Do Aliens Exist? Here’s What Pope Francis and Vatican Astronomers Have to Say

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Since time immemorial, man has gazed at the night sky looking at the vast Creation of God before him that illuminates the Cosmos and wondered what is beyond the boundary that transcends all men and women on Earth. Today, modern science has led a fierce search across our universe looking for any evidence of extraterrestrial life. None thus far has been found, but the ultimate alien question is still up in the air. While the Church has never issued a formal statement, here’s what Pope Francis and Vatican astronomers have said on the matter.

“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” – John 10:16

It might surprise you that for such a transcendent question, early Christians and the Church Fathers never speculated about the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Early Christians held a geocentric worldview that meant anything extra terram, apart from earth and water, must have lived in the air and thus would have been a spirit of some form – not an alien life. The only tangentially related belief held by some early Christians on is that the seven planets (the sun, moon, and five visible planets) were of rational minds because their circular motion was too consequential not to be of rational origin.

Fast forward a thousand years, and Proposition 27 issued by Bishop Etienne Tempier of Paris in 1277 sparked speculation about other worlds – and life unlike our own. Proposition 27 condemned the Aristotelian position that “the first cause cannot make more than one world” as heretical. While the condemnation was meant to simply affirm God’s omnipotence, it opened the door for intense theological discussions of the implication of otherworldly life. Nicholas of Cusa writes in 1440:

“Life, as it exists here on earth in the form of men, animals, and plants, is to be found, let us suppose, in a higher form in the solar and stellar region.”

Almost another millennium later, the question and its answer are still being debated today. When asked for his take, Pope Francis commented on the possibility of rational beings elsewhere in the universe:

“Honestly I wouldn’t know how to answer. Until America was discovered we thought it didn’t exist, and instead it existed. But in every case, I think that we should stick to what the scientists tell us, still aware that the Creator is infinitely greater than our knowledge.”

However, Pope Francis is sure of one thing about aliens. If they came to Earth and asked to be baptized, he would no qualms about doing so.

“If tomorrow an expedition of Martians came to us here and one said ‘I want to be baptised!’, what would happen? Martians, right? Green, with long noses and big ears, like in children’s drawings. When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way.’ Who are we to close doors?”

Guy Consolmagno, one of the Vatican’s chief astronomers, would do the same, but “only if they asked,” because “any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.” However, Consolmagno also said while he would be “delighted,” the reality is that the odds of actually finding extraterrestrial life, let alone such a being requesting baptism, are slim to none.

“The odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it, when you add them up it’s probably not a practical question.”

Similarly, Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory believes that if we did find alien life we should consider them an “extraterrestrial brother” in God’s Creation. Such a possibility is not in conflict with the Faith according to him “because we cannot place limits on the creative freedom of God.”

Father Funes also believes if alien life were found, they may not need God’s redemption.

“We who belong to the human race could really be that lost sheep, the sinners who need a pastor. God became man in Jesus in order to save us. So if there are also other intelligent beings, it’s not a given that they need redemption. They might have remained in full friendship with their creator.”

Comments

7 COMMENTS

  1. Look at my Instagram site and see there are aliens in pictures. God asked me to travel to Mexico City as HIS Prophet and turn on GeoTag for pictures with my Blackberry cellphone and take pictures of people on the street and in churches I came upon and at museum of archaeology. There is not only aliens standing among the people but a rabbit the height of a man’s waist wearing trousers and so I posted these all on Instagram for all to see. One picture is the coffin of a wax Jesus and in picture is corpse decomposing which Is Jesus to PROVE He LIVED and will Live again. The flesh is but a shell and the Soul is eternal and has next lifetimes so we can Live again. God Bless You

  2. […] Hattrup Cardinal Nichols: There was Goodness in Cardinal O’Brien’s Life – Catholic Herald Do Aliens Exist? Here’s What the Pope & the Vatican Astronomers Have to Say – B Ryan How Do Penance & Mortification Differ? – Fr. John Bartunek L.C., Cthlc […]

  3. Mankind is amazing in his arrogance, assuming that we are the only form of life in the universe. When one considers the mess and destruction we have created we can only fervently hope there are other more decent life forms out there.

  4. Does Mr. Consolmagno’s quote actually agree with Catholic teaching? We have been told not to tell children that pets are in heaven because they do not have souls. Your quote from Mr. Consolmagno is that “any entity … has a soul.” I am not arguing, just trying to get to the truth of the church’s teaching. (Forgive me if this is taken out of context.)

  5. For me and this is the first of my ideas, if there is life in other planets they will be of the animal type like animals, birds, fish insects, etc. and plants. My second idea is, if there are rational beings out there then they will have to tested like Adam and Eve. Because the final wish of the Creator is that these rational beings share the happiness of God in heaven. If they failed, does this mean that God will also send His Son to them to purchase their salvation? I don’t think so. Therefore, there are no rational beings out there, only animals and plants.

  6. Our belief in extraterrestrias (ET), has been brought upon a bombardment of Hollywood humanising them through ET, Star Wars etc, have brought us to the belief that they exist. When various scientific institutions such as as the Smithsonian institute encourages “looking to the stars”, they don’t encourage learning science, astronomy, their themes are about human-like creatures somewhere in the deep dark galaxy. Even a scientifically smart man like Stephen Hawking was dabbling on the matter and others like him.
    There are some good sources on YouTube by Catholic Priests who talk on the matter. They draw from various sources about how there are parallels between people who have encounters with aliens and those who experience demonic possession and their similarities. Angelus magazine about twelve years ago had a good article on this subject. I also happen to buy a two volume book writtenby Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerick on the prphecies relating to Our Lord and the Catholic churchin the future. She speaks about, what she calls planetary spirits and who are malign in nature. There is alot of information out there regarding this matter. Don’t forget that us , as humans are unique, Our Lord Jesus Christ took on our human nature, no other, save his divine nature. Below us are the plants and the animals and above us are the angels. God Bless

  7. To begin with, I am an orthodox dogmatist at heart. So it may surprise you that I agree with the author, Billy Ryan. Further, this opinion is based largely on my orthodox dogmatic theology.

    I agree with the possibility of alien life because of a fundamental tenet of our Faith: God is omnipotent (CCC268). He can do anything and this is not contingent upon our ability to understand Him or His actions or, for that matter, anything else external to the Godhead. Indeed the Faith is replete with actions taken by God which are beyond our understanding; Transubstantion, Holy Trinity, Paschal Mystery, etc.

    The Catholic Church enjoys status as the depository of the complete revelation of God’s Word (Dei verbum 8). However, although complete, what we have deals with humankind and this earth; other places, if there are such, would most likely have a separate history and are not, necessarily,
    germane to the revelation involving our salvation history..

    From another angle, Scripture has references to unexplained “others”: e.g., the passage in the Gospel of John, cited by the author, as well as others including Genesis 6,4 and Numbers 13, 33 in the OT. Perhaps these are veiled revelations (windows, if you will) to inhabitants of (an)other world(s).

    At any rate, I’m with Pope Francis on this. We just don’t know, but the possibilities are there and it’s best, in this arena, to await pronouncments from the scientific community. I also agree with his statements on Baptism bccause, we may not know if aliens exist, but we can be dead certain Who created them if they do.

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