|Director of the Vatican Observatory: Extraterrestrial life is|
(Rome) for the director of the Vatican Observatory (Specola Vaticana), Father José Gabriel Funes SJ, thinks there there may be "a form of intelligent life" on the newly discovered extrasolar planets Kepler-452b.
The scientists of NASA disovered planet Kepler-452b with the space telescope Kepler discovered which is regarded as Earths "twin planet," because it is circling at a similar distance to a Sun-like star, Kepler-452. In Kepler-452b there could be water and thus life, which would result in many questions, says the Jesuit who succeeded his confrere Father George Coyne who has directed the Vatican Observatory since 2006.
The 1578 basic set Specola Vaticana is the oldest now active astronomical research and educational institution in the world. The popes have entrusted its direction to the Jesuits.
"Creative freedom of God has no limits"
The detailed study of Kepler-452b is taking place, above all at a removal of 1,400 light years from Earth. It's a distance that can not be overcome with the current level of technology. For the discussion about the relationship of faith-reason, this is not a problem, says Father Funes. On the planet, "there could be life and maybe even a form of intelligent life" even if he does not believe that "we will find Mister Spock there."
2008, the Director of the said Specola Vaticana the Osservatore Romano that the "possible existence of extraterrestrial intelligence does not contradict the Church's teaching". God's "creative freedom" has set "no limits." He speculated that alien life forms may have "remained free of original sin in perfect friendship with their Creator".
The doctorate astronomer Father Jose Gabriel Funes comes from Argentina. He received his Doctorate at the University of Padua in Italy. In Argentina he studied philosophy and in Rome theology at the Jesuit Gregorian University. In 1995 he was ordained a priest and 2000 a research associate of the Vatican Observatory, which he has headed from 2006. The research institutes of the Specola are today, because of light pollution, in the Arizona desert.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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