Vatican: Aliens created by God could exist, says Church astronomer

Castel Gandolfo, 14 May (AKI) - The Vatican's chief astronomer has said that there is no conflict between believing in God and the possibility that life exists on other planets.

"Why should we not talk about an extraterrestrial brother, just as we consider earthly creatures as a brother, and sister? It would still be part of creation," said Father Jose Gabriel Funes in an interview with the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

Funes interview was part of a report in the paper entitled "The extraterrestrial is my brother."

He outlined how the search for forms of extraterrestrial life are not a contradiction to a belief in God.

Funes is also the director of the Vatican observatory in the town of Castel Gandolfo, 30 kilometres south-east from the Italian capital Rome where the Pope's summer residence is located.

During the interview, the astronomer said that the Big Bang theory is the best and most reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe and does not contradict faith.

"The Big Bang theory remains, in my opinion, the best explanation for the origins of the universe that we have, from a scientific point of view."

"The universe is not infinite. It is big, but it is finite because it has an age of 14,000 billion years according to our most recent research."

Funes also believes that "The bible is not a science book," and that God is the creator of the universe and that humans are "the sons of a kind father, who has a plan of love for us."

The Catholic church once branded astronomer Galileo Galilei and philosopher Giordano Bruno 'heretics' for their views on astronomy.

The observatory in Castel Gandolfo was built by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to respond to claims that the church was opposed to scientific progress.

It became famous, when in 1969 Pope Paul VI saw, with the help of powerful Vatican telescopes, the landing on the moon of American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.

A second Vatican observatory already exists in the US state of Arizona, atop Mount Graham which is also considered a sacred place for native American Indians.


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