Simony was the act of selling church offices and roles.
Sort of like selling someone a priesthood rather than making them go through the whole thing of actually going through seminary. Or giving a really big donor the position of “Bishop”. Or it could be something as simple as offering a spiritual reward in exchange for services rendered and/or as a retainer for future services. Trafficking for money in “spiritual things”.
Originally named after Simon Magus, who offered some of the disciples some money for the ability to impart the power of the Holy Ghost.
Luckily, now, we know things don’t work that way.
Indulgences were “a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins.”
My understanding of indulgences in the absolute best way they could be spun was that they were a way to deal with uncertainty for the future. I mean, if you were going to go a couple of weeks (or months) before seeing a priest again, you’d want to make sure that your confessions were all caught up. You wouldn’t want to die unconfessed, after all, so you’d cover the stuff that was likely to happen between now and your next scheduled confession as a way to cover your backside. Hey, people died *ALL THE TIME*. People sinned all the time. You didn’t want to die unconfessed.
Of course, that could turn into “how much for two fornications, one burglary, and three drunkennesses?”
That eventually evolved into “yeah, yeah, here’s your bag of gold, see you next month” and, on the other side, “hey, you were caught in adultery and then caught lying about it and let me check the chart… that’s two florins and a groat.”
At the worst, it turned into “we’re trying to build a cathedral… hey, let’s have a sale! This year only: half-off fornication!”
Martin Luther did a good job of stomping that lump in the carpet down back in the early 1500’s.
Of course, there are now a bunch of things that used to be sins that we all know aren’t really sins (sloth, gluttony, usury, so on) but I’m more meditating on the sins that can’t be committed anymore, because we no longer have the infrastructure required to commit them.
Good riddance, I suppose.