Pope's astronomer on ET

Vatican chief astronomer Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes spoke publicly about his acceptance that we might not be alone in the universe. According to an interview with him in Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the existene of ET "doesn't contradict our faith." From the Associated Press:
"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..."

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."
Link (Thanks, Sean Ness!)

Previously on BB:
• God's Mechanics: Vatican Astronomer reconciles religion and science Link
• Vatican astronomer on ETs Link
• SETI@Vatican Link


  1. Hey!

    There’s a reverse gear on this thing! We didn’t have to drive straight through all those innocent people after all!


  2. If an alien and a Catholic get married, I presume that the kids have to be raised Catholic.

  3. Talk about covering their asses!

    There will be two observable consequences should we ever make contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life.
    1) It will be the single most important and exciting event in history.
    2) Religious texts will quickly be revised and reinterpreted to accommodate the new circumstances. Alien life would of course be heathen/infidel.

  4. the over-hyped exclusivity between religion and science (mainly over-hyped by fundamentalists who represent a small minority of religoius people) leads to our wonder and amazement that the current vatican astronomer accepts the big bang theory and ET, when in fact the big bang theory itself was first promoted by Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaître and soon accepted by the Vatican.

    I am an atheist, but it seems to me that the common impression that religion is incompatible with science is mainly due to the high visibility of fundamentalist nutjobs compared to the majority of people who are inclined to believe in god and remain fairly rational otherwise.

  5. “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell (my favorite Scifi book, bar none) is premised on Jesuits being dispatched to a remote world after ET life is detected on a remote world.

    The book’s storyline is pretty well in line with the Vatican’s astronomer’s views.

  6. Nonplus: I agree, “The Sparrow” is one of my all time favourite Sci-Fi books, too.

  7. As a catholic I’m happy the aliens decided to employ our very well established organization and currently moderate stance to let the news of their arrival peacefully sweep the global conciousness. Welcome brothers and unimind sister.
    More news at eleven.

  8. Stephen Hawking was freaking invited to the Vatican to meet with JP2 and discuss Science years ago. [Though admittedly, Haking claimed the pope told him not to investigate beyond the Big Bang, but he is prone to story telling.] Catholicism has been pretty pro-science for a long time. Its “anti-science” stances today are only against toying with human life (procreation, stem cells, etc). If you can’t see some decent logic in that (even if you don’t agree), it says more about you than the Vatican.

  9. @brooklyntwang


    I’ve always found it disappointing (though understandable) that the most high-profile “religious people” tend to be the nutjobs, leading to an inevitable but misguided backlash on the part of many atheists and agnostics.

    Science and religion are not (and can not be, IMHO) at odds. And I think (or would like to think) many theists agree.

  10. Re-reading my previous comment, I realise my statement “science and religion can’t be at odds” was improperly articulated and open to misinterpretation.

    The gist of my point is that theology is the study of God, while science is (mostly) the study of the physical universe. There tends not to be much overlap.

    My mistake (that I make on a fairly regular basis) was to equate theology with religion. Not the same thing, despite my wishful thinking.

  11. I will also give a shout out to “The Sparrow.” I also think that the sequel, “The Children of God” is equally as powerful. The way the two books are written challenges you to examine your assumptions, especially when read together.

  12. This reminds me of the first four books in the Ender universe by Orson Scott Card. Both Children of the Mind and Xenocide were considered kind of crappy compared to the first two books, but both of them also had funky aliens who were being converted to Catholicism. I’ve never really had a problem with those books, but I also read all of Robert Jordan’s tomes, so my taste is questionable.

    Great first post, huh?

  13. You already have wormed your way into my heart, DW. I like Speaker for the Dead with the pequeninos, personally, it’s my favorite of them all. Xenocide is very good too. I don’t remember if I liked CotM or not.

    I just got my mom into the series, actually! She’s on Ender’s Game right now.

  14. Actually- the James Blish treatment of this subject is predictive to a point.

    A Case of Conscience- the book may be found pretty easily- depicted the current Vatican statement’s future tense quite plausibly. And being written by someone most certainly not Catholic. Making it more interesting to try “Fact Checking” his use of Canon Law etc affecting the plot.

  15. #5 Brooklynthwang, word. Also, a sincere thank you for reminding me that there is no exclusivity between atheism and respect for believers, either. That one can be just as easy to forget when you’re on the other side.

    #13 DW_funk, that was my first thought, too. The evangelisation of the pequeninos still drives my head around in circles. They were brilliant books, and very good food for thought for any Christian.

  16. another example that the point is power. Make any accommodation or reversal, just RETAIN POWER.

  17. It’s a Miracle !!

    They have to change God created man according to his own spirit instead of his own image…

    For people who like conspiracy stuff, I can tell you that in 1954 when Eisenhower met a bunch of Alien on an Air Force Base, several representants were there and one of them was Cardinal James Francis MacIntyre was the bishop and head of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles.

    The legend says that he told all the story to the Pope and the result of that was the creation of the service secret of the Vatican to spy every contact that the US gouvernmnent could have with Alien.


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