Did you hear what the Vatican's astronomer said???? Sometimes some ideas, no matter how well intentioned and seemingly harmless, are actually really stupid. I can just imagine a gay person or a divorced Catholic wondering "I can't receive Communion, but Chewbacca can?"
This story is beyond stupid. It's a good excuse to use the sweet picture of JPII though!
Some help from the AmericanPapist...
Vatican Chief Astronomer: "The extraterrestrial is my brother"
Okay, that's how the headline of the article read, reportes the Associated Press.
Hmm, can we say "slow news day"?
CNA has a good summary of what happened:
The Director of the Vatican's Observatory, Fr. José Gabriel Funes, said in an interview with the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, that believing in the possible existence of extraterrestrial life is not opposed to Catholic doctrine.
.... 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.
Fr. Roderick translates the portions of the article that treat the implications of extraterrestial life:
Do you refer also to beings similar to us, or even more evolved?
It’s possible. However, so far we haven’t got any proof. But in such a big universe, this hypothesis can’t be excluded.
And that wouldn’t be a problem for our faith?
I don’t think so. Just like there is an abundance of creatures on earth, there could also be other beings, even intelligent ones, that were created by God. That doesn’t contradict our faith, because we cannot put boundaries to God’s creative freedom. As saint Francis would say, when we consider the earthly creatures to be our “brothers” and “sisters”, why couldn’t we also talk about a “extraterrestrial brother”? He would still be part of creation.
And what about redemption?
Let’s borrow the image from the gospel about the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 of the sheepfold to search for the one that got lost. Let’s imagine that in this universe there are 100 sheep, corresponding to the different forms of creatures. We who belong to the human race, could very well be the lost sheep, the sinners that need the shepherd. Got has become man in Jesus to save us. In that way, even when other intelligent beings exist, it’s not said that they would need redemption. They might have stayed in full friendship with their Creator.
I insist: when they would, on the contrary, be sinners, would redemption also be possible for them?
Jesus incarnated once and for all. The incarnation is a unique and non-repeatable event. However, I am certain that they too, in one way or another, would have the possibility to experience God’s mercy, just like we men have.
I think Curt Jester has the perfect response to this .... "The Star Wars Ewok Gospel":