oath from another, a distinction would seem to be necessary. For either he demands the oath on his own account and of his own accord, or he demands it on account of the exigencies of a duty imposed on him. If a man demands an oath on his own account as a private individual, we must make a distinction, as does Augustine (de Perjuriis. serm. clxxx): "For if he knows not that the man will swear falsely, and says to him accordingly: 'Swear to me' in order that he may be credited, there is no sin: yet it is a human temptation" (because, to wit, it proceeds from his weakness in doubting whether the man will speak the truth). "This is the evil whereof Our Lord says (Mt 5,37): That which is over and above these, is of evil. But if he knows the man to have done so," i.e. the contrary of what he swears to, "and yet forces him to swear, he is a murderer: for the other destroys himself by his perjury, but it is he who urged the hand of the slayer."If, on the other hand, a man demands an oath as a public person, in accordance with the requirements of the law, on the requisition of a third person: he does not seem to be at fault, if he demands an oath of a person, whether he knows that he will swear falsely or truly, because seemingly it is not he that exacts the oath but the person at whose instance he demands it.

Reply to Objection: 1. This argument avails in the case of one who demands an oath on his own account. Yet he does not always know that the other will swear truly or falsely, for at times he has doubts about the fact, and believes he will swear truly. In such a case he exacts an oath in order that he may be more certain.
2. As Augustine says (ad Public. serm. xlvii), "though we are forbidden to swear, I do not remember ever to have read in the Holy Scriptures that we must not accept oaths from others." Hence he that accepts an oath does not sin, except perchance when of his own accord he forces another to swear, knowing that he will swear falsely.
3. As Augustine says (Questions. Super Lev, qu. i), Moses in the passage quoted did not state to whom one man had to denounce another's perjury: wherefore it must be understood that the matter had to be denounced "to those who would do the perjurer good rather than harm." Again, neither did he state in what order the denunciation was to be made: wherefore seemingly the Gospel order should be followed, if the sin of perjury should be hidden, especially when it does not tend to another person's injury: because if it did, the Gospel order would not apply to the case, as stated above (Question [33], Article [7]; Question [68], Article [1]).
4. It is lawful to make use of an evil for the sake of good, as God does, but it is not lawful to lead anyone to do evil. Consequently it is lawful to accept the oath of one who is ready to swear by false gods, but it is not lawful to induce him to swear by false gods. Yet it seems to be different in the case of one who swears falsely by the true God, because an oath of this kind lacks the good of faith, which a man makes use of in the oath of one who swears truly by false gods, as Augustine says (ad Public. Ep. xlvii). Hence when a man swears falsely by the true God his oath seems to lack any good that one may use lawfully.


We must now consider the vices which pertain to irreligion, whereby sacred things are treated with irreverence. We shall consider (1) Sacrilege; (2) Simony.

Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) What is sacrilege?

(2) Whether it is a special sin?

(3) Of the species of sacrilege;

(4) Of the punishment of sacrilege.

Whether sacrilege is the violation of a sacred thing?

Objection: 1. It would seem that sacrilege is not the violation of a sacred thing. It is stated (XVII, qu. iv [*Append. Gratian, on can. Si quis suadente]): "They are guilty of sacrilege who disagree about the sovereign's decision, and doubt whether the person chosen by the sovereign be worthy of honor." Now this seems to have no connection with anything sacred. Therefore sacrilege does not denote the violation of something sacred.
2. Further, it is stated further on [*Append. Gratian, on can. Constituit.] that if any man shall allow the Jews to hold public offices, "he must be excommunicated as being guilty of sacrilege." Yet public offices have nothing to do with anything sacred. Therefore it seems that sacrilege does not denote the violation of a sacred thing.
3. Further, God's power is greater than man's. Now sacred things receive their sacred character from God. Therefore they cannot be violated by man: and so a sacrilege would not seem to be the violation of a sacred thing.

On the contrary Isidore says (Etym. x) that "a man is said to be sacrilegious because he selects," i.e. steals, "sacred things."
I answer that As stated above (Question [81], Article [5]; I-II 101,4), a thing is called "sacred" through being deputed to the divine worship. Now just as a thing acquires an aspect of good through being deputed to a good end, so does a thing assume a divine character through being deputed to the divine worship, and thus a certain reverence is due to it, which reverence is referred to God. Therefore whatever pertains to irreverence for sacred things is an injury to God, and comes under the head of sacrilege.

Reply to Objection: 1. According to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 2) the common good of the nation is a divine thing, wherefore in olden times the rulers of a commonwealth were called divines, as being the ministers of divine providence, according to Sg 6,5, "Being ministers of His kingdom, you have not judged rightly." Hence by an extension of the term, whatever savors of irreverence for the sovereign, such as disputing his judgment, and questioning whether one ought to follow it, is called sacrilege by a kind of likeness.
2. Christians are sanctified by faith and the sacraments of Christ, according to 1Co 6,11, "But you are washed, but you are sanctified." Wherefore it is written (1P 2,9): "You are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people." Therefore any injury inflicted on the Christian people, for instance that unbelievers should be put in authority over it, is an irreverence for a sacred thing, and is reasonably called a sacrilege.
3. Violation here means any kind of irreverence or dishonor. Now as "honor is in the person who honors and not in the one who is honored" (Ethic. i, 5), so again irreverence is in the person who behaves irreverently even though he do no harm to the object of his irreverence. Hence, so far he is concerned, he violates the sacred thing, though the latter be not violated in itself.

Whether sacrilege is a special sin?

Objection: 1. It would seem that sacrilege not a special sin. It is stated (XVII, qu. iv) "They are guilty of sacrilege who through ignorance sin against the sanctity of the law, violate and defile it by their negligence." But this is done in every sin, because sin is "a word, deed or desire contrary to the law of God," according to Augustine (Contra Faust. xxi, 27). Therefore sacrilege is a general sin.
2. Further, no special sin is comprised under different kinds of sin. Now sacrilege comprised under different kinds of sin, for instance under murder, if one kill a priest under lust, as the violation of a consecrate virgin, or of any woman in a sacred place under theft, if one steal a sacred thing. Therefore sacrilege is not a special sin.
3. Further, every special sin is to found apart from other sins as the Philosopher states, in speaking of special justice (Ethic. v, 11). But, seemingly, sacrilege is not to be found apart from other sins; for it is sometimes united to theft, sometimes to murder, as stated in the preceding objection. Therefore it is not a special sin.

On the contrary That which is opposed to a special virtue is a special sin. But sacrilege is opposed to a special virtue, namely religion, to which it belongs to reverence God and divine things. Therefore sacrilege is a special sin.
I answer that Wherever we find a special aspect of deformity, there must needs be a special sin; because the species of a thing is derived chiefly from its formal aspect, and not from its matter or subject. Now in sacrilege we find a special aspect of deformity, namely, the violation of a sacred thing by treating it irreverently. Hence it is a special sin.Moreover, it is opposed to religion. For according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv, 3), "When the purple has been made into a royal robe, we pay it honor and homage, and if anyone dishonor it he is condemned to death," as acting against the king: and in the same way if a man violate a sacred thing, by so doing his behavior is contrary to the reverence due to God and consequently he is guilty of irreligion.

Reply to Objection: 1. Those are said to sin against the sanctity of the divine law who assail God's law, as heretics and blasphemers do. These are guilty of unbelief, through not believing in God; and of sacrilege, through perverting the words of the divine law.
2. Nothing prevents one specific kind of sin being found in various generic kinds of sin, inasmuch as various sins are directed to the end of one sin, just as happens in the case of virtues commanded by one virtue. In this way, by whatever kind of sin a man acts counter to reverence due to sacred things, he commits a sacrilege formally; although his act contains various kinds of sin materially.
3. Sacrilege is sometimes found apart from other sins, through its act having no other deformity than the violation of a sacred thing: for instance, if a judge were to take a person from a sacred place for he might lawfully have taken him from elsewhere.

Whether the species of sacrilege are distinguished according to the sacred things?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the species of sacrilege are not distinguished according to the sacred things. Material diversity does not differentiate species, if the formal aspect remains the same. Now there would seem to be the same formal aspect of sin in all violations of sacred things, and that the only difference is one of matter. Therefore the species of sacrilege are not distinguished thereby.
2. Further, it does not seem possible that things belonging to the same species should at the same time differ specifically. Now murder, theft, and unlawful intercourse, are different species of sin. Therefore they cannot belong to the one same species of sacrilege: and consequently it seems that the species of sacrilege are distinguished in accordance with the species of other sins, and not according to the various sacred things.
3. Further, among sacred things sacred persons are reckoned. If, therefore, one species of sacrilege arises from the violation of a sacred person, it would follow that every sin committed by a sacred person is a sacrilege, since every sin violates the person of the sinner. Therefore the species of sacrilege are not reckoned according to the sacred things.

On the contrary Acts and habits are distinguished by their objects. Now the sacred thing is the object of sacrilege, as stated above (Article [1]). Therefore the species of sacrilege are distinguished according to the sacred things.
I answer that As stated above (Article [1]), the sin of sacrilege consists in the irreverent treatment of a sacred thing. Now reverence is due to a sacred thing by reason of its holiness: and consequently the species of sacrilege must needs be distinguished according to the different aspects of sanctity in the sacred things which are treated irreverently: for the greater the holiness ascribed to the sacred thing that is sinned against, the more grievous the sacrilege.Now holiness is ascribed, not only to sacred persons, namely, those who are consecrated to the divine worship, but also to sacred places and to certain other sacred things. And the holiness of a place is directed to the holiness of man, who worships God in a holy place. For it is written (2M 2M 5,19): "God did not choose the people for the place's sake, but the place for the people's sake." Hence sacrilege committed against a sacred person is a graver sin than that which is committed against a sacred place. Yet in either species there are various degrees of sacrilege, according to differences of sacred persons and places.In like manner the third species of sacrilege, which is committed against other sacred things, has various degrees, according to the differences of sacred things. Among these the highest place belongs to the sacraments whereby man is sanctified: chief of which is the sacrament of the Eucharist, for it contains Christ Himself. Wherefore the sacrilege that is committed against this sacrament is the gravest of all. The second place, after the sacraments, belongs to the vessels consecrated for the administration of the sacraments; also sacred images, and the relics of the saints, wherein the very persons of the saints, so to speak, are reverenced and honored. After these come things connected with the apparel of the Church and its ministers; and those things, whether movable or immovable, that are deputed to the upkeep of the ministers. And whoever sins against any one of the aforesaid incurs the crime of sacrilege.

Reply to Objection: 1. There is not the same aspect of holiness in all the aforesaid: wherefore the diversity of sacred things is not only a material, but also a formal difference.
2. Nothing hinders two things from belonging to one species in one respect, and to different species in another respect. Thus Socrates and Plato belong to the one species, "animal," but differ in the species "colored thing," if one be white and the other black. In like manner it is possible for two sins to differ specifically as to their material acts, and to belong to the same species as regards the one formal aspect of sacrilege: for instance, the violation of a nun by blows or by copulation.
3. Every sin committed by a sacred person is a sacrilege materially and accidentally as it were. Hence Jerome [*The quotation is from St. Bernard, De Consideration, ii, 13] says that "a trifle on a priest's lips is a sacrilege or a blasphemy." But formally and properly speaking a sin committed by a sacred person is a sacrilege only when it is committed against his holiness, for instance if a virgin consecrated to God be guilty of fornication: and the same is to be said of other instances.

Whether the punishment of sacrilege should be pecuniary?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the punishment of sacrilege should not be pecuniary. A pecuniary punishment is not wont to be inflicted for a criminal fault. But sacrilege is a criminal fault, wherefore it is punished by capital sentence according to civil law [*Dig. xlviii, 13; Cod. i, 3, de Episc. et Cleric.]. Therefore sacrilege should not be awarded a pecuniary punishment.
2. Further, the same sin should not receive a double punishment, according to Nahum 1:9, "There shall not rise a double affliction." But sacrilege is punished with excommunication; major excommunication, for violating a sacred person, and for burning or destroying a church, and minor excommunication for other sacrileges. Therefore sacrilege should not be awarded a pecuniary punishment.
3. Further, the Apostle says (1Th 2,5): "Neither have we taken an occasion of covetousness." But it seems to involve an occasion of covetousness that a pecuniary punishment should be exacted for the violation of a sacred thing. Therefore this does not seem to be a fitting punishment of sacrilege.

On the contrary It is written [*XVII, qu. iv, can. Si quis contumax]: "If anyone contumaciously or arrogantly take away by force an escaped slave from the confines of a church he shall pay nine hundred soldi": and again further on (XVII, qu. iv, can. Quisquis inventus, can. 21): "Whoever is found guilty of sacrilege shall pay thirty pounds of tried purest silver."
I answer that In the award of punishments two points must be considered. First equality, in order that the punishment may be just, and that "by what things a man sinneth by the same . . . he may be tormented" (Sg 11,17). In this respect the fitting punishment of one guilty of sacrilege, since he has done an injury to a sacred thing, is excommunication [*Append. Gratian. on can. Si quis contumax, quoted above] whereby sacred things are withheld from him. The second point to be considered is utility. For punishments are inflicted as medicines, that men being deterred thereby may desist from sin. Now it would seem that the sacrilegious man, who reverences not sacred things, is not sufficiently deterred from sinning by sacred things being withheld from him, since he has no care for them. Wherefore according to human laws he is sentenced to capital punishment, and according to the statutes of the Church, which does not inflict the death of the body, a pecuniary punishment is inflicted, in order that men may be deterred from sacrilege, at least by temporal punishments.

Reply to Objection: 1. i The Church inflicts not the death of the body, but excommunication in its stead.
2. When one punishment is not sufficient to deter a man from sin, a double punishment must be inflicted. Wherefore it was necessary to inflict some kind of temporal punishment in addition to the punishment of excommunication, in order to coerce those who despise spiritual things.
3. If money were exacted without a reasonable cause, this would seem to involve an occasion of covetousness. But when it is exacted for the purpose of man's correction, it has a manifest utility, and consequently involves no occasion of avarice.


We must now consider simony, under which head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) What is simony?

(2) Whether it is lawful to accept money for the sacraments?

(3) Whether it is lawful to accept money for spiritual actions?

(4) Whether it is lawful to sell things connected with spirituals?

(5) Whether real remuneration alone makes a man guilty of simony, or also oral remuneration or remuneration by service?

(6) Of the punishment of simony.

Whether simony is an intentional will to buy or sell something spiritual or connected with a spiritual thing?

Objection: 1. It would seem that simony is not "an express will to buy or sell something spiritual or connected with a spiritual thing." Simony is heresy, since it is written (I, qu. i [*Can. Eos qui per pecunias.]): "The impious heresy of Macedonius and of those who with him impugned the Holy Ghost, is more endurable than that of those who are guilty of simony: since the former in their ravings maintained that the Holy Spirit of Father and Son is a creature and the slave of God, whereas the latter make the same Holy Spirit to be their own slave. For every master sells what he has just as he wills, whether it be his slave or any other of his possessions." But unbelief, like faith, is an act not of the will but of the intellect, as shown above (Question [10], Article [2]). Therefore simony should not be defined as an act of the will.
2. Further, to sin intentionally is to sin through malice, and this is to sin against the Holy Ghost. Therefore, if simony is an intentional will to sin, it would seem that it is always a sin against the Holy Ghost.
3. Further, nothing is more spiritual than the kingdom of heaven. But it is lawful to buy the kingdom of heaven: for Gregory says in a homily (v, in ): "The kingdom of heaven is worth as much as you possess." Therefore simony does not consist in a will to buy something spiritual.
4. Further, simony takes its name from Simon the magician, of whom we read (Ac 8,18-19) that "he offered the apostles money" that he might buy a spiritual power, in order, to wit, "that on whomsoever he imposed his hand they might receive the Holy Ghost." But we do not read that he wished to sell anything. Therefore simony is not the will to sell a spiritual thing.
5. Further, there are many other voluntary commutations besides buying and selling, such as exchange and transaction [*A kind of legal compromise---Oxford Dictionary]. Therefore it would seem that simony is defined insufficiently.
6. Further, anything connected with spiritual things is itself spiritual. Therefore it is superfluous to add "or connected with spiritual things."
7. Further, according to some, the Pope cannot commit simony: yet he can buy or sell something spiritual. Therefore simony is not the will to buy or sell something spiritual or connected with a spiritual thing.

On the contrary Gregory VII says (Regist. [*Caus. I, qu. i, can. Presbyter, qu. iii, can. Altare]): "None of the faithful is ignorant that buying or selling altars, tithes, or the Holy Ghost is the heresy of simony."
I answer that As stated above (I-II 18,2) an act is evil generically when it bears on undue matter. Now a spiritual thing is undue matter for buying and selling for three reasons. First, because a spiritual thing cannot be appraised at any earthly price, even as it is said concerning wisdom (Pr 3,15), "she is more precious than all riches, and all things that are desired, are not to be compared with her": and for this reason Peter, in condemning the wickedness of Simon in its very source, said (Ac 8,20): "Keep thy money to thyself to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."Secondly, because a thing cannot be due matter for sale if the vendor is not the owner thereof, as appears from the authority quoted (Objection [1]). Now ecclesiastical superiors are not owners, but dispensers of spiritual things, according to 1Co 4,1, "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the ministers of God."Thirdly, because sale is opposed to the source of spiritual things, since they flow from the gratuitous will of God. Wherefore Our Lord said (Mt 10,8): "Freely have you received, freely give."Therefore by buying or selling a spiritual thing, a man treats God and divine things with irreverence, and consequently commits a sin of irreligion.

Reply to Objection: 1. Just as religion consists in a kind of protestation of faith, without, sometimes, faith being in one's heart, so too the vices opposed to religion include a certain protestation of unbelief without, sometimes, unbelief being in the mind. Accordingly simony is said to be a "heresy," as regards the outward protestation, since by selling a gift of the Holy Ghost a man declares, in a way, that he is the owner of a spiritual gift; and this is heretical. It must, however, be observed that Simon Magus, besides wishing the apostles to sell him a grace of the Holy Ghost for money, said that the world was not created by God, but by some heavenly power, as Isidore states (Etym. viii, 5): and so for this reason simoniacs are reckoned with other heretics, as appears from Augustine's book on heretics.
2. As stated above (Question [58], Article [4]), justice, with all its parts, and consequently all the opposite vices, is in the will as its subject. Hence simony is fittingly defined from its relation to the will. This act is furthermore described as "express," in order to signify that it proceeds from choice, which takes the principal part in virtue and vice. Nor does everyone sin against the Holy Ghost that sins from choice, but only he who chooses sin through contempt of those things whereby man is wont to be withdrawn from sin, as stated above (Question [14], Article [1]).
3. The kingdom of heaven is said to be bought when a man gives what he has for God's sake. But this is to employ the term "buying" in a wide sense, and as synonymous with merit: nor does it reach to the perfect signification of buying, both because neither "the sufferings of this time," nor any gift or deed of ours, "are worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us" (Rm 8,18), and because merit consists chiefly, not in an outward gift, action or passion, but in an inward affection.
4. Simon the magician wished to buy a spiritual power in order that afterwards he might sell it. For it is written (I, qu. iii [*Can. Salvator]), that "Simon the magician wished to buy the gift of the Holy Ghost, in order that he might make money by selling the signs to be wrought by him." Hence those who sell spiritual things are likened in intention to Simon the magician: while those who wish to buy them are likened to him in act. Those who sell them imitate, in act, Giezi the disciple of Eliseus, of whom we read (2R 5,20-24) that he received money from the leper who was healed: wherefore the sellers of spiritual things may be called not only "simoniacs" but also "giezites."
5. The terms "buying" and "selling" cover all kinds of non-gratuitous contracts. Wherefore it is impossible for the exchange or agency of prebends or ecclesiastical benefices to be made by authority of the parties concerned without danger of committing simony, as laid down by law [*Cap. Quaesitum, de rerum Permutat.; cap. Super, de Transact.]. Nevertheless the superior, in virtue of his office, can cause these exchanges to be made for useful or necessary reasons.
6. Even as the soul lives by itself, while the body lives through being united to the soul; so, too, certain things are spiritual by themselves, such as the sacraments and the like, while others are called spiritual, through adhering to those others. Hence (I, qu. iii, cap. Siquis objecerit) it is stated that "spiritual things do not progress without corporal things, even as the soul has no bodily life without the body."
7. The Pope can be guilty of the vice of simony, like any other man, since the higher a man's position the more grievous is his sin. For although the possessions of the Church belong to him as dispenser in chief, they are not his as master and owner. Therefore, were he to accept money from the income of any church in exchange for a spiritual thing, he would not escape being guilty of the vice of simony. In like manner he might commit simony by accepting from a layman moneys not belonging to the goods of the Church.

Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.98 a.3