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I heard this phrase in the GTA San Andreas game. Sounds pretty offensive, nonetheless I don't really get what he meant to say. The context was something like:

  • "Hey do you wanna make some money?"

  • "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"

Here's the video with CJ saying this phrase.

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9  
Are bears Catholic? –  Peter Shor Jun 7 '11 at 20:57
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+1, I love GTA:SA. Could you please tell us where exactly was the phrase? I finished the game many times and I don't remember this at all, rofl. –  RiMMER Jun 7 '11 at 21:05
    
It is a shame that an expression with such potential has such a mundane meaning. I would otherwise have taken it to mean that there was a remote possibility of the questioner's hoped-for answer being correct, but the likelihood was small. –  Charlotte Farley Jun 8 '11 at 1:47
    
i edited to include a link to the video –  Elijah Saounkine Jun 8 '11 at 5:12
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Do popes shit bears? Are the woods catholic? –  Matt Эллен Jun 8 '11 at 14:12
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3 Answers

up vote 47 down vote accepted

It is a mixture of two sayings meaning the same thing, mixed together for comedy value:

Is the Pope Catholic?

Do bears sh*t in the woods?

Obviously, the point is that the answer to both questions is obviously "yes".

UPDATED- As Tim correctly points out, the deliberate irony is that the actual answer to this question is presumably "no" (although he does have a wood nearby...).

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14  
In the UK we have another saying in the Same vein "Does Judith Chalmers own a passport?" Of course being the host of a travel program then answer again must be yes. My friends and I took the mash-up one step further to say: "Does Judith Chalmers Sh** on the Pope" –  Matt Wilko Jun 7 '11 at 9:42
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@Tim - Oh? Do you know the Pope personally? –  Dan Hanly Jun 7 '11 at 10:31
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@Tim, That's what you'd think. It's also a possible mixture on "Does the Pope wear a silly hat?" –  Django Reinhardt Jun 7 '11 at 13:36
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@Matt: You in the UK might have that saying. I in the UK have never heard it, and apart from context would probably not understand it. –  Colin Fine Jun 7 '11 at 13:42
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@Tim, that is also what makes it funny. –  Amanda Jun 7 '11 at 16:32
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It's a mash-up of two very popular phrases: "Is the pope Catholic?" (well, of course he is!) and "does a bear shit in the woods?" (where else would he do it?)

It's a humorous but very rude way to say "Of course - why would you even ask?"

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Urban dictionary has a sensible explanation:

This is a sarcastic answer to a question with an obvious answer of "yes." Taken as a combination of the similarly-intended ones, "Does a bear shit in the woods?" and "Is the Pope Catholic?"

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protected by RegDwigнt Jun 7 '11 at 16:46

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