The Vatican’s official astronomer talks about life in the universe and drifts into intelligent life, like us. Headline writers went nuts. The remarks come after the finding of Kepler 452b, an earth-like planet that may be hospitable to life.
The Pope’s chief astronomer Father Jose Funes has confirmed that the Vatican Observatory in Rome believes in life on other planets.
“The discovery of the new planet Kepler 452b revives the idea that contact and, why not, the encounter with extraterrestrial intelligent beings of an alien civilization could happen in the near future.”
But he doesn’t think it’s going to happen soon. He also doesn’t believe it conflicts with the Bible, as Jesus didn’t visit other planets. Only this one, because man is special. For those that think that the finding of extraterrestrial life will weaken religious beliefs, Funes makes it clear that it shouldn’t.
It seems very strange to mix modern astronomy and speculative astrobiology with Roman Catholic thought. It feels very uncomfortable, like oil and water, they simply don’t mix. However, the Vatican has a robust astronomy program.
One thing I’ll certainly agree with is this: Fumes says “The Bible is not a scientific book. If we look for scientific responses to our questions in the Bible, we are making a mistake.”
Funes remarked that if we found intelligent life, they would have been created, same as us and should be considered “brother” or “sister”. But he didn’t say he explicitly believed in the stereotypical aliens or UFOs. This is an exaggeration by the news media.