RATS IN THE RECTORY! Of priests and rodents

I posted about the issue of the Hamster on the sidebar (yes, I actually wrote that sentence).

Now I read about another priest with a rodent problem: rats in the rectory (yes, I wrote that too and I can already hear the arm-chair comedians around the planet revving up).

Over at the blog southern orders read about the plague of rats, yes, in the rectory.

At that blog, Father Allan McDonald wrote:

I want to know if there is an exorcism prayer for rats!

Why, yes!  Fr. McDonald, there is indeed a deprecatory prayer against rats.

Father, this is your chance to becoming even more familiar with the glory and utility of the uneviscerated Roman Rite.

In the meantime, read THIS.

You can find the deprecatory prayer against rats and other vermin in the pre-Conciliar Rituale Romanum, which is in English on the site of Sancta Missa.  The prayer is in Titulus IX – Caput IX – No. 27. Benedictio Deprecatoria contra mures, locustas, bruchos, vermes, et alia animalia nociva.

I think you should use the LATIN because Latin is the language most hated by rats, both those with Roman collars and those who only have fur.


(mice and rats, locusts, worms, etc.)

The priest vests in surplice and purple stole, and coming to the field or place infested with these creatures, says:

Antiphon: Arise, Lord, help us; and deliver us for your kindness’ sake.

Ps 43.1: O God, our ears have heard, our fathers have declared to us.

All: Glory be to the Father.
P: As it was in the beginning.

All Ant.: Arise, Lord, help us; and deliver us for your kindness’ sake.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

We entreat you, Lord, be pleased to hear our prayers; and even though we rightly deserve, on account of our sins, this plague of mice (or locusts, worms, etc. Insert rats, here… or liberals, if it is a rectory.  No, wait.  This is a rectory.  Make that, chancery.), yet mercifully deliver us for your kindness’ sake. Let this plague be expelled by your power, and our land and fields be left fertile, so that all it produces redound to your glory and serve our necessities; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.
Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, the donor of all good things, and the most merciful pardoner of our sins; before whom all creatures bow down in adoration, those in heaven, on earth, and below the earth; preserve us sinners by your might, that whatever we undertake with trust in your protection may meet with success by your grace. And now as we utter a curse on these noxious pests, may they be cursed by you; as we seek to destroy them, may they be destroyed by you; as we seek to exterminate them, may they be exterminated by you; so that delivered from this plague by your goodness, we may freely offer thanks to your majesty; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

I cast out you noxious vermin, by God + the Father almighty, by Jesus + Christ, His only-begotten Son, and by the Holy + Spirit. May you speedily be banished from our land and fields, [rectories, … chanceries, …] lingering here no longer, but passing on to places where you can do no harm. In the name of the almighty God and the entire heavenly court, as well as in the name of the holy Church of God, we pronounce a curse on you, that wherever you go you may be cursed, decreasing from day to day until you are obliterated. Let no remnant of you remain anywhere, except what might be necessary for the welfare and use of mankind. Be pleased to grant our request, you who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.

All: Amen.

The places infested are sprinkled with holy water.

UPDATE: 1 Aug 2131 GMT:

From the blog and rectory having the rat problem.

Thanks Fr. Z, our parochial vicar, Fr. Justin Ferguson and I will wear copes and birettas for this rite of exorcism, use volumes holy water and fumigate with incense the entire house!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Amy MEV says:

    Come now, what would St. Martin de Porres do? ;-)

  2. Henry Belton says:

    JF Powers wrote a great short story where two priests hunt a mouse in the rectory basement.

  3. shadowlands says:

    “I posted about the issue of the Hamster on the sidebar”

    I hadn’t even realised the hamster was pregnant!!

  4. Central Valley says:

    WOW!! Fr. Z, I can see where a prayer like that could have two and four legged rodents running and jumping from pastoral centers/Chanceries around the world, especially in California…..

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I have three cats. Is the secular answer?

  6. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m giving this to our pest control guy.

    We have rats in the attic. We have far fewer rats in the attic than we used to have, thanks to the Orkin Man and my simultaneous efforts with hav-a-hart traps and a bucket of water, plus the cat and dogs. When my now-a-U.S.-Marine son was home, he did his bit with his pellet gun and a laser sight – I paid a bounty of $5 per rat. He would come out of the crawlspace with lots of mud and rats, and I paid up promptly and in cash.

    The only way to completely prevent rats is to stop every hole and corner where they might enter. This is an old house, with several additions and lots of places for rats to squeeze in (did you know they can flatten themselves out to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter?) We try to stop them with hardware cloth and caulk, but . . . usually we dispatch one or two a month.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father . . . is that Bishop Hatto and the rats? [Yes.]

    We read about him in German I, way back in junior high.

  8. AnnaTrad51 says:

    Would it work on these confounded ants? I can see Father coming all the way over to use an exorcism prayer for an ant infestation :-).

  9. TNCath says:

    Another reason why we need a diocesan exterminator in every diocese so that when these issues occur, he can go to the afflicted rectory and intone, “Aspergeamus!” of “Let us spray!”

  10. medievalist says:

    The clause, “before whom all creatures bow down in adoration”, does not really, by definition, apply to the liberals.

  11. Supertradmum says:


    I had an ant infestation and sewed up a few moth balls in cotton bags, which I made. I put the bags where the ants were and they stopped coming in within one day.

  12. paul_leone says:

    There ought to be similar blessings against Internet trolls/stalkers and malware these days.

  13. This prayer “works”! We had an infestation of some kind or other of insects and I offered this deprecatory prayer with holy water and they were gone in a day or so.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    nazareth priest,

    Does a priest have to say the prayer, as it is a minor exorcism, and not laypeople?

  15. FrFenton says:

    I looked at that the other day….are we allowed to insert the pest of our choice? I was blessing the house of a woman who had been mauled by a pit bull. The dog won’t return. He got mauled by her husband’s shotgun! Anyway, I thought of inserting dogs. I’ve also thought about this prayer for roaches.

  16. mdsmelser says:

    I guess prayers against vermin and rats must mean it was a common problem.

    The fable of the Cruel Bishop made me think of this:

    Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men.
    -G K Chesterton

  17. The Egyptian says:

    where will we find enough Holy Water to sprinkle all of Washington DC. Would Ma Pelousie squeal I’m melting I’m melting?

  18. joan ellen says:

    An exorcism for Rats in the Rectory! Does it work for Bats in the Belfry also? Just asking. Sorry, Father.

  19. LarryD says:

    This reminds me of the story of the bishop who had a rat problem in his Church, and despite many attempts to exterminate them, they still infested the Church. Then he had the ingenious idea of giving them all the sacrament of Confirmation – and they were all gone by the following week!

    ba-duh-dum! Thanks, I’ll be here all week, and don’t forget to try the Coq au Vin!

  20. So what is the formal version for spiritual rats, the much more deadly kind of pests?

  21. uptoncp says:

    Hang on:

    P: The Lord be with you.
    All: May He also be with you.


  22. oddfisher says:

    LarryD–Heard the same joke about a Rabbi and a Bar Mitzveh. :)

  23. Iconophilios says:

    Padre, skunks are actually mustelids, which is the group of mammals that includes weasels (not of the journalist variety).

  24. wanda says:

    Padre Steve, Ugh, now have to go look for the Pepto-Bismol.

  25. Padre Steve says:

    Sorry Wanda, I couldn’t resist! Iconophilios I stand corrected!

  26. Alice says:

    “Section One: Rats
    Subheading: Infestation
    Rodent population in an urban area”

  27. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Fr Amorth, in his two very excellent books on exorcism, impressed upon me that the laity puts itself in danger when saying the words of exorcism. These types of ‘orders’ should only be said by priests, who have the power and authority to command such things even in minor prayers. [This is a deprecatory prayer, not an exorcism.]

  28. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Say, I really like these prayers! Amazing how specific are the old rituals – must be some sort of power in being specific like that, huh.

    I wonder if these are the words St Patrick used to drive the snakes out of Ireland?

  29. jaykay says:

    Tina… speaking as one living in Ireland, it would seen that the snakes made a re-migration into the Church here over the last 40 years or so :) But I’m wondering if the pest exorcism prayer might also help with the hampster-induced problem on the blogsite?

  30. This is a deprecatory prayer and not an exorcism.

  31. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Fr Z: Great! And no pesticide residue either

  32. Tina: On the theory that we should work on our problems with both grace and elbow grease, I would use both.

  33. Mark R says:

    We have a humane trap for our little rats…my wife is an animal lover and I just don’t feel like cleaning up blood. We live on the edge of a wilderness style park, but I let the six ones I caught in four years out in a park on the other side of town. In either place, there are owls and eagles to take care of what we don’t have the heart to do.

  34. Narwen1 says:

    As the owner of three rats, I would like to protest the linking of their species with heretical shenanigans. Rats get enough bad press as it is !

  35. Han says:

    This reminds me of the old joke about the town with the Episcopalian, Baptist and Catholic churches in it, all of which had bats in the belfry that needed to be removed. The Episcopalians called the exterminator, but the bats came back. The Baptist minister prayed really hard, but the bats came back. However, in the Catholic church, bats did not come back. The protestant ministers then went to the Catholic church and asked the priest, “What did you do to get rid of your bats.” The priest replied, “Well, I baptized them, I confirmed them, and I never saw them again.”

  36. AnAmericanMother says:

    LOL, Han.

    The way I heard it was “I baptized and confirmed them, and now I only see them at Christmas and Easter.”

  37. GirlCanChant says:

    A priest I know told me that about a woman who found it very interesting that that Year of the Priest coincided with the Year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar. I’m not sure where she made a connection.

    Also, I’m back from my mission trip and very happy to have the internet (at work, at least)!

  38. Jane says:

    I suggest blessed St. Benedict medals to get rid of the rats. Some stories of how the St. Benedict Medal was successfully used, are in my free online book at:


    I will put my message in poetry.

    Rats in the rectory

    There are rats and mice in the rectory
    They were sent by hell
    Put down blessed Saint Benedict medals
    And these nasties he’ll expell !

  39. shin says:

    Ah, I love this thing. ‘Deprecatory blessing’ indeed.

    I keep hunting for things like this and filing them away. Someday.. Heheh.. Someday…

    Our Catholic priests might be often giving some surprising ‘blessings’ indeed to help the faithful.

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