In recent years, a number of prominent Catholic theologians and natural scientists have spoken out publicly in favor of the existence of extraterrestrial, non-angelic, intelligent life in the universe. One of the principal theologians who publicly affirms the existence of such extraterrestrial life is Monsignor C. Balducci. In this article, we will try to faithfully re-state the arguments that he and other Catholic theologians have used to defend this thesis before showing why we believe that their arguments are false and should be rejected.
Mons. Balducci argues in the first place that there are so many eyewitness testimonies to UFOs that defy natural explanation in terms of our experience on earth that it would be unscientific to deny the objective reality of these phenomena and their possible extraterrestrial origin. In the second place, Mons. Balducci argues that the existence of other non-angelic intelligent beings in the universe would redound to the greater glory of God; that it would be illogical to assume such a great distance between angelic and human forms of life as appears to exist between the angelic beings and human life on earth (since “nature does not employ leaps”); and that it would be desirable to seek out such possible intelligent beings for the help that they may be able to give earthly humanity. In the third part of his argument, Mons. Balducci offers statements from theological experts and from two persons of holy life in support of his thesis.
Let us examine these points one at a time.
1) There are so many eyewitness testimonies to UFOs that defy natural explanation in terms of our experience on earth that it would be unscientific to deny the objective reality of these phenomena and their possible extraterrestrial origin.
There are two problems with this line of argument. In the first place, it is an error to affirm that, because some UFO phenomena seem to have an objective reality, they are probably therefore extraterrestrial. This is erroneous because other researchers who have studied UFOs exhaustively have argued convincingly that the phenomena are indeed objectively real (i.e. not hallucinations or optical illusions) but that they are of diabolical origin. Australian researcher Gary Bates has presented abundant evidence for this thesis in his book Alien Intrusion. Mons. Balducci does not seem to be aware of this research; nor does he offer any concrete evidence that UFOs have proven themselves to be benevolent. Drawing upon decades of research, Bates has demonstrated that when otherwise sane, honest witnesses testify to “contact” with what appear to be aliens, they are encountering demons. He cites the testimony of numerous witnesses who were engaged in communication with what appeared to be extraterrestrials whose communications completely ceased the moment they confessed their faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. One reliable witness of evangelical Christian background testified to lying in his bed at night when the ceiling of his bedroom seemed to disappear, revealing the lights of what appeared to be a spaceship in the sky above him. A light descended from the space-ship and the witness described feeling an overwhelming force drawing him up into the ship. In desperation, he cried out “JESUS, help me!” and the entire scene—spaceship, light and all—disappeared in an instant.
Other students of encounters with “alien” intelligences have noted a common theme of messages from the “enlightened” aliens: They say that Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and other prophets brought partial enlightenment, but that they, the “enlightened ones” have come to usher in a New Age of super-enlightenment that will bring to perfection all of the prior revelations and religions of the world. This obvious heresy from hell shows that the devil is using his demons disguised as “aliens” to prepare believers of various backgrounds to embrace the satanic New World Order with its evolution-based one world religion.
2A) The existence of other non-angelic intelligent beings in the universe would redound to the greater glory of God;
The weakness of this argument can be demonstrated by carrying it to its logical conclusion. If more intelligent beings would redound to the greater glory of God, then one could argue that the only way to give God sufficient glory would be by multiplying the number of intelligent beings to infinity. But we know that this is not God’s Will, because He has fixed the number of intelligent beings that will come into existence by the end of the world. Therefore, it is certain that the glory that God seeks from His creatures does not depend on the quantity but on the quality of their response to His love. And this does not require the existence of extraterrestrial creatures.
2B) It would be illogical to assume such a great distance between angelic and human forms of life as appears to exist between the angelic beings and human life on earth (since “nature does not employ leaps”);
Monsignor Balducci’s argument seems to be predicated on a comparison between fallen man and the angels. However, God created man in an exalted state of holiness so that the difference between man and the angels was not nearly so great at the beginning of creation as it appears to be now. According to the principle, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, this fact is born out in the prayers of the liturgy, as in the following:
It is true that the Lord, my Creator, took slime from the earth and, with his life-giving breath, gave me a soul and life, honoring me and setting me on the earth as the king of all visible things, enjoying the life of the angels. (Byzantine Daily Worship, Before Lent, At Vespers, Stichera of the Triodion, 1, p. 785).
2C) It would be desirable to seek out such possible intelligent beings for the help that they may be able to give earthly humanity.
This argument appears flawed on two counts. In the first place, if there are fallen non-angelic intelligent beings in other parts of the universe, these beings might be more of a threat to earth’s inhabitants than a blessing. Monsignor Balducci assumes without evidence that super-intelligent beings would be helpful to earth’s inhabitants, but greater intelligence can be used by sinful beings for evil purposes just as it can be used by grace-filled beings for good purposes. Moreover, Monsignor Balducci seems to overlook the fact that magisterial teaching holds authoritatively that the Church is “a perfect society” and does not need the help of superior intelligences from other parts of the universe to bring her members to perfection. These two weaknesses in Monsignor Balducci’s argument reveal a tendency on his part to look at the whole question of extraterrestrial beings from a decidedly naturalistic point of view, setting aside the reality of sin on the one hand, and the reality of God’s grace and supernatural provision on the other.
3) Mons. Balducci offers statements from theological experts and from two persons of holy life in support of his thesis.
It has long been acknowledged by philosophers that the “argument from authority” is the weakest of arguments—except for the authority of God Himself when He communicates through His Word or through the Magisterium of His Church. Unfortunately, Monsignor Balducci does not draw his testimonies from the Bible, from Sacred Tradition, or even from the writings of saints approved by the Church.
Before evaluating the testimonies that he does cite, therefore, it is important to examine Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterial teaching for any teaching that they may contain on this subject. With regard to Sacred Scripture, Monsignor Balducci argues that “in the Bible there are not specific allusions to other living beings, but neither is excluded this hypothesis.” This is not a sound basis upon which to establish any hypothesis—especially in the light of the many passages in Scripture and authoritative magisterial teachings that seem to contradict it.
Sacred Scripture, Lateran IV, Trent, Vatican I, and all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church hold that creation was finished with the creation of Adam and Eve and that God created “all things, visible and invisible” “at once” culminating with the creation of Adam who summed up in himself both the corporeal and the spiritual orders of creation. Pius II in his letter "Cum sicut" (Denz 717c) also condemned the proposition that "God created another world than this one, and that in its time many other men and women existed and that consequently Adam was not the first man."
According to Sirach 49 and to all of the Fathers and Doctors, Adam was the king of all creation prior to the Fall. Thus, any non-angelic intelligent beings in other parts of the universe (of whom the Bible makes no mention) would have been subordinated to Adam and created after him. But this contradicts Catholic Tradition, especially the fimiter of Lateran IV which explicitly teaches that Adam was the crown and summation of all creation. Moreover, in Genesis 1 God indicates that the sun and the stars were created as a "signs" for people on earth and not as "suns" to support biomes elsewhere in the universe. If Genesis 1 describes the creation of the entire universe and all that it contains—as the Church has always taught—then why does it say nothing about Mons. Balducci’s hypothetical non-angelic intelligent beings?
Pius XII in his letter “Humani Generis” (1950, #37) said: “Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion [polygenism] can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.” This is also apparent in light of Genesis 3:20 where Eve is called the “mother of all the living.” Since Christ’s death on the cross happened only once (cf. Romans 6:10 & 1 Peter 3:18) on this earth, which was to redeem men from the fall of Adam (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22), Christ cannot have died anywhere else at any other time. It is therefore nonsensical to think that there are other men in need of redemption on an alien planet. Our Lady’s unique status as the Mother of God also shows that Christ could not possess another nature since He cannot have another Mother. Our Lady’s statement at Lourdes – “I am the Immaculate Conception” – eliminates the possibility of sinless aliens since She is the only creature conceived without sin (and, as St. Maximilian Kolbe observed in his writings, Adam and Eve were created, not conceived).
According to Romans 8, as interpreted by all of the Fathers, Adam’s sin made the entire universe subject to decay, so that any non-angelic intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe would have been made to suffer on account of the sin of Adam. This poses a serious problem for Monsignor Balducci’s thesis. In the first place, it would seem to put a blemish on Divine Justice to punish sinless intelligent beings in other parts of the universe who have no biological relationship to Adam—unlike the members of the human race on earth, who contract Original Sin as descendants of Adam and Eve. In the second place, according to Catholic doctrine, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the only “sinless one”; but if there are, as St. Padre Pio is alleged (without proof) to have said, “On other planets other beings . . . who did not sin and fall as we did,” then Our Lady is NOT the only “sinless one,” because these beings would not have inherited the defect of original sin from their parents and would therefore either be immaculately conceived or immortal in a state of created immaculacy. In either case, their state would contradict the testimony attributed to Our Lady by one who shares Monsignor Balducci’s opinion, since She is said to have affirmed the existence of “people” in other parts of the universe who “are like men, tainted alike by sin, but also redeemed by Christ, just like men."
I suppose that one could still argue that both kinds of extraterrestrial beings exist, those that Padre Pio is alleged (without evidence) to have mentioned who did not sin, and those (allegedly and without proof) referred to by Our Lady who did sin. But if that is the case, why is the Blessed Virgin called in the Divine Liturgy, “the only sinless one”? And why did the Blessed Mother mention only the fallen beings elsewhere in the universe, and Padre Pio only the ones who did not fall? The fact that both of these statements were handed down, not by the people who allegedly made the statements but by people who claimed to have heard them, further undermines their credibility.
Theistic evolutionists like the American physicist Dr. Stephen Barr and Monsignor Balducci assume that life can evolve from non-life through a material process, so they believe that the extraterrestrials have bodies (i.e., they are corporeal). This is also why Dr. Barr believes that if the ET's fell on Planet X, Our Lord Jesus Christ would have taken a Planet X ET corporeal nature to redeem them, just as He took our human nature to redeem us. He proclaims this to Catholics wherever he goes. But it is a blasphemy.
It is a dogma of the Faith that Our Lord Jesus Christ has TWO natures--a divine nature and a human nature. Any deviation from that doctrine is heresy, pure and simple. To allege that Our Lord took a Planet X or Planet Y nature would contradict the dogma of the two natures. It is incredible to us that we have never heard of any theologian calling Dr. Barr out on this point. The two natures of Christ is a dogma of the ORTHODOX faith that every Catholic should know and defend.
Indeed, the dogma of the two natures of Christ is sufficient to refute all of the wild conjectures about Our Lord incarnating Himself in non-human corporeal natures on planets elsewhere in the universe. But these conjectures are also quite unconvincing for other reasons. In the first place, there is not a single testimony in favor of his hypothesis from any Father or Doctor of the Church, or even from any theologian of note from before the sixteenth century. Is it probable that God would allow the Church to be ignorant of such an important point for 1500 years before revealing it—not to His saints or to his Doctors, but to speculative theologians? Indeed, all but one of his testimonies are taken from theologians who lived in the period when evolution and long ages of time were generally accepted by Catholic intellectuals.
This leads to another disturbing observation, namely that Mons. Balducci’s hypothesis is almost always presented in the context of cosmic evolution and is used to bolster faith in the evolution of life on various planets through natural processes. Indeed, as Gary Bates documents in Alien Intrusion, faith in non-angelic intelligent beings is almost always associated with New Age errors and heresies of all kinds. If Mons. Balducci’s hypothesis is correct, why is this so? Why do the mystical writings approved by the Church—St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Bridget of Sweden, Venerable Maria of Agreda, and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich—say nothing of these hypothetical non-angelic intelligent beings?
These reflections lead to a final observation.
Jesus said that a tree should be judged by its fruit. But what kind of fruit has Mons. Balducci’s hypothesis produced? It would seem that Mons. Balducci’s hypothesis has demeaned the importance of man and of his earthly home in comparison with some purely hypothetical “superior intelligences” in outer space. On the other hand, the Bible and Catholic Tradition have always maintained that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ on earth has made man and the earth the center of the created universe and of all history. Sadly, Mons. Balducci’s hypothesis strengthens faith in the bankrupt evolutionary hypothesis and distracts human beings from their primary duty which is to do the Will of God ON EARTH as it is in Heaven. For all of these reasons, we believe that Catholics should regard his hypothesis as a diabolical distraction from their daily duty to do the Will of God “on earth as in Heaven.”
Eric Bermingham, M.S., Aerospace Engineering