Pope Francis raised a very intriguing question at his homily at Mass yesterday:
“That was unthinkable. If – for example – tomorrow an expedition of Martians
came, and some of them came to us, here… Martians, right? Green, with that
long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, ‘But I
want to be baptized!’ What would happen?”
Peter understands his error
when a vision enlightens him to a fundamental truth: that which has been
purified by God cannot be called “profane” by anyone. And in narrating these
facts to the crowd that criticized him, the Apostle calms them all with this
statement: “If then God gave them the same gift He gave to us when we came to
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder
“When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord,
it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way’… and Peter in that first diocese –
the first diocese was Antioch – makes this decision: ‘Who am I to admit
impediments?’ A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians. Who are
we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the
ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the
people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door,
Again Pope Francis repeated, God has left the guidance of the
Church “in the hands of the Holy Spirit.” “The Holy Spirit – he continued – as
Jesus said, will teach us everything” and “remind us what Jesus taught
“The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He
keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond
the limits, onwards. The Holy Spirit with His gifts guides the Church. You
cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete, whom the Lord
sends us for this very reason. And He makes unthinkable choices, but
unimaginable! To use a word of St. John XXIII: it is the Holy Spirit that
updates the Church: Really, he really updates it and keeps it going. And we
Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit.
Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart, who speaks to us in all
of life’s circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church’s life, in Christian
communities, who is always speaking to us.”
Go here to read the rest. Hmmm, baptizing non-humans? All sorts of questions are raised:
1. Would the Martians have a soul?
2. Did Christ die for them, or has God arranged another method for their salvation, assuming they have souls?
3. Should we assume that aliens with intellects like ours have souls? What about artificial intelligence entities?
4. What moral teachings of the Church should be imposed upon prospective alien converts?
5. What if the aliens do not have male and female sexes, could any of them be ordained?
6. Would the aliens be subject to original sin?
7. What if they have no concept of sin?
8. Are they the sheep who are not of this flock who Christ was referring to?
9. If they have religions of their own, would ecumenicalism be applicable to these alien faiths?
10. What if the aliens decide that blogging is the true sign of the anti-Christ?
Inquiring minds want to know!