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← Vatican: It's OK to believe in aliens

rivetheretic's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by rivetheretic

You can't assume that the Catholics are always going to agree with Protestant fundamentalist and Biblical literalists. Theists come in many flavors.

Catholics are not part of the "every word of the Bible is the literal truth" crowd. I don't think they ever were. Their line is, and has been for a long while, that the Church is the only legitimate interpreter of religious truth, including the Bible.

So, this sort of announcement is to be expected. They always need to update what a Catholic is allowed to believe and what they are required to believe.

Catholics, at least not the leadership, are not part of the young earth, ID, creationist kookiness. It isn't part of the party line at any rate (though they don't discourage it either). Catholics are permitted to believe in evolution. They are permitted to believe in a 15 billion year old universe. No problem. They are, however last I checked, required to believe that at some point during evolution, God added an immortal soul to humans.

That's what I find interesting about this announcement. I don't see a ruling on whether Catholics can believe in alien intelligence. I see alien life, but not intelligence. Also, I don't see anything on whether such aliens would have an immortal soul. That's where it get's interesting. The reason that I say that there are different rules regarding expected behavior to those with and without souls. Is it murder when you kill them? Do you have to keep your promises to them? All kinds of things.

Of course, they'll probably never have to answer those questions. But if they do, you can expect a similar announcement then.

Tue, 13 May 2008 16:47:00 UTC | #170612