UFOs in the Catholic Church

This article includes excerpts and/or summaries from Daniel O'Conner's monumental book "Only Man Bears his Image" (Used with permission)

The UFO question touches on the very essence of the creature’s relationship with its Creator.

  • Is man the unique being of all material creation made in the Divine Image, or only one of multiple (even innumerable!) races of rational creatures throughout the universe?
  • Does the human race have siblings, or not? (If any intelligent incarnate creatures exist anywhere in the cosmos, they too would be our brethren.)
  • Have we been failing, for 2,000 years, to pray for the vast majority of those in dire need of our prayers?
  • Is Jesus Christ truly the only Incarnation of the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity, or is He just one of a whole population of Divine Individuals that are each God-Incarnate?
  • Is the Blessed Virgin the Mother of God, or just one of countless such Immaculate Mothers?
  • Is the Bible so fundamentally lacking in its ability to provide us a coherent worldview that it could entirely leave out any acknowledgement whatsoever of the vast majority of God’s eternally oriented (i.e., rational) creation?
  • Is the human body—assumed by God Himself 2,000 years ago—merely one more-or-less arbitrary way of designing an incarnate intelligent being just as a Volkswagen Beetle is one way of configuring a motor vehicle?
  • Or, rather, is Scripture correct when it teaches that “God made man right,” (Ecclesiastes 7:29),

And, of supreme and likely imminent importance: if some manner of “alien contact” is presented on the news tomorrow, should we take what these “aliens” claim at face value and engage in dialogue with them, hoping to learn from their teachings as we do from other human societies? Or, should we switch into discernment mode in order to better understand the darker reality of what we may well truly be dealing with? (Hint: the latter.)

Many of the most pervasive diabolical deceptions the Church has already refuted arose from false prophets who have proposed to present to the Faithful the hitherto “missing Chapters” of Salvation History: Gnosticism, Islam, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, various New Age “revelations,” and too many others to list.

So when we see ET promoters make similar claims we should take note.

Like many churches these days, there is a war in the Catholic Church between adherants to the biblical account of the world and the adherents to the narrative of the psuedo-scientific community.

Extra-terrestrial (ET) promoters love to assert that there is no official Catholic position offered by the Magisterium or the traditions of the Catholic Church so they can freely promote ET belief within the Church.

The Catholic Church is bound by several principles: (1) The Bible (2) The Early Church Father's interpretation of the Bible (3) Magisterial pronouncements (4) The sensus fidelium, which kicks in when a belief is universally held by the faithful (Top of hierarchy down to the laity).

“It is not possible for there to be another earth than this one.”

—St. Thomas Aquinas

“There is another heresy that says that there are infinite and innumerable worlds, according to the empty opinion of certain philosophers—since Scripture has said that there is one world...”[1]
St. Philastrius, Bishop of Brescia (†397 A.D.)

The Catholic Church has long been aware that Christianity has been the only religion not to believe in aliens. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and a multitude of pagan religions have always held that there are multiple civilizations on other planets.

Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has consistently rejected the idea of aliens in the heirarchy of reality.

The Nicene Creed

In this Creed, Christians profess the following:

...I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God ... begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven... (The Nicene Creed)

  • Jesus Christ, is literally consubstantial with the almighty Father who made the entire universe, not merely similar or related; rather, Jesus and the Father are one in their very being.
  • [Jesus] is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature... (Hebrews 1:3. NASB)

  • This Creed repudiates any cryptic interpretations of Jesus’ nature or mission which would regard Him as somehow “less” than God; somehow a mere “manifestation” of God; somehow on par with “other Sons of God.” If any other incarnation existed, it too would be “Lord;” it too would be a “Begotten Son” of God.
  • Jesus is the only "one", Lord; the “only” Begotten Son of God; the one “through [whom] all things were made.
  • Jesus came down “for us men and for our salvation.”
  • Not only, therefore, does the Nicene Creed rule out the possibility of multiple incarnations. It also rules out the possibility that the Incarnation transpired for the sake of alien races.

All of Creation doens't include aliens

This classic painting from the 16th century depicts the full scpectrum of reality from hell up to heaven and everything in between. There are no gaps, no space for an "unknown alien" or life on other planets. his also shows the hierarchy of conciousness (of being) with humans right below angels and no gap for aliens that are more advanced than us.

The Great Chain of Being

The Great Chain of Being from  Didacus Valades

This image represents the universal belief of the Church, sensus fidelium.

In our timeline of alien belief we see universal condemnation of UFO's in Christianity before the "enlightenment".

The 1800's were heavily dominated by the influence of freemasonry and the occult. The New Age has its roots in the Theosophy movement founded by Helen Blavasky. Ouija, Theosophy, séances, automatic writing, mediums, secret societies, table-rapping, spirit-photography, mesmerism, telepathy, divination, etc.—all of which are simply portals for demons—were everywhere. Extraterrestrial fixation was just another item to add on to that list.

This was before powerful telescopes and there was near universal belief that all the other planets in our solar system were inhabited by aliens. This infected many Catholics and the Pope responded.

[it is condemned to hold the positions that:]

“Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to a continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the advancement of human reason.” (§5)

The method and principles by which the old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of our times and to the progress of the sciences.” (§13)

“The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church.” (§22)

The Pope concluded his condemnation of these errors with a grave warning:

... how sad and full of perils is the condition of Catholics in the regions of Europe which We have mentioned. Nor are things any better or circumstances calmer in America...

Many of the writings, even of Catholics of the time were full of alien discussion. In the early 1900's as telescopes improved, each assertion by ET promoters of the 1800's collapsed one by one and achademia swung back to a position of not believing in aliens.

Until 1947, when the devil had to implement a new strategy. A crashed weather ballon began the modern UFO age.

The [human] body, in fact, and only the [human] body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it (Theology of the Body, 19:4)
- Saint Pope St. John Paul II

“Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God, and so in the image and likeness of the Son, for he is the perfect image of his Father. To be made in the image and likeness of the Son not only means that human beings possess intelligence – the ability to know the truth and to will and love what is good—but also that our bodies must ... bear the image of God. For it is the whole of us as human beings that bears God’s image.”
—Fr. Thomas Weinandy [5]

“Man is the perfection of the universe...” —St. Francis de Sales. Treatise on the Love of God. Book X. Chapter 1.

The Scriptural expression “heaven and earth” means all that exists, creation in its entirety. ... “the earth” is the world of men, while “heaven” or “the heavens” can designate both the firmament and God’s own “place”—”our Father in heaven” and consequently the “heaven” too which is eschatological glory. Finally, “heaven” refers to the saints and the “place” of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God.”

—Catechism of the Catholic Church, §326

Popes can bind Heaven, what about popes on other planets?

Jesus said to human popes, "Whatever you bind in Heaven is bound”,(Mat 16:18-19). There is only one Heaven, which is bound by 266 men on earth, successors of Peter, who need not consult with any aliens to ensure their ex-cathedra declarations remain consistent with similar declarations of extraterrestrial popes.

Scripture’s Creation Account Rules Out Aliens

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

The billions of trillions of stars (according to modern astronomers) are all gathered, in the inerrant Word of God, into the simple umbrella term of “the heavens,” whereas only one planet merits any particular attention.

The earth is nothing, quantitatively, in relation to “the heavens.” Yet it is given its own category in Scripture’s first verse. The definite article used here by God: “the” earth, not "an" earth or "our" earth.

There is a JPII comment on ETs purported by Dr. Thigpen, an ET advocate, who claims Monsignor Corrado Balducci, another ET promoter, says JPII responded to a kid about UFOs during a trip. There is no evidence of this. Transcripts on the Vatican site of this papal visit have no mention of aliens. In the 27 year pontificate of JPII and 8 years of BXVI, this unverifiable 2nd hand hearsay is all that ET promoters can come up with for papal endorsements of aliens from these fathers of the Catechism.

Monsignor Corrado Balducci (the highest ranking Catholic ET promoter) invited the Catholic Church to reconsider its position on this issue (ETs). (source)

This demonstrates that:

  1. Its common knowledge that the Church does have a position against ETs
  2. Balducci was the highest ranking ET advocate around the Vatican, not the Pope

Moreover, even if a hypothetical pope did believe in aliens, the words of Magisterial documents must speak for themselves regardless of the intention of the Pope. For instance, the infamous footnote of Amoris Laetetia can be read with a hermeneutic of continuity even though Pope Francis' intented to break tradition. The Holy Spirit protects magisterial documents from imperfect popes. This is the gift of infallibility. However, in the case of UFOs, this protection is not necessary because the popes never advocated for UFOs.

The Vatican lumps UFO belief with the New Age

In its groundbreaking report on the New Age the Vatican says:

... in the more popular forms of New Age, “individuals and groups are living out their own fantasies of adventure and power, usually of an occult or millenarian form.... The principal characteristic of this level is attachment to a private world of ego-fulfilment and a consequent (though not always apparent) withdrawal from the world. On this level, the New Age has become populated with strange and exotic beings, masters, adepts, extraterrestrials; it is a place of psychic powers and occult mysteries, of conspiracies and hidden teachings”. (source)

Catechism rules out aliens

“Of all visible creatures, only man is able to know and love his creator...”
Cat §356

Some ET promoters try to limit the passage to creatures on Earth. However, the Catechism explicitly refers to the universe as its context, and it puts man in this context.

The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God. §299

Show 14 more references to the universe in the Catechism

...knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe. §32

It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called "God"? §284

The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it.  §302

God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help. §317

... when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God's great sabbath rest after the fulfillment of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe. §624

"The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life," §759

Christ, King and Lord of the universe §786

... There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church." §813

The King of the universe §992

The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ. §1047

...the material universe itself will be transformed ... §1060

Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited light; the Orient of orients pervades the universe, and he who was "before the daystar" and before the heavenly bodies, immortal and vast, the great Christ, shines over all beings more brightly than the sun. §1165

The dominion granted by the Creator over the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be separated from respect for moral obligations, including those toward generations to come. §2456

He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe §1345

Some have postulated that rational beings on any planet are "men", but that is ruled out by the infallible dogma that all men are descendants of Adam and Eve. (Papal Encyclical Humani Generis, para. 26)

In a letter to St. Boniface, Pope St. Zachary wrote the following about a certain cleric named Virgil:

As for his perverse and abominable teaching, which he has proclaimed in opposition to God, and to his own soul’s detriment... that there are another world and other men beneath the earth, or even the sun and moon...take counsel and then expel him from the church, stripped of his priestly dignity.

Pope Pius II said

... most pernicious errors...a sacrilegious attempt against the dogmas of the holy Fathers” taught by a certain Zaninus de Solcia. Among these “sacrilegious” errors were the following condemned propositions ... (3) God created another world than this one, and in its time many other men and women existed, and consequently Adam was not the first man...

“Cum sicut accepimus,” November 14, 1459
Only Man Bears His Image: (p. 202)

For those who think this Magisterial statement does not apply to the current age, Daniel O'Connor has an apologetic here.

Belief in Aliens is not compatible with Catholic Eschatology, which has Christ coming back at the end of the universe and the end of all time.

“...the first historical coming of Christ ... invites us to look forward with expectation to his second coming at the end of time.”[19] (Pope John Paul II.)

“God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come...” (Pope Pius XII. Munificentissimus Deus. §4,5)

“At the end of time [the Church] will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam ... will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church ... at the end of time, when Christ, our life, shall appear...” (Lumen Gentium. §2,9)

“...apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time.” (Dei Verbum. §8)

“[The Mass] will continue to be offered without interruption till the end of time” (Pope Pius XI. Ad Catholici Sacerdotii. §14)

“...the Church grows with spiritual increase throughout the world down to the end of time.” (Pope John XXIII. Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia. §53)

“Within the dimension of time the world was created ... its goal [is] in the glorious return of the Son of God at the end of time.” (Pope John Paul II. Dies Domini. §74)

“Certainly Christ is a King for ever; and though invisible, He continues unto the end of time to govern and guard His church from Heaven” (Pope Leo XIII. Satis Cognitum. §11)

“[God,] in the times of Noah brought the deluge because of man’s disobedience ... [and] will bring [His justice] on the day of judgment at the end of time” (St. Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Book IV. Chapter 36. §4)

“He has determined at the end of time to pass judgment on the living and the dead ... He defers it, however, until the end of time, when He will pour forth His wrath in power and heavenly might.” (Lactantius. The Divine Institutes. Book Two. Chapter 17.)

“Sanctify this offering in your mercy, so that they who by your gift have today united themselves more closely to your son may hasten gladly to meet him when he comes in glory at the end of time.” (Roman Missal. Mass for the Consecration of Virgins. Eucharistic Prayer I. Hanc Igitur.)

“[In] Advent ... [our] minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time.” (Roman Missal. Universal Norms. V. §39)

“When the resurrection occurs, it will not be time but the end of time.” (St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica. Supplement. Question 77. Article 3.)

“When [Christ] comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead...” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §682)


NOTE: This article includes some exerpts and/or summaries from Daniel O'Conner's book " Only Man Bears his Image".