The new president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation has said that it is only a matter of time before alien life forms are discovered, which will pave the way to questions about God’s relationship to intelligent beings outside our planet.
Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno speculated that the general public will not be too surprised when life on other planets is eventually discovered, and will react in much the same way it did when news broke in the ’90s that there are other planets orbiting far off stars.
Consolmagno, a planetary scientist who has studied meteorites and asteroids as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993, told Catholic News Service that discovery of alien life will not prove or disprove the existence of God, but will pave the way to questions on salvation and how it relates to intelligent species.
He also argued that there is no conflict between science and religion, and that both fields can complement each other.
“Eventually you learn that the kinds of questions you ask as a scientist and the kinds of answers you get as a scientist are only the kinds of questions that lead to more questions. They’re all very contingent. Now I understand how this works, but that opens up a new mystery that I hadn’t seen before and now I can explore that mystery,” Consolmagno said.