We've heard rumblings before about the Catholic Church and its interest in extraterrestrial life, of course, but last week's international news stories about the Vatican's chief astronomer seem to have hit some people hard. I guess so -- for the faithful to learn that the Church astronomer believes the concept of intelligent life and (gasp!) aliens on other planets is within the realm of possibility, and that God's universe might therefore be populated with far more intelligent beings than just our sorry lot, must be a spine-tingling realization.
I'm no more an expert on religion than any other area, but it seems to me that in this instance the Vatican is merely playing CYA (cover your a**). Even while instilling traditional religious values and teachings amongst their flock, surely Church officials haven't failed to notice the UFO controversy (don't everybody scream out, "The Miracle at Fatima" at the same time, we've heard that one before, and if anybody lays Ezekiel's Wheels on me one more time, I may burst into flames) and its chilling aspects. But if anybody expects a palingenesis here, they may be disappointed.
Uncommon common sense should tell us that the Vatican, like any other governing body on this planet, knows the score about the UFO issue and likewise realizes it must deal with the growing body of scientific evidence indicating abundant life throughout the known universe. What better course of action, then, to slowly make cautious statements. . .just in case the evidence comes to a head. For all that's holy (!), be assured that this Church is not about to be caught with its icons down when the ultimate proof of UFO intelligence and/or higher extraterrestrial life becomes known. Like the rest of us, religious institutions would prefer to say, see, we knew it all the time, it's all right here in our teachings. They couldn't very well say, "Sorry folks, we never saw THIS one coming. . ."
As always, I recommend that we keep an eye open whenever a religious institution, built upon centuries of dogma and steadfastly inculcated with the refusal to change with the times, seems a bit too open-minded. Church hierarchy may indeed focus momentarily upon the idea that other planetary civilizations exist, but concurrently I've little doubt that its sacred places still harbor those who long for the good old days of The Inquisition, and who hunger voraciously for the opportunity to have another rough go at that impertinent historical figure, Copernicus. Sun's up, dude.