In a document published by the Catholic Truth Society, the official publisher for the Vatican, a papal astronomer speculates that “sooner or later, the human race will discover that there are other intelligent creatures out there in the Universe”.
Brother Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit, who is one of the Vatican’s leading astronomers, concedes that he could be wrong.
Ultimately, he says, “We don’t know.” But in the new book, part of the Explanations series designed to explain Catholic teaching in everyday language, he says that part of his hunch is scientific.
With so many billions of planets, stars and galaxies, he says, “ surely, somewhere in that number, there must be other civilised, rational beings”.
To back up his hunch that the aliens will have been subject to Christ’s saving grace, he cites the verses from John’s Gospel known as the Good Shepherd passage.
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In John x, 14-16, Jesus says: “I am the Good Shepherd . . . 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.”