When In Romulus, Do As the Romulans Do: Vatican See Looks for Sinless Extraterrestrial Life

pope300px-MartianUSThe Vatican appears to have gotten over that whole Galileo business when they were willing to put scientists to death for saying that the Earth moved around the Sun. Now, the Pope’s chief astronomer, Father Jose Gabriel Funes, says that intelligent life may exist on other planets and the Holy See is looking to the skies.

150px-Specola1Father Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory near Rome, wrote an article entitled “Aliens Are My Brother” and, among other observations, stated that such aliens could be found on Mars. Even more notable is his statement that such aliens may be “free from sin.”

150px-Alien_(1979)_-_The_AlienOh, great. For those of us who grew up as Catholics with original sin, it turns out that the creatures that chased Sigourney Weaver are unburdened by sin? They are bursting out of people’s chests and eating whole crews for God’s sake!

These questions have already been fully answered in Plan 9 from Outer Space:

To its credit, the Vatican is turning a new page in science. In addition to scanning the skies for guiltless aliens, it surprised many by announcing a special conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the author of the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin.

For the full story, click here and here.

20 thoughts on “When In Romulus, Do As the Romulans Do: Vatican See Looks for Sinless Extraterrestrial Life”

  1. Mike,

    As whole I like Lem’s work better than Blish’s. (“Cities in Flight” is one one my favorites, but I think the average Lem book is better than the average Blish). I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of “Chain of Chance,” which is supposed to be a murder\mystery as done by Lem.

  2. Gyges,
    Lem’s good too. SF is a surfeit of literary riches, unappreciated by most “serious” students of literature.

  3. Jill–

    Your question: “If the bacteria reproduce will they be allowed as priests?”

    My answer: As long as it’s a form of asexual reproduction–the aliens will probably pass priestly muster.

  4. Elaine,

    Point well made!


    If the bacteria reproduce will they be allowed as priests (per Elaine’s observation)?

  5. Mike,

    Give me Lem any day of the week for man meets alien. “Solaris” and “Eden” are both masterpieces.

  6. Vince,
    I read Blish’s book back in the day. He was one of the greats of his era. The concept of the discovery of a sentient alien civilization has been treated with many times in SF, since it’s a natural. An alien race that had a Jesus for instance would perhaps prove Christianity. However, it is far more likely that the “aliens” would have their own God concepts, or perhaps as in Blish’ story no concept of God whatsoever. Religion would be one major area of upset at an encounter with sentient aliens. Humanity would have to make many adjustments to its own premises of existence and specialness.

  7. Woody Allen on Rene Descartes: “Although my mind can never know my body, it has become quite friendly with my legs.”

  8. Notice that he mentions that such aliens may be on Mars. I think he means that such aliens may be without sin because they may be simply bacteria, or some other organism not capable of rationality, which is (among other things) a prerequisite for sin.

  9. Jill–

    As long as the sinless aliens are males–I believe the Church would consider them acceptable as priests. Can’t have any females saying Mass or giving sermons or consecrating sacraments or marrying couples, you know…whether they’re earthlings or aliens.

  10. Do you suppose that Father Funes thinks that when these sinless aliens land on Earth, they’ll say: “Take me to your religious leader”–whereupon they’ll be whisked away to the Vatican for an Immaculate Reception?

  11. Sinless aliens, eh?

    Hey . . . Your Papalness. How about getting rid of the sinning criminals in your own ranks before trying to leverage the aliens with your concept of sin and, more importantly, guilt. Because from the BIL Observatory in sunny KC, I’m seeing the aliens laughing their perhaps indescribable body parts off at a Papal decree. I’m thinking that if they are smart enough for radio astronomy, they understand a fundamentals like lying and hypocrisy even if they don’t practice it. How can this be? Well in order to have science, one must start with agreed upon definitions and testing for determining the truth, which conversely also creates a tool for defining and testing what is untrue. Logic and language were the fire Prometheus stole from the Gods. And scientific aliens will not be interested in exchanging theological sophistries except perhaps as a matter of anthropology. Or perhaps an even worse scenario is we meet intelligent life and they are zealots in their own right and they provide not just a bulwark to your influence, but even become the (dreaded) competition. Hail Xenu!?! There is the possibility that, gasp, aliens might be totally indifferent to human religions. Not counter. Not opposed. Simply. Indifferent. You talk Jesus and they stare back at you with dull multi-faceted compound eyes like a dog being shown a card trick. And you got all dressed up for the big cotillion and broke out the Pope-moblie! Which is a hilarious way to demonstrate your faith that God protects you, by the way. Hardly a testimonial to your product. While the RCC may have gotten over the whole “Galileo thing”, I was talking to my man from Padua via Ouija board last night and he’s holding a bit of a grudge. He’d have spent more time raping children instead of trying to figure out how the universe works if he’d known the punishment was a lateral promotion and a chance to travel. His suggestion for the Pope was a corollary to the teachings in the Bible: render unto the Method those things which are Scientific and to clean up thy own house first.

    Now, I must return to fighting the alligators.

  12. I do not wish to insult those who believe the Catholic Church’s teachings but, really … sinless aliens? … perhaps he’s confused and just used the wrong word, or it was mistranslated. Perhaps he means inalienable ………

  13. As usual, science fiction predicted all of this, years ago. Take a look at the Hugo Award winning novel by James Blish, A Case of Conscience.

    Per wiki, “It is the story of a Jesuit who investigates an alien race that has no religion; they are completely without any concept of God, an afterlife, or the idea of sin; and the species evolves through several forms through the course of its life cycle.”

    The Good Father at first thinks the aliens are in a state of grace, since they never ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, never committed Original Sin, and never left Eden.

    But then…. The moron decides that they are only apparently good and innocent. They must be the creation of the Devil, set by Satan as a snare to entrap humans. Something must be done….

    Blish’s neatest SF prediction in 1958 was that the Pope would not be Italian. He came from Northern Europe, and had trained in theology. Bull’s eye!

  14. rafflaw,

    a sinless person is it not a person that you think is better than you are or at least you are doing. I guess that beam/mote thing could come into play here, in all other areas.

  15. The Vatican needs to look into outer space to attempt to find sinless aliens?? They obviously couldn’t find any sinless Bishops or Cardinals so what better place to look but Mars?! If they are intelligent lifeforms, why would the Vatican think they would be sinless? And finally, who cares whom the Vatican thinks is sinless? That would be the pot calling the kettle black.

  16. This is just a renewal of what has already been known by the Vatican. It has long been suspect that Melchizedek who has been mentioned in the Bible is an enigmatic figure that is twice mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Melchizedek is mentioned as the King of Salem, and priest of God Most High, in the time of the biblical patriarch Abram. It was thought that he was an alien.

    Since the discovery of The Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 the mysterious Melchizedek has been interpreted as being the “King of Righteousness” the King of Salem who Abraham (Abraham is the one Biblical figure who binds Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim faiths together as being the father of each faith) reference in the scrolls state Abraham recognizes his priestly status by tithing to him….

    Link: http://www.maar.us/mysticism_of_melchizedek.html

    I guess the library, the scriptorium, the place off limits to unwelcomed guests has answers that I would like to know.

Comments are closed.