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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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ONANISM

Theological term for contraception. The name is derived from Onan, son of the patriarch Judah. When Judah asked Onan to marry his (Onan's) brother's widow, in order to raise up progeny to his brother, Onan frustrated conception. "What he did was offensive to Yahweh, so He brought about his death also" (Genesis 38:8-10). The more popular terms for onanism are: birth control, contraception, planned parenthood, and Neo-Malthusianism.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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