What Would Alien Life Mean for Catholicism? The Vatican’s Chief Astronomer Explains

Byrd Pinkerton: He’s a Jesuit brother, but also a planetary scientist. And right now, he directs the Vatican Observatory. Given NASA’s plans to return people to the moon in 2024, and tech billionaire enthusiasm for sending humanity into space, I wanted to ask Brother Guy Consolmagno about the relationship between human beings and space, from both a scientific and a religious perspective. More specifically, I wanted to ask him about the tension I saw between his role as a scientist and his role in the church. Astronomers are actively searching for signs of life on other worlds. I wondered what it would mean for Catholicism if they found it. It turns out he doesn’t see that tension at all.

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