Vatican astronomer says if aliens exist, they may not need redemption
Quote:VATICAN-ALIENS May-14-2008 (540 words) xxxi

Vatican astronomer says if aliens exist, they may not need redemption

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If aliens exist, they may be a different life form that does not need Christ's redemption, the Vatican's chief astronomer said.

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said Christians should consider alien life as an "extraterrestrial brother" and a part of God's creation.

Father Funes, an Argentine named to his position by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, made the remarks in an interview published May 13 by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Father Funes said it was difficult to exclude the possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe, and he noted that one field of astronomy is now actively seeking "biomarkers" in spectrum analysis of other stars and planets.

These potential forms of life could include those that have no need of oxygen or hydrogen, he said. Just as God created multiple forms of life on earth, he said, there may be diverse forms throughout the universe.

"This is not in contrast with the faith, because we cannot place limits on the creative freedom of God," he said.

"To use St. Francis' words, if we consider earthly creatures as 'brothers' and 'sisters,' why can't we also speak of an 'extraterrestrial brother?'" he said.

Asked about implications that the discovery of alien life might pose for Christian redemption, Father Funes cited the Gospel parable of the shepherd who left his flock of 99 sheep in order to search for the one that was lost.

"We who belong to the human race could really be that lost sheep, the sinners who need a pastor," he said.

"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," he said.

Father Funes went on to say that Christ's incarnation and sacrifice was a unique and unrepeatable event. But he said he was sure that, if needed, God's mercy would be offered to aliens, as it was to humans.

On another topic, the priest said he saw no real contradiction between evolutionary science and the Christian faith, as long as evolution does not become an absolute ideology.

"As an astronomer, I can say that from the observation of stars and galaxies there emerges a clear evolutionary process," he said.

He said that in his opinion the big-bang theory remains the best explanation of the origin of the universe from a scientific point of view. Above all, it's a reasonable explanation, he said.

As for the biblical account of creation, Father Funes said it was wrong to expect a scientific explanation from the Bible.

"The Bible is not fundamentally a work of science," he said. "It is a letter of love that God has written to his people, in a language that was used 2,000-3,000 years ago. Obviously, at that time a concept like the big bang was totally extraneous."

He said he was convinced that astronomy was a science that can open people's minds and hearts and bring them closer to God. The idea that astronomy leads to an atheistic view of the universe is a myth, he said.


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What does everyone think of these ideas?  If I remember correctly, Aristotle's (or Aquinas's) term for non-animal beings was "significant beings."  If non-human significant beings exist I see several inescapable conclusions.

1.  God tested them like the angels and us.
2.  They're ancestors passed or failed the test.
3.  If they passed, they could be like we would have been.
4.  If they passed, they could be like incarnate angels.
5.  If they failed, they could be exactly like us.
6.  If they failed, they could be like incarnate demons.

(4 and 6 I find unlikely because such beings would be half natural and half spiritual, not completely the latter.)

I have one question too.

What would be the Church's responsibility to them under any of the above conditions?

I'm interested to hear everyone's thinking about this subject.
Aliens are demons. Another tool of Satan to deceive us.
By "aliens" I take you to mean the "Grays" that people claim to have met?  Nearly all of those stories are filled with details identical to cases of demonic obsession.  There are even abductees who describe driving the things away by invoking the name of Christ or St. Michael.  The abduction researchers almost universally ignore those types of stories in their work.
Let's assume first that there could be "significant beings" in other worlds who passed the original test and remained in friendship with God. Then the Vatican astronomer would be right. They wouldn't need redemption and would probably be living in some blessed, glorified state similar to what we will experience after the final resurrection.

Now let's assume they failed the test. Forget the idea of "significant beings" becoming incarnate angels or incarnate devils. Angels (blessed and fallen) are a species of their own. Psalm 8 says that we (earthlings) were made little less than the angels. What if those on other planets were made a little less or a little greater than us? That would make the consequences of their fall greater or lesser than ours.

I can't fathom the ramifications of that. I can only see one God Incarnate, one Savior, the Alpha and the Omega, who will come again to judge the living and the dead. He came to our planet and "dwelt amongst us." That would be a tough act to keep duplicating if other worlds needed redemption too. Not impossible, mind you, for nothing is impossible with God. But it would seem unnecessary, and - pardon the expression - an overkill, too much of a good thing. I hope that doesn't sound disrespectful. 

As for your last question, I don't think the Church has any responsibility towards so-called extraterrestrials. When Jesus told His apostles to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel, I'm assuming He meant our planet Earth. Our planet provides enough water for Baptism and enough grain and wine for the Eucharist. If extraterrestrials exist and if they need redemption, I'm sure God will provide a way that is just right for them.

- Lisa
I don't think any other creatures were created on other planets in  this observable universe.

It is possible for life to have been transfered from Earth to other places, but that would be microscopic.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 Wrote:Therefore the death of man, and of beasts is one, and the condition of them both is equal: as man dieth, so they also die: all things breathe alike, and man hath nothing more than beast: all things are subject to vanity. And all things go to one place: of earth they were made, and into earth they return together.
Somebody on another forum asked if there was intelligent life in the Vatican. I didn't say it. LOL

Don't shoot the messenger.  :laughing:
Just to add more 'ramblings' to the intriguing thoughts in the OP:-

In the Creed we say God created heaven and earth and 'all that is seen and unseen' the vision is open up to a proliferation in Creation. Genesis 1 unfolds the heavens and the earth in time, and in Cap 3,  the first alien life appears in the form of a talking serpent (later recognized as Satan). By inference, already a spiritual battle was waged in the heavens. Elsewhere, the Bible continues to speak of  giants and descendants of fallen angels and their kind. St Paul reminds us that we are battling against principalities, powers and various orders of being. The Revelation of St John contains various images of creatures, the Cherubim and the Seraphim. The angels are also addressed as 'sons of God' in OT. So Creation is filled with alien-beings. Do they originally conform to the 'image and likeness' of God, like man?

In many ancient myths and creation-stories, the gods and children of the gods interplayed. Many stories and novels were written of them. The Lord of the Ring and the Silmarillion of Tolkien delight us with the fables of men, elves, hobbits, the Valar and the Ainur. The Valars(akin to the archangels) were allowed to participate in creation.Men and Elves were children of the One. It was observed in these the eons of time, facts turned into legends and legends became myths in the memory of man. Not all of these beings were fallen. Do these mythic creatures allure to something factual in Creation?

Is there more to the 'unseen' than to the 'seen'? Please do not think I am advocating any heretical thoughts!  :)
(11-13-2009, 01:05 AM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: Somebody on another forum asked if there was intelligent life in the Vatican. I didn't say it. LOL

Don't shoot the messenger.  :laughing:

I saw that thread too and read through some of it....  :drowning:
(11-13-2009, 01:05 AM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: Somebody on another forum asked if there was intelligent life in the Vatican. I didn't say it. LOL

A fair question. The Church is in a shambles, the liturgy is a disgrace, we have gays and little boy rapists running most parishes and diocese and Cardinals covering it up and this bafoon is worried about whether or not ET is out their phoning home. I think the answer to the question "is there intelligent life in the Vatican" is a firm no.
We got no revelation about such things. The answer depends on

What is the extent of the dogma: One Saint, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

If the One applies to the world, than the original sin applies to the possible aliens too, and they are saved through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, which will be revealed to them in due time (as it was revealed to the American Indiansafter 1492)

I see no theological absurdity in the opinion that they are multiple worlds with multiple testing and result. Those who passed the test are already members of the Triumphant Church, does who failed are either extincted of in some phase of the history of Salvation. Since any creatures relationship to God is only 'relatio rationis ratiotinatae'  (I hang on a rope, below is the abyss and above there is nothing, the rope just ends) multiple Incarnation is not impossible, although not very probable. There is no need for it.

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