My own belief over the years concerning extraterrestrials was that there likely existed a variety of different intelligent life-forms, and I always just assumed each type had their own historical/planetary relationship with the Holy Trinity. To restate something I said in the previous post, it never entered my mind that when we came into closer communication with them and discovered that their “history” in relation to God was somewhat or even vastly different than ours that this would affect our own salvation/creation/Bible history in some peoples’ minds – isn’t each child’s relationship to his/her parents unique and different than that of his/her siblings? – or that it would alter any of our own Catholic beliefs or doctrines. So I was wondering why Father Morris, as we saw in the previous video, said that our potential discoveries may lead to our re-thinking, or gaining a new understanding, of such things as the doctrine of original sin.
But now I will share with you the part of my research that really did give me a surprise. It concerns the beliefs and teachings of Monsignor Corrado Balducci. You can find quite a few YouTubes in which Monsignor Balducci explains his beliefs; one with English subtitles I am including here, but there are others, mainly in Italian. In the following video, Monsignor Balducci tells us that the time is past for debates about whether or not extraterrestrial intelligent life exists; he confirms that it does: “Nowadays there are several considerations that allow us to say with assurance that the existence of these beings is real. We can’t have doubts.”
So far, fine, at least from my perspective. But then Monsignor Balducci presents his thesis: we know four kingdoms – plant, animal, human, angelic. Three of these are natural, one is supernatural. He says it’s a giant step between the human (with a soul, but so tied down to a physical body) and the angels (pure spirit) and that “nature takes no giant steps”. Therefore he proposes that it would be only fitting that there is something inbetween – something with a soul but much less encumbered by the physical. Somewhere else I had read that Monsignor Balducci referred to the intelligent extraterrestrial life as a “missing-link” between humanity and the angels. He believes they are “higher” or more spiritually-advanced than we are because they never sinned, never separated from God and never required redemption in any way.
This is one example of where we may have to, now and in the future, be willing to open ourselves to discussing new ideas that would have a theological impact. Our Catholic teaching never hints at anything even remotely similar to a “missing link” between humanity and the angels, to my knowledge. In the video Balducci mentions St. Thomas, whom I know was considered the angelic Doctor because of his theology on the angels, but does anyone know if St. Thomas ever referred to a form of life between humanity and the angelic realm? I’d love to know, if he did. For myself, I would have no problem if proof were found for the existence of other intelligent life-forms that had never sinned and never required redemption, but personally I would not (at least at this time) see them as a “missing-link” between humans and the angels in the order of Creation – I would simply see them as a life-form from a different dimension with a different story than our own – beings who were created by God, who never separated themselves from God by sin, and thus embody more of His Divine Light and use more of their divinely-inspired capabilities than do the majority of humans.
We often hear the phrase “consider the source” when we’re in a position to try to discern information. So let’s consider the source here. Monsignor Corrado Balducci, who died in 2008, was not just a random priest expounding his personal beliefs. According to my googling he was, over the years:
- Roman Catholic theologian of the Vatican Curia
- a close friend of Pope Benedict XVI
- exorcist for the Archdiocese of Rome
- Prelate of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
- Prelate of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith
So here we have a man of his rank in the Vatican who apparently was expounding his beliefs in UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligent life and his hypothesis of this “missing link” since 1995, both in writing and numerous times on Italian television. He was neither censored nor silenced by either Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI, which to my mind connotes, at the very least, their tacit approval.
One of the main reasons I want to share this information with anyone who may not have already been aware of it is to encourage you to seriously give some time to reflecting on these things. The Vatican has been slow to come forward with its knowledge in this area, but is moving forward now to gently disseminate ideas amongst the public-at-large. There are many out there, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who are quick to pooh-pooh everything, to take offense, to become defensive, to refuse to be open to what will soon be revealed more fully. There are also many out there who presume that the revelation of extraterrestrial life will deflate all Catholic doctrine and teachings, befuddle us, outrage us, defeat us in our beliefs and our faith in our own salvation history and bring the Church to her knees. But as grassroots Catholics we have to have pondered these things, gently debated them with ourselves and others to come to new understandings, and studied the new ideas of the theologians and scientists such as those who attended the November 2009 conference on astrobiology (the secular press called it the conference on aliens) hosted by the Vatican (pdf version of the conference at this link, courtesy of Pia!) so that when confronted, most likely in the near-future, by those who tell us that these discoveries will bring down the Church, we will not be sheepish, nonplussed, speechless or blithering idiots. Let us prepare ourselves now, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually to grasp as much as we are able of God’s wondrous and diverse creation and how our tiny role in it can remain true, just as other life-forms’ roles can be true as well. As Monsignor Balducci stated, “Nothing is negated.” Why can I not revel in the contemplation of a created species that never sinned, thereby bringing great joy to the Lord, as I clutch my Crucifix and thank God for our own history – “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”