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For more than half a century, the question of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) has been widely dismissed in our culture. That wasn’t always the case. Some of the best minds of the last twenty-five centuries in Western civilization have grappled with this mystery.
In Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the Catholic Faith, best-selling author Paul Thigpen begins with a fascinating historical survey of the public conversation about ETI, tracing the thought of prominent Catholics and others. Well-known figures such as Plato, Saint John Chrysostom, René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, and C. S. Lewis all speculated about the possibilities of life beyond our planet. Even Catholic saints and blesseds spoke of ETI, such as Pope Saint. John Paul II, Saint (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina, and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.
In light of this history, readers will discover answers to these questions:
- How do Scripture and Catholic teaching shed light on this topic?
- Are alleged encounters with ETI simply a form of demonic deception?
- Is belief in ETI compatible with the Catholic Church’s teaching?
- What might be the spiritual and moral status of ETI, and what relationship might they have to Jesus Christ?
- Would the confirmed existence of ETI undermine the Christian faith, as some have claimed?
- How can thinking about ETI deepen our faith and enhance our understanding of the Church’s teaching about God and His creation, Jesus Christ and salvation, and God’s ultimate intention for His creatures?
Still more, a concluding appendix addresses the related issue of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and the speculation surrounding them.
Recent developments in astrophysics, technology, and UFO-related disclosures by the Pentagon have reawakened the public discussion about ETI. Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the Catholic Faith is a thorough guide to navigating the conversation from a faithful Catholic perspective. 456 pages, paperback