Jeff Miller, who blogs as The Curt Jester, which year in and year out consistently resides in the top level of blogs of all kinds, has written on the recent news from Rome that Catholics are free to believe in little green men from outer space (women, too). Jeff is a former atheist who converted to Catholicism some years ago and creates and writes some of the funniest posts going, and some of the most Catholic posts going. He should be right beneath Stella Borealis on your list of "must read" web sites each day.
It is always interesting to see the media news cycle when it comes to Vatican reporting. The latest story on the Vatican's head astronomer about the possibility of aliens in God's creation. For them this fits their perfect template because they think it is such an amazing admission and one that is suppose to undermine faith in Jesus from their point of view. They also don't care that this is a repeat story and forget that this is not exactly a new topic.
They don't understand that the great thing about being Catholic is how much freedom we have. We are totally free to speculate on the existence of extraterrestrials other than Angels and the possibility of life on other planets. We can also be greatly skeptical about this too. Either way we are totally free to do so. When I was an atheist I was really not free to believe that there was no other intelligent life in the universe. To accept such an hypothesis would have forced me to think about our uniqueness. In a random universe where life is just the result of pure chance it is dogmatic for an atheist to believe that in a universe of billions and billions of worlds that life would have to develop on worlds other than ours. This is an area where atheists just have faith that alien life must exist and it is no surprise that Muldur's poster in the X-Files contains a sort of creed 'I want to Believe' Mark Shea said the other day "... Atheism Tends to be an Interlude between Exhaling Biblical Belief and Inhaling Something Else." A supernatural vacuum must be filled by something.
As an atheist I was also not free to disbelieve in evolution and Darwinism specifically. As a Catholic I am free to do so or not to do so based on where the evidence leads me.
As an atheist I was not free to believe in Marian apparitions. As a Catholic I am totally free to believe or disbelieve them based again on where the evidence leads me.
As a Catholic even areas of theology that are dogmatic I enjoy a greater freedom since truth is one of the more freeing things they are. Being free from errors in these areas gives me the freedom to believe and do as I ought. The truth is everybody is dogmatic on something and I had plenty of my own dogmas as an atheist. As G.K. Chesterton said "In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don't know it"
When I was 12, it was extremely important for me to see visitors from outer space. I began to read about "flying saucers" on my weekly trips to the public library. Then I began to read the early stories of the SF greats, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke (who died just recently) and others whose story telling and portrayal of what seemed to be a likely future held on to me for a long time. Though I stopped reading SF some time ago (too much fantasy, not enough science and speculation) I still was intrigued and listened raptly to tales of Roswell and even went so far to hook my computer up for a time to the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) website to help in the search.
But the fraud in the non-fiction literature has pretty much turned me into a skeptic, although one who still occasionally glances at the stars and wonders.
Some Catholic philosophers and theologians assure us that we cannot place limits on God and if He chose to create other civilizations, He could have.
After pondering this for a time, and admittedly I'd have to spend a few hours in my favorite Adoration Chapel on that day when ET returns from Alpha Centauri VIII, I decided there really is only one critical issue that would have to be modified in our life styles.
Politicians and homilists would have to begin their orations, "Sisters, Brothers, Centurae, Centuri (and possibly, Centurova). . ."