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Vatican aide ponders possibility of extra-terrestrial life

Scientific studies on the possibility of intelligent life on other planets is not against the Christian faith, according to the director of the Vatican Observatory.

Fr George Coyne told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that such an extraterrestrial possibility "is an exciting prospect, which must be treated with caution."

"For the time being, there is no scientific evidence of life," the priest added in the interview published on Monday. "However, we are gathering observations that point to this possibility. The universe is so large that it would be folly to say that we are the exception. The debate is ongoing and complex."

Fr Coyne's suggested as a hypothesis that we imagine that there is life beyond the earth.

"If I were to meet an intelligent being from other worlds who revealed to me a spiritual life and told me that his people have also been saved by God through sending his only Son, he would ask me how it is possible that his only 'Son' was present in different places. Thoughts of this kind are a great challenge," the priest said.

"Heresies, one after the other, have tried to deny the humanity of God over the centuries," Fr Coyne added. "Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Can this true man also appear in another planet? I don't know; I don't know whether I should deny or affirm this."

"The possibility of extraterrestrial intelligent and spiritual life poses many questions," the priest said. "Anyway, science does not destroy the believer's faith, but stimulates it."

Vatican Observatory