ET, Phone Rome: Vatican Holds Alien Conference

Astrobiology experts ponder big picture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2009 2:35 AM CST
A view of a portrait of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, part of the "Galilei Divin Uomo" (Galilei Divine Man) exhibit, in the Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica in Rome.   (AP Photo/Sandro Pace)
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(Newser) – Does intelligent life exist elsewhere in the universe and if so, is it Christian? Those and other weighty questions are up for discussion this week at a Vatican conference on astrobiology. Religious leaders and a range of scientists—including some non-Catholics—have been called in to discuss the possibility of extraterrestrial life and its implications, the Telegraph reports.

Some theologians argue that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would undermine Christian beliefs, but Catholic leaders say that the possible existence of alien life doesn't conflict with the Bible's teachings. "As a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God," said the pope's chief astronomer, who organized the conference. "This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God." (Read more astronomy stories.)