Tongue-in-cheek piece from a UK newspaper. The comments display the usual anti-Catholic bile.
Tongue-in-cheek piece from a UK newspaper. The comments display the usual anti-Catholic bile.
You have to quote the article in your opening post otherwise this thread may end up deleted for not following forum rules.
Not sure what you mean. Thought I had quoted the gist of the article in my post.
“The discovery of aliens would raise huge theological problems for the Roman Catholic church that would make the debate over women priests, clerical abstinence and contraception pale into insignificance.”
What theological problems would it raise? Also, last I checked women priests, abstinence and contraception weren’t theological problems.
No you didn’t quote it, you summarised it in your own words. You need to post an actual part of the real text.
well they still have to go through RCIA
Well, some questions would be: Do they have souls? Are they fallen like humans? Did they have their own version of Jesus? If so, what does that mean for humans? Etc, etc.
All that that would prove is that humans live by one set of rules and aliens (maybe) others.There ya go.:)
If they have their own version of Jesus, what does that mean for Trinitarian theology? Lots of interesting questions…
Article is over a year old and has actually already been discussed in this thread:
OK, this might sound CRAZY and SCIENCE-FICTION-ESQUE but here’s my opinion…:o
It is my personal idea that the planet Earth may in fact be the “Israel” of the Universe and the human race the “Jews” of the Universe. In this way, there are other “peoples” out there living in other worlds that are made in the Image of God, and therefore are “persons” taking their “personhood” from the image of the Three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity. It is the special mission of the human race to bring salvation to all other peoples throughout the Cosmos. It is for these reasons that I believe Pope John Paul II was right to encourage people to become “Personalists”, rather than “Humanists”, since humanism may turn into a form of “galactic” racism if there really are other races of people out there made in God’s Image.
Human beings might be the “chosen species” much as the Jewish People are the “chosen [human] people”. Just as God brought salvation to the world through his special selection of the Jewish People, he might also want to bring salvation to the universe through the homo sapiens.
The image of God is spiritual, not physical. An alien could have fur and look nothing like us and yet still be made in God’s Image because “he” is a “person”.
In the first century of the Church, Saint Paul and others thought that the return of Christ was imminent. It turned out, God had longer plans in sight. So many then thought Christ might come in a thousand years time. The first millenium past with nothing happening, even though people like Joachim of Fiore predicted Christ would return in the 12th century (If I remember correctly). He didn’t. And then, in the 1400s, lo and behold a whole new continent of the Americas was discovered and people living there who had never received the Word of God. And this sent shockwaves through Europe - as everyone knew that Christ could not return until the Gospel had been preached to every nation. And then the big debate arose over whether these new native peoples were really “people” with souls. This is known to historians as the Valladolid Debates. Some thinkers such as Juan Gines de Sepulveda answered no, they did not have souls. Others answered yes, they did. And thus, with the realization that the Americas represented regions of the Earth with which the Europeans were not aware of earlier, there arose intense speculation over the question whether the natives of these lands were true humans or not. Together with that went a debate over the (mis)treatment of these natives by the Conquistadores and colonists.
To explain further:
A substantial party believed that these new found peoples were not truly human. This party speculated that since Christendom was not permitted by God to become aware of their existence and thus bring the Gospel to them until so late, it was only because they were not human or possessed no souls, so they could not attain salvation. The New Testament says that the gospel has been preached to all nations; since the gospel had not been preached to the Native Americans, perhaps they did not count. In addition, Christians understood humanity to be divided into three distinct races (Europeans, Asians, and Africans), one for each of the sons of Noah. Native Americans did not fit among these divisions.
The Europeans, particularly the Spanish, tortured, conquered, enslaved and brutalized these native peoples. It took a Catholic Bishop, Bartolome de las Casas and his fellow Dominican friars and the Jesuits, to stand up and denounce this violence and defend these peoples’ “personhood”, their humanity, their right to life and liberty. And then, to settle the issue, in the year 1537 Pope Paul III issued his papal encyclical “Sublimius Dei” stating unequivocally that these natives were truly “people” with immortal souls and that the Europeans did not have the right to enslave or britalize them like mere animals. These people, the encyclical further said, needed to hear the Gospel preached to them, deserved to hear it and actively desired to hear it. In Sublimis Deus, Paul III unequivocally declares the indigenous peoples of the Americas to be rational beings with souls, denouncing any idea to the contrary as directly inspired by the “enemy of the human race” (Satan).
Here’s a portion of this encyclical:
"…The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God’s word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.
We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly people and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it…the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.
By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, which shall thus command the same obedience as the originals, that the said Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living…"
- Pope Paul III, Sublims Dei, 1537
This took place 500 years ago. The Catholic Church stood up for the rights of native peoples, defending their “personhood” and condemning the secular nation states for violating their rights and treating them like mere, “unensouled” animals.
It is my personal conviction that something similar will probably take place some time in the future. Mankind will discover alien life on other worlds, and then perhaps even intelligent alien life - other peoples. This will cause shock throughout the world similar to the shock caused by the discovery of the Native peoples of the Americas five hundred years ago.
The human race may colonate these other worlds, and some will probably subjugate the “alien natives” and deny that they are people.
Then the Catholic Church will be rocked by huge theological debate, with some theologians teaching that these “aliens” are not people with souls. However others will defend their personhood, and proclaim that to deny them the Gospel is like how some wanted to deny the Gospel to the native peoples of the Americas, which contravenes Christ’s command to evangelize all creation and thereby holds back his Second Coming.
Eventually, this party will win and a future Pope will probably issue a papal encyclical or apostolic constitution perhaps, that will proclaim that these alien peoples are “true people”, with immortal souls and that we humans do not have the right to treat them like mere animals.
And then we may find ourselves in a position where we have to preach the Gospel throughout the whole universe, so that Christ can return.
Some people believe that Jesus referred to the plausability of alien life in the Gospel of John:
John 10:16 -
“…I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd…”
Some people think this refers to aliens, however in the context it is most likely speaking of the conversion of the Gentiles.
Other passages from the Bible that I think are more possibly applicable to intelligent aliens:
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” … And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:15, 20).
“If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:23).
“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world”” (Romans 10:18).
The rationale I have is this:
How can the Gospel be preached to “every creature under heaven”, if animals do not have the sufficient degree of understanding to be able to receive the gospel and process it mentally?
The only conclusion one can reach then is that Jesus anticipated a time when other “creatures” also made in the Image of God, that is with sufficient mental capacity and an immortal human soul, would be able to receive the Gospel and understand it.
Historically, these passages have been understood as referring to animals, which I think is also valid. It has resulted in the beautiful Franciscan values of love for animals and addressing them as “brothers and sisters”. St Francis in this mode preached the Gospel to fish, birds and other animals such as bears.
However I consider that Jesus might have had another meaning. What would be the utility after all of preaching the Gospel to animals who cannot receive nor understand it other than out of compassion for them?
So I posit that there is something deeper to this.
Note in particular this phrase from St Paul:
“…Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world…”
Here a clear distinction is made between the “earth”, which refers to this planet and “the ends of the world” which Paul sees as something different and which I believe refers to the universe.
BTW Although I suspect that intelligent alien life will exist elsewhere in the cosmos, I do not believe that they will possess advanced enough civilisations to be able to reach earth or travel through space.
I think that humankind is most likely the only intelligent species who have advanced to that level.Why? Because humanity has only advanced to the level we find ourselves because of Western civilisation, which is founded on Christian teachings. Without a religion like Christianity, the West probbly would not have given up animal sacrifice, polytheism etc. we would not have progressed so far without Christianity’s teachings on human dignity as the basis of our society.
Alien peoples would have not only be advanced races but have had in their history something like the Ancient Greeks, the Ancient Roman Empire and then Christianity, plus the Renaissance to achieve anything comparable with us.
Thats just too many coincidences for me.
So although I do believe alien peoples exist, I suspect they will live like the ancient natives did in the Americas - without advanced civilisations.
However anything is possible.
It is also possible that some alien races might not have “fallen”. However I think that most races with free will and enough intellect probably would “fall”. However even then God might have other “means of salvation” for them.
Nonetheless I think that alien peoples will be fallen, made in the Image of God and therefore be people and that they need Christ’s salvation.
God will likely have planted seeds of revelation in these alien peoples’ “religions” already to prepare them for the Coming of the Gospel ie angels might have appeared to them.
Actually, that particular part is covered.
All living, material creatures have souls. That is what distinquishes living matter from dead matter.
Plants and animals have souls that provide basic functions like metabolism, and, in the case of animals, movement.
Humans have immortal, rational souls. If aliens have reason, they have rational souls.
Aquinas settled this close to a millennium ago.
If their souls are fallen or not would depend on their nature.
If they exhibit sin, they haven fallen souls in need of redemption. And that would be treated no differently than an encounter with any other culture that had not heard the Gospel.
Everything, every move UFO’s have ever made can be construed as hostile. I believe they are demonic in nature.:yup::yup:
Rite of Christian Initiation for Aliens. :yup: