The idea that the Catholic Church would baptize martians – or baptize aliens from any planet for that matter – may strike some people as a little odd. Pope Francis recently endorsed the idea, though, and Vatican Observatory Astronomer Guy Consolmagno has also gone on the record to say that he would baptize an alien, “no matter how many tentacles it has.” On Saturday, Consolmagno spoke to graduates at Georgetown College and elaborated on those thoughts, telling the audience to be prepared for the outside world.
“There aren’t any extraterrestrials – at least none that I know of,” Consolmagno stated during his remarks. “And even if we do encounter them someday, it’s going to be a long time before we can converse with them well enough to discuss the theology of the trinity or something.”
The scientist joked about the implications of meeting extraterrestrials, but he also urged Georgetown grads to leave the university prepared to engage the world outside, wherever aliens might come from.
“There are a lot of aliens out there – and not just people who went to Syracuse or Notre Dame,” Consolmagno said. “[Does] what you learned here cut any ice with them? Are you prepared to survive the encounter, much less, on occasion, baptize them into your way of thinking?”
He offered a few short thoughts on what the road ahead would present, characterizing the challenges of life after formal education.
“What you have learned here is that you never need to be afraid of the truth,” he explained. “But you should never think that your comprehension of the truth is ever finished or ever complete.”
He then leaned on his background in science to tell the crowd how to approach the concept of truth in general.
“The truth is often hidden – like dark matter – never seen directly in itself, but manifests only by the ways it changes the things you can see.”
You can watch Consolmagno’s full commencement speech in the video below: