I can see why Pope Francis is concerned.

After all, who knows what sort of monster one of those rabbits might turn out to be? You might need the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

[And before there are objections… yes, I know. Move on.]

Biretta tip to whomever coined “Rabbitgate”. o{]:¬)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This talk of rabbits has reminded me of a favorite dish. Believe I’ll get a couple of bunnies from the freezer and thaw them for some hasenpfeffer over the weekend!! They’ll have to marinade for three days.

  2. Y2Y says:

    “There are those who call me …… Tim”

  3. Kerry says:

    Rabbits here turn into stew.

  4. Uxixu says:

    I love that scene. Sometimes I worry I’m getting too scrupulous at the lack of… reverence in regard to the Holy Name, however.

  5. pseudomodo says:


    FEED like Rabbits! not BREED!

    I thought that was a typo…..

  6. makreitzer says:

    How about Grandma-gate relating to his comments comparing a dying Europe to grandmothers. Am I with my 23 grandchildren really a shriveled up old infertile prune lacking in vibrancy? My grandchildren don’t seem to think so. They love to come and play with Gramma and Paka!

    I wish the pope would think before he speaks. He could have compared Europe to a desert or a dried up plant. He didn’t need to insult grandmothers.

  7. wheatthatspringethgreen says:

    For those familiar with the Irish comedy Father Ted this rabbit plague immediately suggests the fate of the terrifying Bishop Brennan.

  8. RobW says:

    Funny videos. Don’t like Monte Python taking the Lord’s name in vain though.

  9. marcelus says:

    PF: “SOME say in order to be good catholics, excuse the expression, we have to be like rabbits” Exact words

    Having lot’s of kids does not make you a good catholic. Does it?

    This, talking about a woman who had had 7 cesareans, pregnant and risking leaving 7 orphans.

  10. APX says:

    Fwiw: The Pope apologized for his remarks and did not mean to hurt the feelings of mothers of large families.

  11. Mike says:

    My kids love rabbit braised with a dijon sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms.

  12. APX says:

    All this talk about rabbit is making me hungry. I think I’ll snare one of the many in my neighborhood and butcher it into something delicious. Chicken and steamed carrots is getting so…blah…

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Before I had cats, I had a house rabbit, which was kitty litter trained. Its name was Sooty Little Ears an it was coal black.

    It would run around the house and meet people at the door. Sadly, it died a long time ago.

    However, I do eat rabbit and Malta is famous for such dishes.

    I would not eat a pet, though.

    Which reminds me of a scene in “Local Hero”.

  14. iamlucky13 says:

    See also: Night of the Lepus. Dr. McCoy is trying to develop a way to keep rabbits from breeding like rabbits, but instead accidentally creates gigantic carnivorous rabbits, who proceed to eat all of the supporting cast.

    “Having lot’s of kids does not make you a good catholic. Does it?”

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but no, not inherently.

    I don’t see how the Pope’s words are a slight against large families, which I come from myself.

  15. Cody says:

    Here in Texas there are a lot of Hispanic families which are often very large. We (meaning everyone, including Hispanics) joke that when the church looks empty after communion, that was just 1 family leaving.

    While there are many pious Hispanics out there, having large families does not make them any more pious. When I taught CCE, one such student told me point blank that her dad sent her to CCE just so he could watch his TV show (“novella”) without the kids in the house.

  16. Bosco says:

    Does anyone remember a movie titled “Harvey” made in 1950 starring Jimmy Stewart? See it’s about this guy who sees an imaginary 6 foot rabbit wherever he goes and tries to convince people it’s real and…

  17. frbkelly says:

    It may be true that having lots of kids does not make one a good Catholic. But for a couple to purposely avoid having the kids God would wish to give them would make them bad Catholics.
    Especially if it was done by means of Contraception.

    Natural Family Planning is a good thing. But Supernatural Family Planning is better.

  18. lampada says:

    Responsible parenthood. Responsible parenthood means due control over appetites, so to speak. Some Catholics have the idea that one must have as many babies as one can physically produce in order to be a good Catholic. In reality, it is up to the couple to make informed decisions about their readiness for more children. The decision should weigh their own physical, mental, financial well-being and that of existing children and projected well being of the possible child. We all know cases where there are too many children and the children are neglected or the woman is treated like a brood mare and her health is in a spiral as a result of always being pregnant. A parent can be just as selfish having kids for welfare benefits as the childless couple practicing ABC for their careers.

  19. It’s striking to notice how during the 1970’s including the 1975 film, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, came the Christian West’s full scale frontal assault against the Faith. It reminds me of Pope Benedict’s words when he said, “we have passed from self-criticism, to self-destruction.” Meanwhile Islam was gaining steam to the point where they have now passed Catholicism in numbers. Indeed, 7 years ago we read the March 30, 2008 headline that “Islam overtakes Catholic population in numbers. According to the chief statistician of the Vatican, Muslims now outnumber Catholics worldwide.” With these kind of stats and the continued threat of declining Catholic Church attendance, I was needless to say alarmed that Pope Francis would remark about Catholics and their breeding habits, while clearly our population in numbers are dwindling.

  20. Gratias says:

    Pope Franciscus could have a moment of Charity and offer a kind gesture to a traditional latin rabbit family that lives our there in the peripheries and penumbras of the Reformed Catholic Church. You know, one of those families willing to drive 100 miles to worship God at the Mass that was denied them by Council Vatican II and Pope Paul VI.

    The reception at Sanctae Martae Vatican Guesthouse of Transgendered Señor Diego from Spain and his lesbian wife seemed a bit contrived in order to secure maximal approval by the worldly power of the Freemason Press. Try Oneofus next time, those that provide a good part of the donations our Gay priests who we are not to judge live on.

    Bade retro Franciscus P.P., this is the wrong track!

  21. Gratias says:

    Sorry meant Vade retro.

  22. jacobi says:


    Take all these stats, Vatican or otherwise with a very large pinch of salt. The Muslim presence, certainly in my part of the world is obvious and growing. They don’t need to blow people up, just carry on quietly occupying ground and having more children than contracepting Westerners.

    As for Catholics now being 1.2 Bn., I seem to remember when I did my Stats. I, that even the best methods had a margin of error of +/- 2%. Then, what is a Catholic? If someone who regularly attends Mass, the number of Catholics is 1.2 *0.25 Bn., or 0.24 Bn., not 1.2Bn.

    The reality is that the number of Catholics, as Benedict predicted, is falling and the quicker all including the Vatican wake up to this, the better.
    My bishop incidentally, has. In his recent letter on church closures, he mentions finance as a major factor, something you can’t argue with!

  23. JonPatrick says:

    frbkelly; “Natural Family Planning is a good thing. But Supernatural Family Planning is better.”

    I like that. It would look good on a bumper sticker (or coffee mug).

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    “All this talk about rabbit is making me hungry. I think I’ll snare one of the many in my neighborhood and butcher it into something delicious. Chicken and steamed carrots is getting so…blah…”

    Well! Chicken is never blah. It must be the carrots.

    Who wants to eat Bugs Bunny when you can have Daffy Duck?

    Seriously, I had a talk, once, with a friend of mine who is a military historian and teaches tactics at one of the military colleges. I mentioned that once the Chinese started pouring into North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, we would never have been able to win because of their sheer number, but he pointed out what McCarthy knew – at that time, much of China was rural and most farmer had, at most, a rifle with which to defend themselves. He said that we could have easily taken them (I don’t know how he factored the Atom Bomb into that calculation). Now, of course, China is near parity, or slightly past that, economically, with the United States (thanks, Bill Clinton for giving China Most Favored Nation Status and turning them into the largest owner of U. S. debt) and we could never invade them and hope to win.

    At the present time, the Islamic world is in, roughly the same boat as the 1950 – 1970 Chinese. Most people have little weaponry and could be easily taken, but if they get the Bomb or they get their hands on advanced weaponry, en masse, especially through population domination, then this game gets a whole lot more interesting.

    It doesn’t matter what stance we have on population control. If the enemy gets sufficient numbers, they will overwhelm us. At some point, either China or the Islamic states will start a war. This is almost a given, baring unforeseen circumstances, like a biological or ecological catastrophe. China has a 70/30% male dominant population because of their idiotic one child policy and women are so marginalized in Islamic countries that the ratio is, effectively, 100/0% male dominance in some sections of Islam. Males start wars, especially if they feel frustrated by lack of opportunity, fear aggression, or don’t have a sufficiently civilizing influence (thanks, feminism, or removing the civilizing influence of women, rightly understood).

    Only poor countries are above population replacement thresholds. In countries where the Catholic Church is poor, this is also true. The problem isn’t that Catholics are breeding like rabbits. The problem is that some Catholics are breeding like fat cats (colloquial expression for rich people, for non-Western readers) who have few if any children. The idiotic, truly idiotic population replacement math that demographers have concocted doesn’t take into account many factors that might affect populations. If Ebola had gone, well, viral, having 20.1 children would not have been enough to offset the loss of populations. The simple fact is that no one knows the future, except God and I read nowhere in Scripture or the teachings of the Fathers that Catholics should be listening to secular experts as to how many children to have, especially such short-sighted experts as those who came up with the 2.1 replacement number.

    How many children one has is a cooperative effort between God and man. The old tired bromide that you should never have more children than you can afford completely overlooks the nature of the Ecclesia as a corporate body. There is a real sense, by virtue of our common baptism, that your children are my children and my children are yours (if we each had children). Two children does not make one a better Catholic than the mother of no children or twenty children. One could raise 20 sinners or 20 saints, after all. We are to look after each other. You may have 20 children and no time to pray. I may have no children and hours to pray. It becomes my job to pick up the slack for you. Likewise, I might need to paint my house, but I broke my hip. Send 5 of your kids to do it, for me.

    I am convinced that if Catholics would really turn to God in their hearts in a clear and proper fashion, any problems with population would work themselves out by God’s providence. Instead, we get secular experts, who have no faith, no hope, that a higher power than their poor light is at work in the world giving us guidance. I have nothing against demographics. I have a lot against a faithless demographics, however.

    The Chicken

  25. Sonshine135 says:

    Rabbits are highly intelligent and easily trainable. They are also pretty darn cute. That pretty much describes me as a Catholic- Intelligent, trainable, and amenable to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pretty darn cute? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

    In conclusion, I take being called a rabbit, even by the Pope, as a badge of honor.

  26. Sonshine135 says:

    Oh, and “bless this thy hand grenade, that it may blow thine enemies into tiny bits….In thy mercy.”

  27. gloriamary says:

    Well, this coming from a dried up grandmother who had her children by c-section, who is a rosary counting, creed reciting, Latin Mass attending neopalagian…I sure am glad the Holy Father doesn’t judge anyone.

  28. Charles E Flynn says:

    I wonder if the book containing the instructions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is illuminated in both black and red.

  29. Per Signum Crucis says:

    Not taking The Holy Name in vain notwithstanding, the Pythons’ ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred’ sketch from their later film ‘The Meaning of Life’ is also relevant to this thread.

    As for a more recent ‘Night of the Lepus’ offshoot, try Wallace and Gromit’s ‘Curse of the Were-Rabbit’…

  30. Neal says:

    Hi Mr. Chicken,
    Is that your way of volunteering to look after my kids on a regular basis, and maybe slip some cash my way to help with food and clothing? Because that would be fantastic, and also very, very unusual.

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Hi Mr. Chicken,
    Is that your way of volunteering to look after my kids on a regular basis, and maybe slip some cash my way to help with food and clothing? Because that would be fantastic, and also very, very unusual”

    Sure, if you don’t mind them clucking and pecking and having the urge to leap off of tall buildings. Oh, and I’m going to need a supply of birdseed, a fence, and a pair of wire-cutters.

    The Chicken

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