The Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Peter Paul Rubens:
- Ignatius is ordained priest in Venice
- Ignatius visits Simon Rodriguez who is sick with a fever
- Jesus points to Ignatius as example of holy life
- The vision at La Storta: “I will be propitious to you at Rome.”
- Paul III confirms the Society of Jesus in 1540
- Ignatius sends Francis Xavier to India
- Francis Xavier writes to Ignatius from India
- The first Jesuits shown in ministries: preaching, teaching children, hearing confessions, and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass The church is the old church of Santa Maria della Strada.
- Ignatius testifies to his innocence
- While crossing a bridge Ignatius has a vision of a companion dying
How Would Christianity Deal with Extraterrestrial Life?
How would the world’s religions react to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence? There is, of course, no single answer. But for Christians who believe in the redemption of humanity through a singular event—the Incarnation of God through Christ—the question poses an especially complex dilemma.
To appreciate the conundrum, a good place to start is with the words of Father Jose Funes, a Jesuit astronomer and current director of the Vatican Observatory, who suggested in an interview that the possibility of “brother extraterrestrials” poses no problem for Catholic theology. “As a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God,” Funes told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “This does not conflict with our faith because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God.”
But, L’Osservatore Romano asked, what if these beings were sinners?
"Jesus became man once and for all," Funes responded. "The Incarnation is a single and unique event. So I am sure that also they, in some way, would have the chance to enjoy God’s mercy, just as it has happened with us human beings.”
There are some really interesting, disturbing, and ultimately wrong-headed views in this article. Exo-evangelism is simply disturbing. It’s also wrong-headed because, as discussed by people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, we can’t just assume aliens would be interested in us—even if intelligent. Does Yahweh only care about humans? Yes. We are supposedly created in his image. It’s dubiously ad hoc to assume that that can apply to extraterrestrials. Jesus on other planets? There’s strong evidence to suggest that even if there was a historical Jesus, he wasn’t the Christ of the Gospels. Thus, Jesus on this planet is highly doubtful; forget other planets! Interesting read nonetheless.
This is actually a subject that goes back to the earliest theological debates within Christianity. Augustine discusses the idea of strange humanoid creatures located at the antipodes of civilization; it was an ongoing question whether they could be men in the philosophical sense. Nonetheless, Augustine affirms this.
Later on, Aquinas pondered whether on far flung celestial bodies there exist races of creatures with a rational soul and corporal body. He leaves this question open, as he cannot ascribe any theological or philosophical rationale why it would be incorrect, not can it be settled absent further empirical evidence.
If you read some writings from the early 20th century, one is actually surprised with how easily theologians admit to the likelihood of extraterrestrial life.
So, this isn’t new. Your critiques are based around a few misunderstandings, though.
It is quite apparent by Scripture that God cares for more than just humans (all that talk about sparrows, lilies, leviathans, the mysterious mention of the singing of the morning stars). Furthermore, the image of God simply means that a creature posses free will and intellect in the most proper sense. It is not something that is unique to humans.
As for the historical Jesus debate, I am quite skeptical of some of the premises that the field is founded upon. Still, one can find many scholars that are willing to say that the Christ of the Gospels is, substantially, the historical Jesus.
Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouy
- Sketch for Saint
Vincent de Paul Bringing the Gallery Slaves to the Faith
- Sketch for Saint Vincent de Paul Helping the Inhabitants of Lorraine
Fresco of Bl. Noël Pinot at the church of St. Joseph in Angers. Pinot was a priest martyred during the French Revolution for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the new government. As he ascended the steps to the scaffold in his chasuble, he recited the first words of the Mass: “Introibo ad altare Dei.”
Símili modo postquam coenátum est, accípiens et hunc præclárum Cálicem in sanctas ac venerábiles manus suas: tibi grátias agens, bene ☩ dixit, dedítque discípulis suis, dicens: Accípite, et bíbite ex eo omnes.
HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM.
This is not sounding good.
It is good, not great.
Why not great? It limits corporations from claiming religious exemptions from critical healthcare needs, while limiting the government in requiring corporations to cover contraception.
In laying the foundation for the government to decide what are critical healthcare needs, it opens the door to later challenge and reversal.
Also, it explicitly leaves religious oriented businesses (Christian books stores, for example) open to discrimination suits based on hiring (troubling that this was even mentioned in the case, btw).
Well, yes. This is the problem with trying to shield religious actions under religious freedom laws, rather than on their own merit. The entire philosophy behind this was “leave us alone and let us do what we want”, which is a libertarian ethos that is generally at odds with Catholic teaching.
Rather than “leave us alone and let us do what we want,” I thought the philosophy was “don’t mandate anyone do something against their religious beliefs.” Which, it seems to me, is less libertarian & more aligned with the some (I said some …) of the reasons the USA was founded in the 1st place.
Those mean the same thing. The position that you are saying is:
1. I have a religious belief against ‘A’.
2. I don’t have to do ‘A’.
The Court rightly saw that this could be used in a variety of ways. Companies could suddenly declare themselves to be run on Christian Science beliefs, and therefore all forms of employee healthcare were immoral.
Edit to add: I think too many Catholics view the consequences of this decision solely through the lens of abortion and contraception, without realizing that this could have had potentially far reaching consequences. On the other hand, I was quite critical of the Bishops taking an explicitly libertarian position in this issue; notice they did not do ANYTHING to explain to their flocks why contraception was wrong. They whistled past that and went straight into defending religious liberty as a Catholic belief, so I am quite happy that the decision was as limited as it was.