Bertil Falk writes about...
The Trappist Vindicated
In the 1950’s, I read a small item in a Swedish newspaper. It was datelined the Vatican. A representative of the Church — I think it was an astronomer — had told L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, that the Catholic Church should prepare itself for missionary work on other planets.
That was half a century ago.
Unfortunately, I did not cut out that item and I have never found it again. But in 1969, I wrote “Requiem for an Android.” It was inspired by that news item. In 1998, when “Requiem” was reprinted in Sweden together with some other stories, I thought of writing a sequel, and in 2001 I wrote “Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind.” It has not been published until now in English.
And what happens? While Bewildering Stories publishes “Eucharist” as a serialized novella, the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, a Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says in an interview published by L’Osservatore Romano on May 13, 2008 that “the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones” and that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. On top of that he adds that “some aliens could even be free from original sin.” Reason: there are no limitations to what is possible for God.
What is this? Does Rev. Funes read Bewildering Stories? But I am of course happy that his theology tallies with the Trappist’s; it is mentioned in the beginning of “Eucharist” and repeated by the Pope at the end of the story.
I am not exactly speechless, as you can see, but at least flabbergasted.
If you do not believe me. Look at this BBC site: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7399661.stm
Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk
[The BBC article is preserved at Bewildering Stories in case it goes off line at the BBC.]