Friday, August 20, 2010

Extraterrestrial Life and the Catholic Church: Collection of Links

By Dave Armstrong (8-20-10)

Speculation on such things is nothing new in Catholic circles (lest anyone think that). Prominent clerics of the Middle Ages, including John Buridan (14th c.), Bishop Nicholas Oresme (d. 1382), and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464), had already seriously discussed the possibility of other worlds.

Nor was Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) condemned and executed because he believed in the possibility of other worlds, as some misinformed secular articles about this topic (e.g., in The Washington Post) have asserted. His heresies were as follows, according to the article about him in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Bruno was not condemned for his defence of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skilful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, that the Devil will be saved, etc. . . .

    . . . his system of thought is an incoherent materialistic pantheism. God and the world are one; matter and spirit, body and soul, are two phases of the same substance; the universe is infinite; beyond the visible world there is an infinity of other worlds, each of which is inhabited; this terrestrial globe has a soul; in fact, each and every part of it, mineral as well as plant and animal, is animated; all matter is made up of the same elements (no distinction between terrestrial and celestial matter); all souls are akin (transmigration is, therefore, not impossible).

To find scientists who were executed (unlike Galileo, who endured a "house arrest" in velvety palaces) simply because of scientific speculation, one has to look elsewhere: to the "reasoned" and "enlightened" anti-Catholic French Revolutionaries of the late 18th century, who did away with, e.g., Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794): the "father of modern chemistry", as well as chemist and metallurgist Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich (guillotined on 19 November 1793), astronomer and mathematician Jean Baptiste Gaspard Bochart de Saron (guillotined on 20 April 1794), and botanist and statesman Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (guillotined on 23 April 1794). The famous French philosopher and mathematician Nicolas de Condorcet died in an "Enlightenment" prison under mysterious circumstances, on 28 March 1794.

For an explosion of the ludicrous myth that the Catholic Church was historically and is presently opposed to scientific advance, see my ten-part, copiously-documented study, Christianity's Central Role in the Conception and Development of Modern Science: Hundreds of Historical Facts Documented.

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Alien Life Out There (

Catholic Belief And Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life (

Vatican-sponsored meeting discusses chances of extraterrestrial life (Carol Glatz; Catholic News Service)

Catholic church: Faith in God, alien life OK (Brian Bethel; Abilene Reporter-News)

Vatican Holds Conference on Extraterrestrial Life (Universe Today)

Believing in aliens not opposed to Christianity, Vatican’s top astronomer says (Catholic News Agency)

Extra-terrestrial life is possible, Vatican astronomer says (Catholic

Aliens need Christ’s redemption, too (The Catholic Herald)

Christ and Extraterrestrial Life (Ilia Delio, O. S. F., Theology and Science, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2007; PDF file)

Vatican astronomer: E.T. could be our 'extraterrestrial brother'

Do space aliens have souls? Inquiring minds can check Jesuit's book (Carol Glatz; Catholic News Service)

Vatican Observatory examines theological implications of finding alien life (Catholic News Agency)

Belief in aliens not necessarily against the faith, Vatican official says (Catholic News Agency)

Most religious believers don’t think discovery of alien life would threaten their faith (Catholic News Agency)

Ignorant Armies Clash By Night (Mark Shea; National Catholic Register)

Vatican: It's OK for Catholics to Believe in Aliens (Fox

E.T. Stay Home (Charles Colson; Catholic Exchange)

‘Is there other intelligent life in our universe?’ (Catholic Star Herald)

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