THOMAS HORN -- JOURNAL ENTRY XX/XX/XX
"Secretly, I had reached back into the past, contacting people I would trust with this information and who were uniquely qualified to explain if something truly was breaking through from the spirit world. The implications were all so deeply disturbing. I could guard their identity for the time being, referring to some of them lightly, as 'God's Ghostbusters' to conceal their deeper identities and our mutual challenge until the time was right."
WHAT SECRETS LIE WITHIN THE HOLY SEE?
In January of last year, the Royal Society, the National Academy of Science of the UK, and the Commonwealth hosted representatives from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, during its 350th anniversary celebration. The event offered some dizzying intellects in the featured discussion, “The Detection of Extraterrestrial Life and the Consequences for Science and Society.” Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Astronomer Royal, announced that aliens may be “staring us in the face” in a form humans are unable to recognize. Other speakers used words like “overwhelming evidence” and “unprecedented proof” to signify how close we may be to making discovery of intelligent alien life. Some, like Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at Cambridge University, worried that contact with these unknowns might not be a good thing. “Extra-terrestrials might not only resemble us but have our foibles, such as greed, violence, and a tendency to exploit others’ resources,” he said. “And while aliens could come in peace they are quite as likely to be searching for somewhere to live, and to help themselves to water, minerals and fuel.”[i] While other scientists, astronomers, and physicists agreed with Morris’ concerns (most notably, renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking), some speakers at the gathering of intellectuals were more optimistic, imagining ETs someday appearing as man’s saviors or, at a minimum, benevolent space brothers. When Father José Gabriel Funes in a long interview with the L’Osservatore Romano newspaper weighed in on the question, “Are we alone in the Universe?” he said there is a certain possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos, and that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith.” He then added: “How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere? Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘a brother,’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’? It would still be part of creation.”[ii] Such statements by Funes were the latest in a string of recent comments by Vatican astronomers confirming the belief that discovery may be made in the near future of alien life, including intelligent life, and that this encounter would not unhinge the doctrine of Christ.
In 2005, another Vatican astronomer, Guy Consolmagno tackled this subject in a fifty-page booklet, Intelligent Life in the Universe?: Catholic Belief and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life, in which he similarly concluded that chances are better than not that mankind is facing a future discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence. Before that, Monsignor Corrado Balducci made even bigger news when he said ETs were actually already interacting with Earth and that some of the Vatican’s leaders were aware of it.
Writing for Newsweek on Thursday, May 15, 2008, in the article “The Vatican and Little Green Men,” Sharon Begley noted that “[this] might be part of a push to demonstrate the Vatican’s embrace of science… Interestingly, the Vatican has plans to host a conference in Rome next spring to mark the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s seminal work on the theory of evolution. Conference organizers say it will look beyond entrenched ideological positions—including misconstrued creationism. The Vatican says it wants to reconsider the problem of evolution ‘with a broader perspective’ and says an ‘appropriate consideration is needed more than ever before.’”[iii]
The “appropriate consideration” Begley mentioned may have been something alluded to by Guy Consolmagno three years earlier in an interview with the Sunday Herald. That article pointed out how Consolmagno’s job included reconciling “the wildest reaches of science fiction with the flint-eyed dogma of the Holy See” and that his latest mental meander was about “the Jesus Seed,” described as “a brain-warping theory which speculates that, perhaps, every planet that harbours intelligent, self-aware life may also have had a Christ walk across its methane seas, just as Jesus did here on Earth in Galilee. The salvation of the Betelguesians may have happened simultaneously with the salvation of the Earthlings.”[iv] This sounds like a sanctified version of panspermia—the idea that life on earth was “seeded” by something a long time ago such as an asteroid impact—but in this case, “the seed” was divinely appointed and reconciled to Christ.
The curious connection between the Vatican’s spokespersons and the question of extraterrestrials and salvation was further hinted in the May, 2008 L’Osservatore Romano interview with Father Funes, titled, “The Extraterrestrial is My Brother.” In Google and blog translations of the Italian feature, Funes responds to the question of whether extraterrestrials would need to be redeemed, which he believes should not be assumed. “God was made man in Jesus to save us,” he says. “If other intelligent beings exist, it is not said that they would have need of redemption. They could remain in full friendship with their Creator.”[v]
By “full friendship” Funes reflected how some Vatican theologians accept the possibility that an extraterrestrial species may exist that is morally superior to men—closer to God than we fallen humans are—and that, as a consequence, they may come here to evangelize us. Father Guy Consolmagno took up this same line of reasoning when he wrote in his book, Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist:
So the question of whether or not one should evangelize is really a moot point. Any alien we find will learn and change from contact with us, just as we will learn and change from contact with them. It’s inevitable. And they’ll be evangelizing us, too. [vi]
THE RABBIT HOLE GOES DEEPER . . .
In a paper for the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science, Father Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti of the Pontifical University in Rome (where the Vatican's deepest theology is discoursed) explains just how mankind could actually be evangelized during contact with “spiritual aliens,” as every believer in God would, he argues, greet an extraterrestrial civilization as an extraordinary experience and would be inclined to respect the alien and to recognize the common origin of our different species as originating from the same Creator. According to Giuseppe, this contact by non-terrestrial intelligence would then offer new possibilities “of better understanding the relationship between God and the whole of creation.”[vii] Giuseppe states this would not immediately oblige the Christian “to renounce his own faith in God simply on the basis of the reception of new, unexpected information of a religious character from extraterrestrial civilizations,”[viii] but that such a renunciation could come soon after as the new “religious content” originating from outside the earth is confirmed as reasonable and credible. “Once the trustworthiness of the information has been verified” the believer would have to “reconcile such new information with the truth that he or she already knows and believes on the basis of the revelation of the One and Triune God, conducting a re-reading [of the Gospel] inclusive of the new data…”[ix] How this “more complete” ET Gospel might deemphasize or significantly modify our understanding of salvation through Jesus Christ is unknown, but former Vatican Observatory vice director, Christopher Corbally, in his article “What if There Were Other Inhabited Worlds” concludes that Jesus simply might not remain the only Word of salvation: “I would try to explore the alien by letting ‘it’ be what it is, without rushing for a classification category, not even presuming two genders,” Corbally said, before dropping this bombshell:
While Christ is the First and the Last Word (the Alpha and the Omega) spoken to humanity, he is not necessarily the only word spoke to the universe…. For, the Word spoken to us does not seem to exclude an equivalent ‘Word’ spoken to aliens. They, too, could have had their ‘Logos-event’. Whatever that event might have been, it does not have to be a repeated death-and-resurrection, if we allow God more imagination than some religious thinkers seem to have had. For God, as omnipotent, is not restricted to one form of language, the human. [x]
That high-ranking spokespersons for the Vatican have in recent years increasingly offered such language acknowledging the likelihood of extraterrestrial intelligence and the dramatic role ET’s introduction to human civilization could play in regard to altering established creeds about anthropology, philosophy, religion, and redemption could be beyond consequential in the near-future.
COMING UP IN ENTRY #2 -- WHAT THE EVANGELISTS OF ET KNOW THAT YOU DON'T
* This series is based on research led by Thomas Horn and a team of investigators whose report will be published this September under the working title God's Ghostbusters.
All endnotes will be included in the final published report