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Wow. I really never thought I’d see the day.

But how does this square with the Bible?

From the AP:

VATICAN CITY – Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

“How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?” Funes said. “Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘a brother,’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’? It would still be part of creation.”

Sure, it would still be part of creation, but not the “creation story”…which focuses specifically on Earth.

But hey, whatever…I’m sure if aliens land they’ll figure out some way to justify it with a few passages here and there.

And to that point…

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom, he said.

Okay, so what about all that “created in his image” stuff? Would the Vatican look at intelligent life forms like they would a dog or a cat?

Also…do they know something we don’t? Obviously I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy nut, but why come out with this now?

Could this have anything to do with NASA’s announcement today?

WASHINGTON — NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.

More as it develops…

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m pretty sure that any extraterrestrial life with the capacity to travel in space would have the good sense to steer clear of us for at least another millennium or two.

    Unless of course they wanted to conquer us… dun dun duuuuunnnnnn!!!

  2. You know,just because the Vatican and the Southern Baptist Convention are both leadership groups of Christian denominations, it doesn’t mean that they believe the same things. For decades now, the Catholic Church has accepted evolution as scientific fact and that Genesis is an allegorical story. Unlike the evangelical denominations, the Catholic Church does not believe that the Bible is complete literal truth. The Catholic Church believes that the universe is as incomprehendibly vast as science claims that it is; it’s natrual to draw the conclusions that God may have created live elsewhere. The more interesting theological question is not if God created life elsewhere, but if Jesus has been to more than one planet.

    The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical research groups in the world. It was created centuries ago out of a need to maintain a calendar and fix dates for religious observances but has continued since then, operating research facilities in Italy and Arizona. The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope is perhaps the most advanced telescope of its size ever made. These aren’t just crazy theologians spouting off on things they know nothing about. These are actual scientists.

    Gallileo was nearly four centuries ago. It’s time to move on.

  3. Mr. Gardner obviously knows nothing about the Catholic Church’s teachings. The Church doesn’t teach (and hasn’t for a long time) that the Bible can only be interpreted literally. In other words, some/most Catholic scholars take certain parts to be allegory. This is especially true with the creation story. Mr. Gardner must have been thinking of fundamentalists who hold the Bible to be interpreted literally when he wrote this post.

  4. Nelson,

    First, these are what ifs.

    Second, I never said the Catholic church teaches a fundamentalist view, but large numbers of Catholics take the creation story literally, as well as Jesus’ ascension, so please don’t pretend they don’t. And wasn’t it just a short time ago that the church actually conceded that transubstantiation wasn’t real?

    Third, why don’t you answer some of the questions instead of trying to discredit me?

  5. I have no problem with a secular scientist making a statement about extra terrestrial intelligence. That is a scientific issue to be dealt with by scientists. However to have a spokesman for the Catholic Church say that belief in extra terrestrial intelligence does not contradict our Christian faith raises some fundamental questions in my mind.

    1) Do these beings have souls? Are they ‘created in Gods image’ and know the difference between right and wrong as humanity does, or are they intelligent but soulless beasts. If he believes this I think he should say so.

    2) If however they do have souls, what does the Cross at Calvary mean? Did the one and only Son of God die on the cross for humanity AND for them? If He died to remove the penalty of their sin, do they know about it? If so how? Or did the Son of God sacrifice Himself multiple times across the universe?

    Perhaps the Rev. has answered these questions and the press has not reported his answers yet but this inquiring mind would like to know.

    Tom

  6. And wasn’t it just a short time ago that the church actually conceded that transubstantiation wasn’t real?

    This is totally and completely incorrect and insultingly so, even though I don’t believe you meant it to be insulting — it does evidence an ignorance of Catholicism.

  7. “Third, why don’t you answer some of the questions instead of trying to discredit me?”

    “Okay, so what about all that “created in his image” stuff? Would the Vatican look at intelligent life forms like they would a dog or a cat?”

    Allegory. I said that in my response. God has no form or any form, we’re primates and can’t change that. But He also has free will and so do we. The Church cites the Biblical passage about men having dominion over beasts as far as dogs and cats goes. Although, if they were to one day show intelligence and free will and speak to us (like planet of the apes) the view may change and the Church would probably try to convert the former pets into Christians. The Church is about finding Truth and that may come from varying sources: The Bible, observation and reason (a.k.a. science), and tradition (knowledge that is passed on through generations but doesn’t reside in the Bible).

    “Also…do they know something we don’t? Obviously I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy nut, but why come out with this now?”

    Yes. The the pope is secretly hiding aliens in St. Peter’s basement. Don’t tell anyone.

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