Pope Francis during his weekly audience in St Peter's Square earlier this month. Photo: AFP
Vatican City: Pope Francis has declared everyone has the right to be baptised, even aliens should they come knocking on the church's door.
Christians cannot "close the door" to all those who seek baptism even if they are "green men, with a long nose and big ears, like children draw," the pope said at his daily mass on Monday, according to Vatican Radio.
"If tomorrow, for example, an expedition of Martians arrives and some of them come to us ... and if one of them says: 'Me, I want to be baptised!', what would happen?" Francis said in another display of his lively sense of humour.
The Argentine pontiff known for his down-to-earth style has often used colourful and humorous expressions to make his points on the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.
On baptism Francis has stressed that it should not be refused, especially to children whose parents may be breaking Church rules such as living together as an unmarried couple.
By Jim Schinstock / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Posted Jan 24, 2018
“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and a big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?” (Pope Francis, May 2014)
A provocative question, one answered by two Jesuit astronomers in their book, “Would you baptize an extraterrestrial?” The two Jesuits, Brother Guy Consalmagno and Father Paul Mueller, are part of a team of Jesuit scientists studying and conducting experiments at the Vatican Observatory. In addition to that question, the two scientists also examine other questions posed to them. Among those questions are biblical creation stories versus the Big Bang, how and why Pluto was demoted from its “planet” status, what really happened to Galileo, what was the star of Bethlehem, and what will happen at the end of the world.
Brother Guy and Father Paul tackle these questions with a breezy, slightly irreverent style. Their writing technique is conversational, with a lot of off-the-cuff, back-and-forth moments. The science is presented clearly and straightforwardly.
The first chapter tackles the question of the Big Bang and biblical creation stories. The authors’ opinion is that God is the author not only of the Bible but also of the Nature. Since science and religion look at life from different angles, what may seem contradictory isn’t necessarily so. Further study might show that scientific and religious truths not only might complement each other but even enhance a mutual understanding.
Similarly, the chapter on Pluto compares how scientists refined their views on classifying planets with how the church refines theological concepts through various councils and pronouncements. The process, in both science and religion, is often pretty “messy.”
The chapter on the star of Bethlehem looks at a variety of possible explanations for the phenomenon but then branches out to discuss symbolic and allegorical reasons why the author of the Gospel of Matthew would include the story of the magi.
The authors include their own personal stories throughout the book, both humorous and touching. For example, in the section talking about the end of the world, one of the authors recounts how he was asked to baby-sit for some friends who had some young sons. As the boys fell asleep, he found himself weeping because his vow of celibacy meant that he could never father his own children. That profound sense of loss also included anger directed at those who would take advantage of the young and vulnerable in their care.
Of course, my favorite chapter was about baptizing extraterrestrials. Imagine, baptizing ET! The authors point out that baptism should be a gift, not something imposed on others. They would baptize an extraterrestrial if and only if he or she asked to be baptized. The authors then examine how we do and how we should treat outsiders and strangers among us, echoing the point made by Pope Francis.
The authors are knowledgeable and comfortable discussing science, religion, art and culture. Their overarching position is that science and religion, reason and faith, ultimately lead to the same truth. An atheist astronomer who reviewed the book said, “I love the introduction to Catholic doctrine. The philosophy that scripture and science are two ways of understanding the Truth, and if they contradict it just means that imperfect humans aren’t yet able to understand, is such a wonderful peaceful philosophy instead of how so many fundamentalists (of both the religious and atheist variety) are trying to pit science and religion against each other.”
As for myself, I rarely have a problem reconciling my religious views with science. Something I learned a long time ago is that for me at least, science teaches “how the heavens go,” while religion teaches “how to go to heaven.” A simple, but critical distinction.
casper: I'm back again!!! Maybe this time my computer won't die like it did the last time.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:04 GMT -6
casper: Skywalker just fixed it. You know what that means. It's doomed.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:53 GMT -6
skywalker: Very funny, ghost boy
Jun 3, 2018 14:58:58 GMT -6
lois: Casper he should come fix mine. Mine is doomed
Jun 26, 2018 21:54:27 GMT -6
spotless38: Iam back after a long break . What a couple of years I had . After what had happened I lost my brother and had to bury him and then I had caught that type A flue and I was a very sick puppy I also needed blood for the loss of it .
Jul 7, 2018 13:30:41 GMT -6
lois: Very Happy to see you Ron. Missed you. Glad you are doing better now. Sorry for your lost. I did not know your brother had passed. hugs lois
Jul 10, 2018 0:52:45 GMT -6
paulette: Ron - hope you've hit a quiet spot. Sorry for your loss.
Aug 3, 2018 10:49:30 GMT -6
lois: I picked up my phone a few days ago and I looked at the name of the caller. Boy was I surprise. It has been a couple of years. So good to hear your voice Ron. Hope you make it a habit again. love and hugs .
Aug 15, 2018 23:21:38 GMT -6
leia77: Spotless, I am glad that you are feeling better and welcome back! I too am back from a long time away...
Aug 31, 2018 2:08:32 GMT -6
jcurio: I am much relieved to see that you have been on here, Spotless! I hope that things are going much better for you now
Sept 19, 2018 16:46:42 GMT -6
jcurio: And Lois, And Lorelei!
Sept 19, 2018 16:47:07 GMT -6
casper: And Meeeeeee!!
Oct 16, 2018 18:41:31 GMT -6
lois: Sorry guys I cannot see the print. On is tiny hand computer
Oct 21, 2018 20:42:09 GMT -6
lois: Casper your page stops at page five in 2016
Nov 15, 2018 23:54:01 GMT -6
lois: How did your Halloween night go this year?
Nov 15, 2018 23:54:58 GMT -6
skywalker: He posted on the Halloween thread this year.
Nov 25, 2018 18:33:36 GMT -6
lois: Oh ok Sky I will check it out. Thanks.
Dec 21, 2018 21:45:31 GMT -6
lois: What topic was it under.
Dec 21, 2018 21:51:07 GMT -6