"The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office is seriously alarmed about the ever growing practice of
so called artificial onanism, which consists in having recourse to the use of various chemical and mechanical
devices to rob the natural act of generation of its power to beget new life." --Canon Law Digest, v. 5, p.
Initially, having taken 'onanism' in its more common current usage - i.e., masturbation - I thought, "How forward
looking of the Catholic Church! Already concerned about sex toys such as vibrators, inflatable dolls, etc. taking the
place of "lie back and think of England" sex in 1955! Wow!" Then I remembered who Onan was (look it up, says the
librarian sternly, looking over her specs), and realised that it was about artificial birth control such as condoms, etc.,
rather than, as a good male friend put it, "getting off at Gateshead." *Sigh* All that excitement of discovery for
And, unusual for canon law, I found a very ambiguous dedication at the beginning of v. 2:
"To the queen of the Society of Jesus"
To quote many of my teachers: Be specific.