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New Head Of Vatican Observatory ‘Soul-Searches’ Across The Universe

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno Named Head Of Institute

Catholic News Service

Just before Pope Francis came to the U.S. this week, he appointed Guy Consolmagno, an American and Jesuit brother, to be the new director of the Vatican Observatory.

Consolmagno, who is a graduate of MIT and has been working at the observatory since 1993, has spoken out frequently on the possibility of extraterrestrial life and doesn’t believe that being human is a prerequisite for believing in God.

According to Consolmagno, the “image” of God as described in the Bible is an idea, not a literal physical likeness.

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“An entity is aware of itself, aware of other entities and able to make choices maybe to love or not love, to interact or not interact. That’s the essence of what the image and likeness of God is about. It has nothing to do with how many tentacles you have,” he said.

As Consolmagno has said before, “Any entity — no matter how many tentacles it has — has a soul.”

To those who wonder if this is out of step with Roman Catholic theology, Consolmagno points to the fact that the faith is already filled with supernatural intelligent beings: Angels. In addition to not being human, he said angels are also “intelligent beings free to choose or not choose creations of the Creator.”

Consolmagno admits that his fascination with these topics is driven not only by his love of science, but also by his love of science fiction. He was initially attracted to MIT for his doctoral work because of their large science fiction library. He said he enjoys the large questions being asked in both science and religion, and sees the challenges presented by both as a good thing.

“A religion that doesn’t challenge you is not much of a religion and, frankly, a science that doesn’t challenge you is not much of a science,” he said.

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