Is Belief in Extra-Terrestrial Life Diabolical & Alien to Catholicism?

ImageOver the Christmas holidays, I was amazed to meet people who believed in “aliens/extra-terrestrial life”. I have been even more amazed to discover that the Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer for the Vatican observatory, also believes in extra-terrestrial life, and even intelligent life, as discussed in a 2005 Catholic Truth Society pamphlet. See also the Vatican Conference on the subject (Click on the picture – which is the avatar of our blogger, Miles Immaculatae – to read more).

Thus, when  Miles Immaculatae  suggested the topic for discussion on our blog, I was only too pleased to agree.  Below, he shares his views.  Tell us what you think: is belief in extra-terrestrial life diabolical and therefore, per se, alien to Catholicism?

For several decades, stories of alien abduction and UFO sightings have fascinated many people. Fantastic tales of aliens and flying saucers have permeated the popular culture for good. Much like fairy lore did in centuries past. This appetite for strange and otherworldly things might reveal the loneliness and spiritual void people feel in modern society, one that has largely rejected the Gospel. Spacemen and UFOs have even inspired new religious movements. The most well-known example is the Heavens Gate cult, infamous for its ritual mass suicide in 1997.

It is unlikely we have been visited by intelligent beings from elsewhere in the universe. The theological implications of their existence are untenable and incompatible with Scripture. Natural science is also un-supportive. In-spite of the universe’s immense vastness and the existence of earth like planets, the likelihood of life evolving is improbable.  Even some secularist, evolutionist scientists believe the likelihood of extraterrestrial life is extremely rare. Even if intelligent beings did exist, it is unlikely they would be able to travel to huge distances that would be required. That kind of technology only exists in science-fiction.  

After psychological causes and fabrication have been ruled out, purported UFO and extra-terrestrial encounters are best explained as preternatural phenomena. Upon scrutiny, much of the available evidence of such encounters have the character of the diabolical. Below are presented some reasons for these assertions, drawing on accounts of ‘close encounters’ examined critically through the lens of the Christian Tradition. 

UFO sightings are ubiquitous. However, they seem to cluster around centres of ancient pagan ritual and burial. Various abduction accounts have suspicious elements. Typically, the victims are taken against their will. Some have said they were able to smell the odour of sulphur, which is not uncommon in cases of demonic possession. Many of these abductees have a history of engaging in occultic or New Age practices, which leaves people in a state of spiritual vulnerability, and whom are also frequent in presentations of possession. Similarly, a drop in temperature in the abduction environment is also reported, along with involuntary levitation of the contactee. As with possessed persons, abduction victims often find unexplainable marks on their skin and suffer depressive disorders after the encounter(s).

Abductees have spoken of being jeered and scoffed at by the entities, which communicate through a kind of extra-sensory perception. They exhibit strong animosity towards humans, and even the animals we depend on, as highlighted below. Victims recall having been molested, and the beings are often intent on interfering with the human reproductive organs, often with the assistance of instruments. Among rational creatures, procreation is unique to humans, who have a body. It is unsurprising demons would hate every aspect of our nature. When abuctees have asked the entities why they are subjected to such invasive and humiliating procedures, they often express sentiments like “we have a right to do this”.

In cases of unexplained cattle mutilation, UFOs are frequently reported to have been seen in the vicinity around the time of the incident. The surgical dismembering of domestic creatures in these cases is very clearly a diabolical event. The following features are common: complete draining of the animal’s blood, loss of internal organs with no obvious point of entry, and the precise excision of reproductive organs, mammary glands and rectum. The animal is found discarded in an area where there are no marks or tracks leading to or from the carcass. The wounds tend to be cauterized by an intense heat and made by very sharp instruments, with no evident bleeding . This is a world-wide occurrence. No criminal or natural explanation has been identified. 

Abductees have reported numerous times that the ‘alien’ beings de-materialise when the Holy Name of Jesus is invoked. They have been reported to have walked through walls of buildings, and are evidently of an angelic nature rather than a material one. Likewise, their craft often defy the laws of physics.

Most encounters with ufonauts and their craft occur around 3 am. Crucially, demonologists and exorcists report that this time is a peak of diabolical activity – the ‘Devils hour': an inversion of 3 pm, whereby the death of Our Blessed Lord on the Cross is blasphemously parodied. 

The archetypal ‘Grey’ extraterrestrial with its bug eyes and large head bears an uncanny resemblance to the unearthly gods and goddesses (see image) of the Sumerians, Akkadians and Babylonians for example, as depicted in ancient art.  In relation to the natural religions of these early cultures, Scripture teaches that all the gods of the Gentiles are devils (Ps 95:5). Angels are able to appear in different forms, and it is not unlikely demons would manifest themselves to humans in similar forms throughout history. Even the Mayans are known to have believed that they received knowledge from celestial beings who descended from the sky. Many ufologist insist this is evidence that humans encountered extraterrestrials in antiquity, the ‘ancient astronaut’ theory, although this explanation is not feasible.

Humans have an appetite for the spectacular, and so it is little wonder that the Devil entices us through the age-old trick of conjuring luminous phenomena in the atmosphere. They are an ugly imitation in order to deride the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. In Medjugorje for example, such phenomena appear to occur on a regular basis. Indeed, the British Journal of Ophthalmology (1988) reported that some Medjugorje enthusiasts have suffered irreversible retinal damage due to prolonged sun-gazing. 

Strikingly, there are parallels with historical accounts of human contact with fairies and succubuses, concurrent with abduction and nocturnal molestation: an almost identical narrative to alien abduction, except the form is altered to best deceive the modern imagination. Humans throughout history have always sought consolation in idols. The evil one uses signs and wonders and deceit. It is clear aliens and flying saucers are just another one of his tricks with the overall intention to lead souls away from their heavenly destiny. 

42 responses

  1. I think it is absolutely true that where there is a spiritual void, all sorts of weird ideas will abound. As the saying goes: when man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing; he believes in anything. There have been all sorts of reports of ufos and manifestations throughout the ages but we have Christ so what else do we need?

    In CS Lewis’ triology, one of the books: “Out of the Silent Planet” contains another rational race which hasn’t fallen prey to Original Sin. At one stage one of these beings looks wistfully down at earth and says :Ah, the dark planet…. He was there.” Or words to that effect. I found it very poignant as it was a “happy” sin that merited us such a Saviour.

    I don’t see how it can be unchristian to suppose that another unknown race exists on another planet. God can create as he pleases and all we have to do is accept Revelation. This scenario reminds me of unapproved “apparitions” such as Garabandal; why even bother to study such phenoma when we have so many APPROVED apparitions such as Fatima to consider. In other words, I wouldn’t bother my wee cotton shirt worrying about extraterrestial beings. However, I do accept that Satan plays nasty tricks on persons and that practices such as scances are spiritually dangerous.

    • Crofterlady,

      If there was life on other planets, wouldn’t God have revealed that in scripture or tradition? Who is their saviour? Are we going to have alien saints?

      I do not see any grounds for belief in aliens at all. I’ve always laughed it off and I was surprised to find that the Vatican had run a conference on it.

      Personally, I find the idea that it is all diabolical very credible. It’s now like evolution, something we are asked to believe in without any proper evidence.

    • Crofterlady,

      I think you have hit it on the head – it’s because there’s a spiritual void that people are turning to this kind of thing. It’s unbelievable that the Vatican is also turning to this kind of thing – what does that say about the spirituality in the Church today if not that it is seriously found wanting.

  2. It is unlikely we have been visited by intelligent beings from elsewhere in the universe. The theological implications of their existence are untenable and incompatible with Scripture.

    Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but is Miles Immaculatae arguing that our planet contains the only intelligent life in the entire universe?

    For what it’s worth, I don’t believe all the weird stories either, but I do think, just from the vast number of stars and planets, that it’s highly likely that intelligent beings exist elsewhere. Why should our species be special?

    • Pew Catholic,

      “Why should our species be special?”

      Surely the answer is because Genesis tells us that humans were created in the image and likeness of God and there is no mention of aliens, although other things, even plants, were mentioned?

    • “Why should our species be special?”

      I suppose you mean why should our species alone be created in the image and likeness of God”? Firstly, Scripture doesn’t hint to that. The idea sounds a bit creepy. A bit like having a father who visits you half the year and then goes away the rest of the time. You thought he was working on an offshore oil rig, but it turns out he’s been visiting another family you knew nothing about.

      Also, I presume this intelligent race would have free will, like angels and humans? They might then be subject to original sin. Surely, God would not deprive them of Redemption? Would God incarnate in this alien form? Or is Our Lord’s Incarnation, Life, Death and Resurrection satisfactory for their atonement? God couldn’t expect us to baptise them, they’re too far away. It would take thousands, millions, if not billions of years to send priests to them. There are just too many theological inconveniences, so I will not accept it unless I see evidence. We haven’t even discovered amoebae on Mars.

      Lets assume our theology is wrong. We would have to rely on science. From the viewpoint of secular science there is nothing wrong with extra-terrestrial life, indeed that is the consensus, the most probable hypothesis. The reason for this is that most scientists are evolutionists and Darwinism is inherent to the position alien life has evolved.elsewhere, obviously. Either it evolved, or God created it (which is presupposed to be untenable). Essentially, this is the natural consequence of Evolution.

      I believe the mathematical probabilities are opposed to any form of life evolving in the universe, even human life. The philosopher David Berlinski reckons there is a 1 in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion probability.

  3. While it is not surprising that a Jesuit, a Society rapidly approaching the status of the laughingstock of the Church, believes in extraterrestrials, it would have been helpful if we had some information on what this Vatican conference actually concluded.

    • Great Pretender 51,

      I, too, was intrigued about the Vatican Conference so I Googled and found what I think is an incredible report. The following is an extract, with the link to the full report at the end:

      Extra-terrestrials and the current meaning of religion

      Speaking at the conference, Jesuit priest Father Jose Gabriel Funes, the Vatican’s chief astronomer and one of the officials in attendance, offered this explanation for the Vatican’s interest in UFOs and their occupants:

      ‘Although astrobiology is an emerging field and still a developing subject, the questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very interesting and deserve serious consideration. These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications’. (‘Guardian’, November 11th, 2009)

      Fr. Funes had previously maintained that there is no clash between believing in Catholic doctrine and believing in the possibility of alien life on other planets. In an interview published in 2008 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, he said: ‘I think there isn’t [a contradiction]. Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures over the earth, so there could be other beings, even intelligent [beings], created by God. This is not in contradiction with our faith, because we cannot establish limits to God’s creative freedom’.

      http://www.vatileaks.com/announcements/why-the-vatican-held-a-conference-on-extra-terrestrial-life

      I think it is totally unbelievable that the Vatican is taking this seriously.

      • astrobiology = pseudo-science, the study of something we have no emperical evidence for.

        Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures over the earth, so there could be other beings, even intelligent [beings], created by God.

        Indeed, there are many creatures on earth. Many of them are “intelligent”, like dolphins, chimpanzees and dogs. However, in Thomistic philosophy,the strict definition of ‘inteligence’ applies only to one species we know of… homo sapiens, the only rational animal.

        If there are other beings in the universe, if they are not rational, then they are under the dominion and stewardship of man, as is ordained by God in Genesis. Their existence doesn’t present a theological contradiction per se. They would just be an extension of life on Earth.

        But as for rational, intelligent beings with immortal souls, that is theologically troublesome. God gave Us dominion over all creation. Do we competition? And why has God kept them secret? Does he think we’ll be jealous?

        • Miles Immaculatae,

          “homo sapiens, the only rational animal.”

          I’m surprised you call humans “animals”. I don’t think of humans as just being another type of animal.

          • “I don’t think of humans as just being another type of animal.”

            That’s not fair. You appear accusatory. I wasn’t suggesting any such thing. I use the word ‘animal’ in the philosophical sense. You suggest I believe humans are mere animals, whereas I assert the very opposite: we are unique.

            I was however suggesting that humans are a mixture of animal and spiritual natures. We are made of matter and spirit. Body and soul. We have free will, intellect and an immortal soul. But crucially we also have blood, heart, lungs, digestive system etc.. Unlike ‘pure’ animals who are governed exclusively by instinct, humans are governed partially by instinct as well as intellect. For example, if you fall over you put your arms out, if someone goes to hit you, you flinch, we have flight or fight response. We are created this way to safeguard our survival.

            I am sorry. This is just objective philosophical reality. Our souls aren’t animal, but our bodies are definitely mammalian. If you’re offended by the assertion that we are animals then you’ll have to take that up with our Creator! If we didn’t have an animal nature, we’d be angels. Also, we wouldn’t be able to procreate.

            Perhaps you’re squeamish about the word ‘animal’, in which case creature might be better. However, it is not an accurate word for philosophical discourse, because although angels are creatures, they do not have an animal nature. So referring to humans as a ‘rational animal’ is not at all (at least in my opinion) detrimental to the dignity of our nature. There is only one ‘rational animal’, i.e. there is only one creature with an animal nature who also has a ‘rational’ (read spiritual) nature. And that is man. So assuming intelligent ETs made in the imago Dei do not exist (which they don’t), then the term ‘rational animal’ could only ever uniquely, exclusively refer to HUMANS.

            The word animal comes from the Latin anima which means breath. Essentially an animal is a structure of organic matter which is infused with the breath of life: animated flesh. That’s what we are. No way around it.

            • I meant to add, there is nothing dirty or shameful about animals. They were designed by our Creator and He saw that they were good (Gen 1).

              To share their nature is not a curse, but the way God made us, and to form in which He became incarnate.

  4. I remember hearing a lady being asked if she thought there was intelligent life on other planets and she replied that she was still to be convinced that there was intelligent life on this planet.

  5. BTW, our Catholic Faith does teach that there is indeed extra-terrestrial life – for example, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and the nine choirs of angels….

  6. Maybe there is something out there but they are still at the stage of looking at a wheel and wondering what it can be of any use for.

    If so, I don’t think they will be visiting us for a long time unless they can hitch a lift on a spacecraft.

  7. Some of you may remember Frank Skerritt, of Radio Clyde fame back in the 70s. He was some patter merchant. In between playing records (vinyl, as they were in those days) he was always wisecracking about politics, current affairs etc. One of his classics went like this….’I hear the Americans are about to spend $millions on a new project aimed at finding out if there’s any intelligent life out there in the universe….well, I could save them the money and tell them that THERE IS – the proof is that you wouldn’t catch THEM trying to find out if there’s any intelligence in America….!

    • Pat McKay,

      Love it! We could say the same about Scotland – especially after yesterdays’ disgraceful legalising of same sex marriage.

  8. Just to clarify. Is everyone saying that the Catholic Church teaches that there is no intelligent life anywhere else in the universe?

    (I was going to say there doesn’t seem to be much here, either, but thought editor would say that such remarks are too personal :-))

    • Pew Catholic,

      We live in crazy times. Who would ever have thought of claiming that there is “intelligent life” in the form of aliens ( who would be a challenge to any beautician ) somewhere out in space, when there’s not a scrap of evidence for it anywhere? Why would the Church think of making statements about something so ridiculous for which there is no basis in either Scripture or Catholic Tradition?

      And worry not about offending me by claiming there is no intelligent life in Scotland – far from being reprimanded, you’d have gained some brownie points :grin:

      If you meant this blog, however… that would spell trouble :!: :cry:

      • So you’re saying the Church hasn’t pronounced. That’s good. I don’t want my dissenting to get out of control. I may continue to think that lack of proof of extra-terrestrial life doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

        And I have a high opinion of your intelligence, Editor.
        :-) (Hope the smiley face works this time!)

        • Pew Catholic,

          I have a relative who believes in extra-terrestrial life, and he is completely convinced by stories of alien abduction.

          Do you think there is anything in this and if so why, because I think it’s literally unbelievable. If God made aliens, why did he not let us know before now? Is Jesus their Saviour or do they not need saving? If Jesus is their saviour, how come none of the Gospels mention them and none of the private revelations to great saints?

          I can see how someone who has no belief in God would believe in aliens, but not a Catholic, so I’m interested to learn why you think there might be life out there that is non human.

          • Fidelis

            All the abduction and UFO stories seem a bit crazy to me, and are probably the result of delusion or deception.

            Nevertheless, I feel it’s really unlikely that in this positively enormous universe that our planet is the only one bearing intelligent life. Such life may be quite rare – certainly our solar system shows no other signs of it – and it may or may not be human, and it’s probably so far away that we’ll never come into contact with it, but I don’t think we have the knowledge to take it for granted that it doesn’t exist, somewhere.

            I wouldn’t even begin to wonder how this would work theologically, but someone in an earlier comment mentioned the C S Lewis novels, in which are described worlds which never had the fall of Adam and Eve. These are fictional works, of course, but they make one think of possibilities. After all, God isn’t obliged to tell us what he is doing elsewhere. Especially if we’re never likely to meet ‘others’. We have problems enough of our own!

            • Pew Catholic,

              It never occurred to me that there might be intelligent life out there which may (or not) be human but not in need of salvation. That’s one theological loophole, I suppose.

              Still, it doesn’t explain why the fact of such creation is omitted in the creation accounts in the Book of Genesis.

              It’s not really an argument to say that God doesn’t need to tell us everything He is doing elsewhere because He doesn’t “need” to tell us anything, really, if you think about it. It just seems odd that He’d omit something as important as extra-terrestrial life when He revealed the creation of everything from plants to birds to you-name-it, when He created the earth. Why, when He revealed that He’d created the firmament, the stars, the sun and the moon, would He fail to throw in at least a hint of another planet with intelligent beings, if, in fact, He had created them?

              Finally, God does nothing without a purpose. What purpose might be served by extra-terrestrial life? We’re here to know, love and serve God in this life – what’s their purpose? Apart from making me look good by comparison. I wish I could adopt one to take along to the pubs and clubs with me. I’d be a sensation :grin:

              My key question to you is this: what will I do if an alien applies for the post of Editor of Catholic Truth? How on EARTH will he/she be able to fit the description: slim, glamorous, fashionable, etc etc? :wink:

            • *”delusion or deception” … or demonic.

              A conviction that there is extra-terrestrial life is an inevitable outcome of an evolutionary world view. If you remove evolution from the equation, the vastness of the universe doesn’t present a mathematical necessity for the evolution of life, logically speaking.

              I shared your beliefs once. I was very open to the idea that at the very least there were some simple organisms out there. But I was indoctrinated with neo-Darwinism. My secondary school biology teacher believed in ETs. He also believed dolphins were more cognitively advanced than humans! Only a scientist could believe such rubbish. I do not accept evolution now, and the pressure to accept ETs has dissipated

              Most scientists who believe in the existence of ETs do not believe the fictional ‘Greys’ who crash-landed.in Roswell and kidnap and probe us are genuinely ETs. However, when the scientifically illiterate masses learn that their scientific leaders advocate intelligent ET life, they falsely make the connection between this and the scientific validity of Roswell aliens, which scientists were never advocating in the first place.

              …The result is, millions of people (probably including many Catholics) believe in something as superstitious as believing in fairies. And the devil loves this.

          • Editor and Miles Immaculatae

            God didn’t reveal to the writer of Genesis that the stars were any more than just ornaments in the sky. The immensity of the universe and the relative insignificance of our world were still not known at the time of the New Testament. The fact that the Earth revolves round the Sun wasn’t established until the late Middle Ages. (I take it everyone on the blog does agree that the Earth goes round the Sun?)

            Yes, this is a form of evolution. We discover more and more as time goes on. But this appears to be the way God has chosen to organise things.

            Editor, no alien would DARE to challenge you for your job! Nor could he/she/it/they EVER compete as far as the general qualifications required are concerned! :-D

            • Pew Catholic,

              “I take it everyone on the blog does agree that the Earth goes round the Sun?”

              Not quite. You’ve obviously missed this thread – you really must watch the video(s) :shock:

              PS if you don’t want to risk missing new topics, I suggest you click on “+Follow” at the top of this page and then WordPress will automatically email you every time I post a fresh topic. You know it makes sense…

            • The stars and celestial bodies, as we see them with the naked eye, as our ancient ancestors saw them, are indeed ornaments for signs, and for seasons and for days and years (Gen 1:14). The Creator set them in the firmament of heaven, to shine upon the earth (Gen 1:17). What this reveals is that the universe is for us, for our wonder, for us to behold, with awe and intrigue. We’re the centre of it all. It is all there for us. The cosmos is vast, and in relation to it the we are infinitesimally small, but clearly not insignificant.

              The universe was created in its vastness and majesty as a work of ‘natural revelation’, that we may contemplate the glory of God. I do not feel the description in Genesis disparages the size and complexity of the universe, as you appear to assert.

              That is what science is. God gives us the elements. The elements do not evolve, but we uncover them in an ongoing process of discovery. The more that we learn about them doesn’t change their essence, the reason they were created in the first place.

  9. For aliens they say there’s no proof
    But I’m going to shout from the roof
    That it’s a terrible lie
    And I’ll tell you just why
    ‘Cos they all work with Catholic Truth

  10. I suffer from a particular medical condition and two separate studies in the USA have now opined that such disease is the result of a residual Neanderthal gene within my gene-pool.

    The explanation at last!!!!!

    • It won’t be long until people like Dawkins start blaming religion on residual ‘Neanderthal’ genes.

      The most ludicrous thing I ever heard Dawkins say was his evolutionary hypothesis on the preservation of the ‘gay gene':

      (the video contains an offensive word)

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