When faced with the choice of reviewing Cameron Diaz in Sex Tape (shudder) or another Purge movie (yawn) for Aleteia this past week, I decided to chicken out and just take the family to see Planes: Fire and Rescue instead. It’s pretty innocuous as far as children's movies go, nothing special, but probably something really young kids will enjoy.
Not being the toddler I once was, I have to admit my mind wandered a couple of times while watching the film. I couldn’t help but wonder how do some of the things in the Cars universe work? Why are there sidewalks in a world with no humans? What exactly were the dinosaurs mentioned in Cars 2 like? Who builds all the houses and train tracks and stuff? And where do new baby vehicles come from?
If you too have been bothered by such questions while watching any of these films, don’t fret, because it looks like the Martians have gotten it all figured out…
Okay, so the Martians don’t have quite everything figured out. But once they do and show back up to talk to us parasites, you can be sure we’ll be ready to make Catholics out of them.
This willingness to embrace extraterrestrials seems to come as a shock to a lot of non-believers. For some reason, there’s a trope out there that all religions would collapse if intelligent life in outer space were to be discovered. The people in the pews know better though. According to the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey, “the vast majority of religious believers, regardless of religion, see no threat to their personal beliefs caused by potential contact with intelligent neighbours on other worlds… religious adherents overwhelmingly registered confidence that neither they as individuals nor their religious tradition would suffer anything like a collapse.”
In a 2008 interview, Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, explained that the possibility of extraterrestrials “is not in contrast with the faith, because we cannot place limits on the creative freedom of God. To use St. Francis' words, if we consider earthly creatures as 'brothers' and 'sisters,' why can't we also speak of an 'extraterrestrial brother?” … God became man in Jesus in order to save us. So if there are also other intelligent beings, it's not a given that they need redemption. They might have remained in full friendship with their creator… but if needed, God's mercy would be offered to aliens, as it was to humans.”
During a homily this past May, Pope Francis himself confirmed as much. “If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here... Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, 'But I want to be baptized!' What would happen?… Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never.”
So let the Martians come. Once the initial confusion is worked out, we’ll be happy to welcome them into the fold.