by David Willey
BBC News, Rome
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
The Pope's chief astronomer says that
life on Mars cannot be ruled out.
Writing in the Vatican newspaper, the astronomer, Father Gabriel
Funes, said intelligent beings created by God could exist
in outer space. Father Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory
near Rome, is a respected scientist who collaborates with
universities around the world.
The search for forms of extraterrestrial life, he says, does not
contradict belief in God.
The official Vatican newspaper headlines his article 'Aliens Are My
Just as there are multiple forms of life on earth, so there could
exist intelligent beings in outer space created by God. And
some aliens could even be free from original sin, he
Asked about the Catholic Church's condemnation four centuries ago of
the Italian astronomer and physicist, Galileo, Father Funes
diplomatically says mistakes were made, but it is time
to turn the page and look towards the future.
Science and religion need each other, and many astronomers believe
in God, he assures readers.
To strengthen its scientific credentials, the Vatican is organizing
a conference next year to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of
the author of the Origin of Species,