The penalty is forfeiture by the offender of any advantage from the simoniacal transaction, of his patronage by the patron, of his benefice by the presentee; and now by the Benefices Act 1892, a person guilty of simony is guilty of an offence for which he may be proceeded against under the Clergy Discipline Act 1892.
By the early constitutions of the Church of England a bishop was allowed a space of two months to inquire and inform himself of the sufficiency of every presentee, but by the ninety-fifth of the canons of 1604 that interval has been abridged to twenty-eight days, within which the bishop must admit or reject the clerk.
After the bishop or his commissary has instituted the presentee, he issues a mandate under seal, addressed to the archdeacon or some other neighbouring clergyman, authorizing him to induct the clerk into his benefice, - in other words, to put him into legal possession of the temporalities, which is done by some outward form, and for the most part by delivery of the bell-rope to the clerk, who thereupon tolls the bell.
Besides the qualifications required of a presentee by canon law, such as being of the canonical age, and in priest's orders before admission, sufficient learning and proper orthodoxy or morals, the Benefices Act requires that a year shall have elapsed since a transfer of the right of patronage, unless it can be shown that such transfer was not made in view of a probable vacancy; that the presentee has been a deacon for three years; and that he is not unfit for the discharge of his duties by reason of physical or mental infirmity or incapacity, grave pecuniary embarrassment, grave misconduct or neglect of duty in an ecclesiastical office, evil life, or conduct causing grave scandal concerning his moral character since his ordination, or being party to an illegal agreement with regard to the presentation; that notice of the presentation has been given to the parish of the benefice.
The act also gives to both patron and presentee an alternative mode of appeal against a bishop's refusal to institute or admit, except on a ground of doctrine or ritual, to a court composed of an archbishop of the province and a judge of the High Court nominated for that purpose by the lord chancellor, a course which, however, bars resort being had to the ordinary suits of duplex querela or action of quare impedit.
In case of refusal of one presentee, a lay patron may present another, and a clerical patron may do so after an unsuccessful appeal against the refusal.
Knox was called to preach the sermon at the admission of one of them, John Douglas, to the archbishopric of St Andrews, and while he denounced both patron and presentee for the corrupt bargain they had made, he did not protest against the office of bishop as contrary to the constitution of the church.
A melancholy catalogue of forced settlements marks the annals of the church from 1749 to 1780, and wherever an unpopular presentee was settled the people quietly left the Establishment and erected a meeting-house.
Under the Benefices Act 1898 the official principal of the archbishop is required to institute a presentee to a benefice if the tribunal constituted under that act decides that there is no valid ground for refusing institution and the bishop of the diocese notwithstanding fails to institute him.
The Scottish Benefices Act of Lord Aberdeen, 1843, gave the people power to state objections personal to a presentee, and bearing on his fitness for the particular charge to which he was presented, and also authorized the presbytery in dealing with the objections to look to the number and character of the objectors.