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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2008 > May > May 17

Enthusiasts Say 'Amen' As Vatican Allows Alien

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 09:41:06 -0400
Archived: Sat, 17 May 2008 09:41:06 -0400
Subject: Enthusiasts Say 'Amen' As Vatican Allows Alien

Source: The Chicago Tribune


May 16, 2008

Enthusiasts Say 'Amen' As Vatican Allows Alien Belief
By Rex W. Huppke | Tribune reporter

Word that the Vatican had declared devout Catholics free to
believe in aliens traveled at warp speed this week, around the
globe and, quite possibly, to points unknown.

Earthbound theologians and astrophysicists debated it, on-line
'Jedi Council' forums erupted in geeky chatter, and many who
have long dared to believe that life exists beyond our
terrestrial confines felt some small measure of vindication.

"If you're sitting in a room that's totally dark and you can't
see anything, and the door is cracked just a millimeter to let a
little light in, that can be extremely useful," said Peter
Davenport, head of the National UFO Reporting Center in
Washington state.

In other words, in the lonely world of alien believers, visitors
are always welcome.

The Catholic Church has never been considered anti-alien. In
fact, Catholic priests and scholars have written about the issue
of extraterrestrial life since at least the Middle Ages. What
made this week's statement significant, several experts say, is
that the comments by Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican
Observatory, were printed in the Vatican's own newspaper,
L'Osservatore Romano. That gave his words a certain papal heft.

It has also made for some lively discussions between liberal and
conservative theologians. Rev. Christopher Corbally, vice
director of the Vatican Observatory, said he has been bombarded
with e-mail from colleagues pondering whether God could have
created more than one world and whether other beings could be
granted redemption via a Christ-like savior.

Chaining God?

If God created human beings in his own image, how could there be
others who don't look like us? Little green men, Corbally noted,
certainly do not fit the popular image of God.

"It's a fun way to catch people's imagination," he said
jubilantly. "How wonderful it would be to have other life beyond
our own world, because it would show how God's creation just
flows out without abandon.

"We are always trying to restrict God's creativity, putting
theological difficulties in the way. But I don't think God
bothers with theological difficulties."

Some human beings, on the other hand, can be a bit literal when
interpreting the teachings of their faiths. Proof of that can be
found in the Puritanical pudding of the Salem witch trials in
1692, not to mention countless history books or even today's
headlines. Many a faithful soul today would be aghast at talk of
other forms of intelligent life.

"Any kind of literalist in Christianity would be barring these
sorts of beliefs," said Thomas O'Brien, a professor of religious
studies at DePaul University. "If you were to go to some
fundamentalist Christian churches, you'd hear some pastors say
belief in UFOs is tantamount to a non-belief in Jesus Christ."

Such pooh-poohing of cosmic possibilities runs quite counter to
this week's comments in the Vatican Observatory. Funes said that
to not believe life exists beyond our planet would be to "set
limits on the creative liberty of God."

As Rev. Thomas O'Meara, a visiting theology professor at Boston
College, puts it: "If you have a mature view of God, God can do
what God wants."

So the question becomes: Will this declaration from the Vatican
be of any help to those who truly believe in visiting spacecraft
and worlds beyond our own?

"Religion does play a big part in the UFO phenomenon," said
Julie Shuster, director of the International UFO Museum and
Research Center in Roswell, N.M., the shrine for alien
enthusiasts. "A lot of people feel it's a very demonic thing.
They'll come with a family member, but they won't set foot in
the door because they don't believe in any of it, and don't
think they should."

Not seeing, but believing

Still, a sudden bump in the 160,000 visitors the center gets
each year isn't expected. And Shuster sounded a bit skeptical of
why the Vatican - which, she understands, has "a wide array of
books on UFOs" - picked this particular time to bring up aliens.

"Maybe they felt that, for whatever reason, the timing is
right," Shuster posited.

So what's next? A canonical embrace of ghosts, psychic powers,
fairies and, perhaps, the Easter Bunny?

Turns out that's not necessary.

"There are no problems with ghosts and the paranormal because a
lot of the personages that populate the cosmic world of
Catholicism are precisely those kinds of figures," said O'Brien,
the DePaul professor. "So there's nothing against that kind of

In fact, O'Brien and other experts agree that the Catholic faith
- and many others, for that matter - is based not on things a
person can't believe in, but on the things a person must believe

So believe what you wish. As long as you buy into the basic
tenets of your religion, the sky, or in this case the universe,
is the limit.


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