The Vatican used to burn people for talking about aliens. Now it holds conferences on the subject. After presiding over such an affair, the director of the Vatican Observatory explained “we cannot put limits on God’s creative freedom.”

The theoretical scale of the universe now dwarfs our ancestors’ greatest expectations, and scientists have discovered hundreds of planets since the bad old days when the church equated reason with heresy.

For the Catholic Church, it’s a question of evolution (ironically enough), and perhaps boldly going where no missionary has gone before. — PZS

AP via Yahoo:

“The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration,” said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.

Funes, a Jesuit priest, presented the results Tuesday of a five-day conference that gathered astronomers, physicists, biologists and other experts to discuss the budding field of astrobiology — the study of the origin of life and its existence elsewhere in the cosmos.

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