Perhaps some of you remember the TV show The X Files. To the best of my recollection, my wife and I watched every episode. (At this time – the beginning of our marriage – we were both still looking for the Truth, which we finally found, in its fullness, within the Catholic Church.) Some of the episodes were about paranormal activity but mostly it was about aliens. The above picture is a screen capture of the opening sequence of each episode. “The Truth Is Out There” it says, as if the Truth is not already known and must be discovered. It has been many years since I watched The X Files but it seems to me that in their search for aliens they were really searching for the meaning of life. They could not find meaning in their earthly existence (the main character was not religious and to a certain extent scoffed at religion) so they looked to the stars for other intelligent beings that might be able to tell them the Truth they sought.
Now I bring this up because of something I came across on a website which is, interestingly enough, called The Truth. Perhaps they chose this title because – like the main character in The X Files – they are looking for meaning in their lives. (I have not done much research into the site so I cannot say what they are referring to when they say Truth. At first glance what it seems they might mean is simply the uncovering of conspiracies – which doesn't really comprise Truth in the big scheme of things.)
So why comment on something from this site? And how does it pertain to this talk of aliens, which I started with? Because this website has posted something in regards to the Vatican and extraterrestrial life. The full article can be found here.
Our immediate reaction might be to roll our eyes at such a suggestion but we should not be too quick to dismiss this idea. After all, the universe is a big place. A Jesuit priest, Fr. Funes, from the Vatican Observatory said the following in the article.
Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures on earth, there can be other beings, even intelligent, created by God. This is not in contrast with our faith because we can’t put limits on God’s creative freedom. Why can’t we speak of a ‘brother extraterrestrial’? It would still be part of creation.
There is not really a problem with this thought. There is not even a problem with the possibility they suggest later – that another intelligent being in the universe may not be ‘fallen’ like mankind. In other words, they may still may be in a state of grace: what the Church calls Original Justice. This is really not a new thought at all. C.S. Lewis, in his Space Triology that was first published 75 years ago, brought up these ideas and dealt with them very well.
But, there is a problem with the conclusions that the website tries to jump to in regards to their misunderstanding of what some of the Vatican Obseratory priests say and also the website's apparent misunderstanding of Truth.
…there are some high profile Vatican astronomers that seem quite confident that ‘something’ is out there. In fact, one has stated that once it is revealed, ‘everything we think we know’ may have to ‘be thrown out’.
If something or someone else is “out there”, then there is really nothing to worry about at all. The Truth revealed to us by Jesus Christ, the Son of God through whom everything was created, cannot be contradicted by anything – not even aliens from another planet. Whatever an alien would have to tell us may lead us to a deeper understanding of what our Lord has taught us but it would never be able to abolish it.
So yes, the Truth is “out there” because God, who is Truth, is transcendent and therefore beyond our complete comprehension. But He is also immanent and we can truly know that which He has revealed to us through His Son. Remember the teaching of Christ, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31b-32). There is no new or unknown Truth that can contradict this – not even from outer space.