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Vatican: It's OK to Believe in Aliens

Vatican: It's OK to Believe in Aliens. That's the headline. 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 in the Associated Press.

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."

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.

The interview, headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother," covered a variety of topics including the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and science, and the theological implications of the existence of alien life.

Funes said science, especially astronomy, does not contradict religion, touching on a theme of Pope Benedict XVI, who has made exploring the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy.

The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "reasonable" explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.

But he said he continues to believe that "God is the creator of the universe and that we are not the result of chance."
So I have nothing smart-alecky to say here. I would ask him why he felt the need to discuss this in the press. Was it to get press attention for the upcoming X-files movie.

Also, why is that anytime someone even loosely associated with the Vatican says anything, the press feels perfectly at ease attributing their quote as "The Vatican?"

Now, of course, we cannot limit God. But someone should limit this guy talking to the press.

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15 comments:

John Hetman said...

Why did we need the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, to tell us all this about "intelligent" alien life, when Dennis Kucinich has been saying the same thing for years? Not to mention Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Anonymous said...

Matthew,

To speculate an answer to your first question on why he felt the need to talk about this: he was probably asked. Apparently, the interview covered a wide variety of topics on the matter of the relationship between science and religion. The question of extraterrestrial life is certainly pertinent to that relationship. I suspect the interviewer asked him and he gave a straightforward answer.

In any case, a secular journalist wanted to interview someone on the relationship between science and religion. He could have called Richard Dawkins. Instead, he called on the Director of the Vatican Observatory. Isn't that good news?

It seems to me that Fr. Funes gave a perfectly reasonable answer to a legitimate question. Why should someone limit his talking to the press?

Bob Hunt

Anonymous said...

I agree that the "big bang" doesn't contradict the Bible. It just says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth: it doesn't describe the event in any detail. I would also agree that the hypothetical existence of aliens wouldn't contradict our faith, but come on, why do we need to worry about aliens when we don't even know whether they exist or not? (Personally I doubt it, but I don't know everything). Isn't there plenty to worry about here on earth? Charity begins at home. Any Jesuit, even a liberation theologist, can understand that. Furthermore, I wouldn't worry too much about what to do about any aliens that we might run across, because as any rational person knows, that is not going to happen in our lifetime. But the press have a taste for the absurd: the more riduculous the item, the more coverage it gets. Kit

mfranks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mfranks said...

This is embarrassing for sure... Perhaps it’s time for an encyclical on the matter... :P

matthew archbold said...

Bob, the problem is that the press goes to these people in order to distort what they say. This is wy we ended up with the "Seven New Deadly Sins" and the "Ten Commandments of Driving." Remember those?
The press should be handled with care.

Anonymous said...

Matthew,

I understand your point, but I don't see that that happened here, at least not in the AP version of the interview.

Also, I apologize for my mis-reading. On closer reading, I see that the interview was conducted by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. It was later picked up by the secular press.

Many in the secular press will take every opportunity to distort whatever anyone in the Church has to say, even when what is said is reasonable and consistent with Church teaching. Have you thought that maybe the reason for this is to ridicule the Church into silence, into removing herself from any serious discussion? We wouldn't want that.

Again, it seems to me that Fr. Funes was asked a legitimate question and gave a thoughtful, reasoned answer. What else can you do? The secular pres will do with it what they will. The only other alternative is silence.

Bob Hunt

matthew archbold said...

I've found that people often think I'm smarter when I stay silent.

But you're right in the sense that if we fear getting our words twisted too much we end up staying silent which is not good. But ALIENS? Aliens? You really don't have to answer that question. What's next Bigfoot? Chupacabra?

Marcel said...

Matthew - But, remember that the funny headline possibilities are endless with this one. We have a headline contest going on at our site right now. Come join us. :-)

Santiago Chiva de Agustín said...

Hello. Do you know why the young people pray the holy rosary? You can watch here fifty testimonies of young university students
(in Spanish, with english subtitles)
See it: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=YxjjyXhO9EA
It is one of the most watched videos on Youtube in May.

Santiago (Granada, Spain)
http://opinionciudadano.blogspot.com/

matthew archbold said...

Marcel,
I saw that this morning. I'm still trying to think of something funny.
Anyone who's creative go over to mary's aggies and show off your wit. (Mary's aggies is on our blogroll.)

WillyJ said...

The selected topic sells, that's it. The interview apparently covered other ranges of topics that would be too boring to report. The story itself contained very few select quotes, around which the secular reporter spun a very interesting piece. Wise guys, they always do it.

Anonymous said...

As Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney might say, "This reminds me of a song!"

"And if there's life on other planets
Then I'm sure that He must know,
And He's been there once already
And He's died to save their souls."

--Larry Norman

Bob Hunt

Jesuit John said...

http://www.whynotnews.eu/images/Exposing-Jesuit-Order.jpg

Don't be fooled! The Jesuits run the Vatican observatory and know about the future alien colonization of earth!

http://www.companionofjesus.com

ok, just kidding...

matthew archbold said...

Or is he?

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