Is Salvation Only a Few Hundred Light Years Away?
With all the emphasis on space travel and exploration, it comes as no surprise that the Catholic Church has taken a keen interest in the universe. And it shows. In a small booklet released, then abruptly removed from circulation, by the Catholic Church, titled “Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic belief and the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life,” by Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Astronomer, Vatican Observatory, Vatican State, we find some delightful insights into salvation and outer space. One noteworthy chapter titled, “Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Catholic Theology,” we are treated to the following: “Of course, if you are really eager to find a reference to extraterrestrials in the Bible, you can’t do better than look at John 10:14-16, the famous Good Shepherd passage: ‘. . . I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Perhaps it’s not so far-fetched to see the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word, Who was present “in the beginning” (John 1:1), coming to lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:18) not only as the Son of Man but also as a Child of other races?” [As published by CTS, 2005].
And so Baby Space Jesus was born…possibly…
The author goes on to speculate (and here is where it gets interesting): “Is original sin something that affected all intelligent beings? Is there a sort of “cosmic Adam” predating even life on Earth? Is Jesus Christ’s redemptive sacrifice sufficient for the whole Universe? Would there be a parallel history of salvation on other planets?”. . . which begs the million dollar question the author brings up next: “Would ET planets be seen as mission territories? Would you baptize an alien? For that matter . . . would you ordain an alien?” [italics in original]
Bigger questions, however, linger in the background. What if these ETs already have a pope? Will they consider the earthly pope as a heretic because Jesex, the real Christ from Andromina 8, was sacrificed by a mojo-laser and not crucified? And Judax who betrayed him has been sealed in a time-capsule instead of hanging himself from a tree? And how does one stage an effective Cosmic Inquisition, given that these aliens may not succumb to being burned at the stake, or be fitted for a rack or an iron maiden or other loving and compassionate conversionary devices? What if these ETs cannot eat communion wafers and wine? And where do you baptize a baby ET? Probably in holy protoplasm, would be my guess. And God forbid, what happens if life on other planets is either spawned by asexual or even -homosexual means-? Perish the thought, because, -what if- the ET theology may be that heterosexual intercourse is a sin, one that God punished by creating the Earth? You’d have an intergalactical sexual apocalypse the likes of which one cannot even imagine. The Big Bang theory as apocalypse, perhaps.
As regards the soul itself, the author goes on to posit: “And having a soul has nothing to do with how many arms or legs, or tentacles, you have.” Indeed. More insights follow as the author speculates further: “Would that include little green men from Arcturus? Or self-aware computers?” Well, you try baptizing a self-aware computer and see what happens (remember the movie: 2001 A Space Odyssey?). And is the self-aware computer delighting in the sins it perpetuates? Because self awareness is not the same as emotional or moral awareness, which a computer (or a psychopath) does not have (outside of Catholic theology). A computer that broadcasts sin but does not itself engage in sin, can such a computer be absolved and saved? And when does a priest perform last rites, at the termination of its warranty? And how can the computer confess to a priest if it does not feel repentance? Or will the computer be ordained as priest and confess itself to the holy mother computer? And is the Father, a spiritual father to the computer as well? You see the problems all this poses? Is excommunication as simple as pulling the plug on the computer? And where does the soul of the excommunicated computer go when it is terminated? Is its soul immortal? Will its circuitry survive hellfire? Is Satan himself in fear of losing his domain to a smarter and more sinister computer? Heavens to Belial forbid!
The Star Fold Sheep
If you take the fundamentalist position that the bible is literal, that means the Catholic Church is way off base, and that these sheep, must be exactly as defined: sheep. Not aliens per say, but perhaps literally alien Sheep, perhaps little green sheep or even Giant Green Sheep, Nephilim Sheep with 666 legs and a matching pair of fangs. And perhaps these alien Nephilim Sheep will point out that Jesus literally means “sheep” when he says “sheep” and thus, the human race is a mutation of a miniature fallen wolf species, and not of the Holy and Apostolic Astral Sheep Fold. The Star-Fold Sheep could begin their own cosmic Inquisition, demanding of humans: “Show us the wool! Bleat out the Sheep Lords Prayer or be damned!” and then begin their own religious genocide against those who are not truly “Star Fold sheep.” Just because earthly sheep are small, stupid, stinky herd-minded animals, doesn’t mean those in Andromedia 8 would be. Oh no. They could be dinosaur sized and meaner than a Spanish Inquisitor without his handcuffs or morning coffee.
But in theology, anything can mean anything you want it to. It’s a hustle, God in a bottle, a space capsule, a jewish peasant as the wine-making, water-walking, sometime-sorcerer, sometime necromancer, Savior and Word (who’d suffer the same fate as any sorcerer in the middle ages via the rack, thumb screws and all else that is loving, merciful and holy); Mohammed in a cave being choked by the angel Gabriel to produce holy writ -plus a few beheadings now and then, a computer reciting the rosary sent into space, hoping to find God. Nephilim Sheep nuking the earth because it is a Sheepless wasteland. All these must remain holy and sacred speculations. As the author of “Intelligent Life in the Universe?” states throughout, “we just don’t know.” Indeed you don’t. I’ll take that as a confession of ignorance, equal to that of the bible. Go and sin no more…because perhaps the Pope from Outer Space is already on his way. And salvation is only a few hundred light years away. . .