Well, the Vatican seems to be open to aliens. I like that. It’s heartwarming. It’s progressive. Though only speculative reasoning by the Vatican’s chief astronomer, the Pope threw open his arms to his “brother aliens.” Fr. Jose Gabriel Funes is Chief Astronomer for the Vatican.
The astronomer began the interview titled, “The Alien is my Brother,” by saying that, “Astronomy has a profound human value. It is a science that opens the heart and the mind. It helps us to put our lives, our hopes, our problems in the right perspective. In this regard, and here I speak as a priest and a Jesuit, it is an apostolic instrument that can bring us closer to God”, said Fr. Funes in the interview.
And further on the subject of the aliens, the good astronomer had this to say:
Asked is he sees a contradiction between the Catholic faith and believing in aliens, he said, “I think there isn’t (a contradiction). Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures over the earth, so there could be other beings, even intelligent (beings), created by God. This is not in contradiction with our faith, because we cannot establish limits to God’s creative freedom. To say it with St. Francis, if we can consider some earthly creatures as ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters’, why could we not speak of a ‘brother alien’? He would also belong to the creation.”
Alas this brings up lots of interesting questions and contradictions in the Vatican’s positional stance on other issues closer to home. This excellent post from the Guardian sums up the contradiction nicely.
That the Catholic church isn’t freaking out at the possibility of alien existence for one thing gives me hope that they might stop freaking out about other things that really do exist. Contraception, perhaps, or homosexuality. The Vatican might become open to the possibility of married priests, or female ones. And that would be super.
But, yeah, no.
E.T. ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. But the gay couple, we won’t carry them.
They’re now a threat to Creation itself. (Step back, Climate Change!). Says the Pope in his address to world diplomats–a plea for the environment and creation:
“Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes,” he said.
“I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America,” he said.
Well, this speech, January 5 2010, came just after Mexico City declared gay marriage legal, and as Portugese Parliament was doing the same. Hmm.
I love that the Vatican embraces Aliens and what had been only science fiction before, but I hope they turn their attention to more immediate matters: the millions of gays and lesbians who want equality, and would like just a little of that love the church wants to dole out on Extraterrestrials they’ve never seen. Irony seems a paltry word to describe this kind of injustice. It’s cruelty inscribed in Jesus’ name. This would make Jesus weep a second time.
God is not science fiction, and probably aliens are not science fiction (I’ll give the Pope two points there). Pope Benedict, gays aren’t monsters, gay marriage no threat to reproduction or creation in the world. But the Church, unfortunately, is fast scripting themselves as Fantasy–out of touch with their own directives, mandates and missions, even their own Author. Instead of walking away from the Church, I challenge people to go back in and help fix it. Update it. Teach it. Vote out the bad policies. Uncover God where He’s been shrouded. Shake the dust off people’s shoulders who have been sitting there comatose for years. Tell them there’s more than singing, more than preaching, more than baptizing, more than dinners and potlucks—there is a host of things to do work on, a host of people to reach out to, a host of folks in need.
This plot is slumping. Cut to the action again. Bring in new characters, better dialogue.
This novel idea, Christianity, has more potential, and could be a bestseller–could even change the world— but it’s gonna take a lot of work.