Saturday, January 3, 2009

Extraterrestrials, Vatican's Observatory, UFOs

Castel Gandolfo


One cannot help but wonder exactly what the Vatican knows about extraterrestrial life, and is not saying. I’ve often wondered why for centuries now, they have been so interested in the heavens. I don’t mean Heaven, we all know they have interests there, but I mean the heavens: the solar system, the cosmos, the stars, the universe or universes ... and extraterrestrials? Yeah, those guys.

The Vatican’s Observatory, a few miles from the Vatican at the Papal Summer Villa, Castel Gandolfo in the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano, a small volcanic crater lake, is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world. The Vatican’s interest in astronomy can be traced to Pope Gregory XIII who had the Tower of the Winds built in the Vatican in 1578. Pope Gregory XIII had called on Jesuit astronomers and mathematicians to study the scientific data and implications involved in the reform of the calendar which occurred in 1582. It appears from that time forward the Vatican has manifested an interest in and support for astronomical research.

The Tower of Winds is a three-story building rising up from Vatican Palace, and decorated in celebration of the accomplishments of Pope Gregory XIII’s calendar reform from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, which took away ten days during the month of October and made adjustments to leap years and is now the favored calendar by most.

In 1891, Leo XIII founded the Vatican Observatory (Specola Vaticana) and chose the Tower of Winds as its seat, and its roof was substituted with a flat terrace to allow astronomical observations. For more than four decades astronomical research was carried out, including an international program to map the whole sky.

Pope Pius XI had the Observatory moved to Castel Grandolfo. There at the modern observatory, entrusted to the Jesuits, three new telescopes were added in the mid-1930s, the installation of an astrophysical laboratory for spectrochemical analysis, and expansion of research programs on variable stars, carrying on the work of mid-nineteenth century Jesuit Father Angelo Secchi, the first to classify stars according to their spectra. In 1957 with the installation of a Schmidt wide-angel telescope, research was extended to other topics. In recent years, month-long summer school in Astronomy and Astrophysics for a small number of students from around the world is taught by eminent scholars invited for the occasion. The school has become a biennial event in the Observatory’s programs.

Castel Gandolfo’s library contains more than 22,000 volumes and possesses a valuable collection of rare antique books including works of Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, Clavius, and Secchi.

There is also a unique meteorite collection that is being researched for clues to the early history of the solar system.

As modern time increased the population of Rome, the skies above the Observatory again became too bright and in 1981, the Observatory founded another research center, the Vatican Observatroy Research Group in Tucson Arizona. They now have access to all the telescopes at Tucson’s Mount Graham International Observatory.

The 10,713 foot Mount Graham, northeast of Tucson, Arizona surges up from the desert floor giving the appearance of a giant island in the sky, the site upon which the Vatican Observatory has established its own powerful telescope to scan the heavens, operated in conjunction with Mount Graham International Observatory. The International Observatory also houses telescopes operated by the University of Arizona.

One may wonder if the Vatican is mounting a search for God–or maybe for the Virgin Mary as she travels the cosmos leaving a "sign" in the skies to be recognized by we humans here on the Earth plane.

It seems that the Vatican is searching for neither–or, at least, that is not their announced intention. However, according to a story in the London Daily Telegraph, the Reverend George Coyne, then director of the Vatican Observatory, is quoted as saying, "The church would be obliged to address the question of whether extraterrestrials might be brought within the fold and baptized. One would need to put some questions to him such as: 'Have you ever experienced something similar to Adam and Eve, in other words, original sin? Do you people also know a Jesus who has redeemed you?'"

In a syndicated Knight-Ridder News Article in late 1992, columnist Steve Yozwiak reports that the Reverend Chris Corbally, a staff astronomer and project scientist in Tucson, said that the possibility of encountering alien life raises profound theological questions. "Surely, it would be fascinating to have a real encounter with another intelligence," Corbally stated, adding, "We would be open to that sort of thing."

This has to be seen as a gigantic leap forward for a church which, in ages past, executed scientists such as Giordano Bruno (1600). Pope Clement VIII ordered that the "impenitent and pertinacious" heretical astronomer be burned at the stake for insisting that our Earth was not the center of the universe. Bruno believed in an infinite universe and a multiplicity of worlds.

In contrast, to show how far the Catholic hierarchy has come, Pope Pius XII, in an address in 1951, stated, "The more true science advances, the more it discovers God, almost, as though He were standing, vigilant behind every door which science opens."

And again: In 2000, Pope John Paul II had to issue a formal apology for all the errors of the Church over the last 2000 years which apparently included the trial of Galileo and the burning of Bruno, among other events. The Church was a little slow in recanting their sins, I would say.

Today, of course, our scientists are not at all reluctant to discuss the possibility of intelligent life beyond the earth and are even unashamedly seeking communications from those other worlds.

In regards to extraterrestrial life in the universe, in May 2008, in an interview by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."

Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom, he said.

Monsignor Corrado Balducci (1923-2008) was a high Vatican official, a Catholic theologian, a parapsychologist, expert on Demonology and an author. He made several statements during interviews on Italian television about extraterrestrials and attended conferences. He stated, “There are already many considerations which makes the existence of these beings into a certainty. We cannot doubt. Even if we say that among a hundred of these phenomenon there are only... even if we said that 99 were false and that one was true, it´s that one that says that some phenomenon exist.”

He often proclaimed that extraterrestrial contact is a real phenomenon. Balducci provided an analysis of extraterrestrials that he feels is consistent with the Catholic Church's understanding of theology. Monsignor Balducci emphasizes that extraterrestrial encounters "are not demonic, they are not due to psychological impairment, they are not a case of entity attachment, but these encounters deserve to be studied carefully."

The Jesuit Father and astronomer Fr. Angelo Secchi (1818 - 1876) wrote: “It is absurd to claim that the worlds surrounding us are large, uninhabited deserts and that the meaning of the universe lies just in our small, inhabited planet.”

The apparent reconciliation between church and science seems to reflect the spirit of Albert Einstein, who once stated, "The cosmic religious experience is the strongest and noblest force behind the driving force of scientific research."

Ironically, the Vatican's six-foot diameter mirror telescope, one of the most accurate in the world, is poised near the New Mexico border, a mere 150 miles (or just a few seconds of supersonic flight) due west of White Sands–which has been a bee hive of UFO activity since the early atomic tests in that region–few more publicized than the incident at Roswell in 1947.

In 1992, as reported by the Dallas Morning News, a 73 year old Texan, Wesley Nunley, living on the outskirts of Dallas, built a UFO landing strip, which he proclaimed U-F-O LANDING BASE 1, with two-foot high letters painted on concrete.

So the Vatican and the scientific community had better watch out–they had a competitor. While the "eyes" of the scientific/theological world are focused so far out into the vastness of the universe, they may miss the fly-by of the extraterrestrials on their way to Texas or other places which give them a nice landing strip. There in Texas, less than a thousand miles distant from Mount Graham, that Texan had not lost sight of any bets, though. The landing pad on his property also reads, "WELCOME LORD JESUS."

So maybe the Vatican knows something we don't.

Or do we?

But it definitely seems the Vatican is dropping hints here and there that we are not alone, and they want us to know that.

Preparing us? Could be, but most will not be surprised. Will we?

Check out this newest video. The BBC has been allowed into the Pope's Observatory at his Villa Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. The Catholic priests who run the centre have strong views on everything from life on other planets, to whether the Star of Bethlehem actually existed.



Ricky Kendall said...

Taking an additional step in what life forms may be found elsewhere in the Universe, I have gone so far as to ponder life even on our sun, sunlife. We understand life under our terms and definitions. If life existed on the sun in the form of flames, energy or light, would we recognize it? If life existed in the clouds of Jupiter, would we have the capability to communicate with it? We need to expand our definition of life and work diligently to recognize it in any form that it may take. Life may not walk, talk, eat, sleep or be visible to our naked eye. I'm being specific in using the phrase "our naked eye" because other life may be visible to their own or other life forms that were built under the same laws of physics. I know that this concept is far reaching and, in many minds, mad sci-fi imaginings but we know more than in any other time in history that life is a very strong force and could quite possibly take on any form. I find the whole concept exciting and this keeps my imagination alive and my spirit ready.

MJ said...

Hi Linda... Thanks so much for your note on my blog the other day. Messages like that really make blogging very rewarding! After a quick (and possibly shoddy) search on your blogs I couldn't find an e-mail address for you so I thought I'd just put my thanks into a comment - knowing you'd get it. I can offer you some advice and answers to your questions - e-mail might be better... mine is:

I look forward to hearing from you!