Just as the dust is settling from the Vatican’s latest astrobiology conference in Arizona, heralded as “The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignature & Instruments,” Jesuit astronomer Guy Consolmagno is out in public talking about baptizing extraterrestrials again. In fact, over the years quite a few Jesuit members of the Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG) have made public statements concerning the baptism of extraterrestrials. The first was back in 1993 when then-acting VORG director George Coyne announced at the launch of the VATT facility that “the Church would be obliged to address the question of whether extraterrestrials might be brought within the fold and baptized.” In a New York Times magazine article—titled “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?”—another VORG astronomer, Chris Corbally, indicated he would baptize extraterrestrials as well. Similarly, back in 2010 when asked whether he’d baptize an alien, Guy Consolmagno replied, “Only if they asked” and then qualified, “Any entity—no matter how many tentacles it has, has a soul.” Now Consolmagno is taking his intergalactic evangelism aspirations to the halls of academia delivering a lecture called “Would you baptize an Extra-Terrestrial?” at Leeds Trinity University in the UK. Here is a recent article announcing the upcoming lecture:
Would you baptise an alien?
That is the unusual question posed to students in Leeds by one of the Pope’s astronomers. Scientifictheories and religion look set to collide in a talk by leading papal astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ. The acclaimed astronomer and Jesuit will share why astronomical research is so important to the Vatican.Brother Guy is based at the Vatican Observatory headquarters in Castel Gandolfo and he curates the Vatican meteorite collection, which is believed to be one of the largest in the world. He will deliver a lecture called “Would you baptize an Extra-Terrestrial?” at Leeds Trinity University, which is based in Horsforth.
The Catholic belief is that baptism “confers grace ex opere operato, that is, the sacrament works of itself.” This literally means the ritual itself takes away sin without requiring faith in the Gospel. This is also why unbaptized infants cannot go to heaven, according to Rome. While the dissonance with Vatican II style inclusivism is deafening, theological harmony is not a strong suit for Rome. The Council of Trent declared: “If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only touched in person or is not imputed, let him be anathema.” While that curses just about all evangelicals, biblically based doctrine recognizes baptism as an outward sign of what has already occurred in the heart of the believer (Mark 16:16). When you recognize that you are dead in your sins and believe that Christ died for you and rose from the dead, you are justified in God’s eyes (Romans 10:10). It is a heart condition in reference to the propositional content of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3–5). False baptisms and conversions are commonplace. Baptism does not save anyone or remove sin. Nevertheless, the Catholic priest erroneously believes the sacrament itself has supernatural power to remove sin and consequently, could be deceived into thinking a baptized alien entity would be in a state of grace as well. Even if these viral media statements about the baptism of aliens seem tongue in cheek, it could be part of a more subtle effort to influence public opinion. If a deceptive entity were to pose as an ET, Rome would likely be taken in.
 Bruce Johnston , “Vatican Sets Evangelical Sights on Outer Space,” Daily Telegraph (London, England, Oct. 28, 1992), 15.
Jack Hitt, “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” New York Times magazine, last accessed January 19, 2013,http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/29/magazine/would-you-baptize-an-extraterrestrial.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm.
 Richard Alleyne, “Pope Benedict XVI’s Astronomer: The Catholic Church Welcomes Aliens,” The Telegraph, last accessed January 19, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/8009299/Pope-Benedict-XVIs-astronomer-the-Catholic-Church-welcomes-aliens.html.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology., 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 1100.
 “It (The Roman Church) teaches…that the souls…of those who die in mortal sin, or with only original sin descend immediately into hell; however, to be punished with different penalties and in different places.” Henry Denzinger, Roy J. Deferrari, and Karl Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1954), 193. The Council of Trent declared: “If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is conferred in Baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even assert that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken way…let him be anathema.” Henry Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma, 247). Thus, without baptism, original sin is not remitted and according to the above infants would descend immediately into hell. Older Catholic theologians speculated about a place called “limbo,” which was less severe than hell.
Henry Denzinger, Roy J. Deferrari, and Karl Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1954), 247.