Contrary to popular belief, Catholicism and science are not adversaries but rather complements, supporting each other and developing together. Even the Big Bang theory was initially proposed by Father Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian cosmologist and Catholic priest American Museum Natural History. According to the Big Bang theory, the universe is constantly expanding from a single particle at a moment in time. However, this only applies to the observable universe or the less than 5% of the universe that is composed of normal matter and can be observed with our instruments. The other 95% is about 68% dark energy, a mysterious force that repels gravity, and about 27% dark matter, an invisible and unknown substance that cannot be directly observed.

In the face of so much unknown, we are left to wonder what might be out there? If you’ve ever seen shows like the X-Files or Star Trek, you may recognize that some claim that with the universe being so large that there may be life other than just that here on earth.

Since Catholics believe that God is the Creator of the universe, then God would also have to be the Creator of any of these life forms. According to Fr. Jose Gabriel Funes of the Vatican Observatory, believing in aliens would not be opposed to Christianity “because we cannot establish limits to God’s creative freedom”. Just as there are many different kinds of creatures on earth, Funes believes there could be other creatures, even intelligent beings, created by God elsewhere.

Catholic News

So would the Catholic church welcome aliens? Brother Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit and Director of the Vatican Observatory, addresses this in his book co-written with Fr. Paul Mueller, S.J. called Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial?. According to Br. Consolmagno, he would baptize an extraterrestrial but “Only if she asks!”. According to Fr. Mueller, “Just raising that question pushes me to ponder more deeply the meaning of my own baptism. If we can find God in all things, maybe an extraterrestrial could teach us something new about Jesus Christ and the Good News! I’d like that.”

-The Jesuit Review

Although there is no official Catholic teaching, Pope Francis remarked that the church is inclusive and needs to be accepting of all just as how the church has traditionally accepted those who have been rejected and outsiders like the Gentiles. Pope Francis asks what if “tomorrow an expedition of Martians came… green, with long noses and big ears, just like children draw them… and one were to say, ‘I want to be baptize!’. What would happen?”

-Pope Franics

Considering the term ‘alien’ for foreigner or immigrant, we are told in Deuteronomy 10:19 that we “should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.” I think the key takeaway is that the Catholic Church welcomes all: human or alien. We are called to carry God’s message throughout the world and in the future maybe even into space.