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By Joe Lewels, Ph.D.

Most UFO enthusiasts who monitor the internet are by now aware that during recent weeks there
have been reports that a Vatican official has made startling statements about the reality of UFOs
and alien abductions on Italian television.The main thrust of his remarks was that alien abductions
are not the same as demonic possession and that the testimony of UFO witnesses should be
accepted,not ridiculed.

If this is so then what does it signify?Does the Catholic Church mow officially recognize the reality
of UFOs?Is it ready to confront the issue of possible UFOs in the Bible and in other ancient texts?
Before we can know the answers to these questions,we must first set the record straight.Just who is
Vatican insider and just exactly what did he say!

Monsignor Balducci

Monsignor Corrado Balducci is a recently retired,Roman Catholic priest living in Rome who is an
expert on Demonology and demonic possession.He has written two books on the subject and is
fairly well known in Italy,having been interviewed on television and for the printed media on many
occasions for a number of years.Over the years he has commented publicly on matters regarding
the paranormal and,when asked,on the subject of UFOs.The recent publicity surrounding Balducci
surrounds comments he made in the course of being interviewed,not as the result of some official
pronouncement on the part of the Church.Prior to his retirement,Balducci was a member of the
Curia of the Roman Catholic Church,a prelate of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
and Propagation of the Faith.This is an important,high level department of the Church.

Additionally,Balducci served for many years as an exorcist in Rome,a position that requires
appointment by high authority.Although Balducci is clearly a Vatican insider,any opinion he
expresses cannot automatically be accepted as the official views of the Catholic Church.But what
exactly has Balducci said about UFOs and alien abductions?Although it is not possible to know at
this time all that he has said on Italian Television over the years,we do know what he is saying now
because he had recently clarified his remarks in interviews with two UFO researchers. First,is the
interview conducted by German researcher,Michael Hesemann in 1997 and which was published in
a magazine he publishes called "Magazin 2000."The entire interview can be seen as an appendix
to Whitley Strieber's new book,Confirmation,(St.Martin's Press,1998).Secondly,is an interview
conducted by Eduardo Russo,a UFO investigator from Turin,who asked Balducci to clarify
statements attributed to him on the internet.Russo's interview can be found on Striebers web site
called the Communion Homepage.

To simplify matters,this article will deal with what Balducci has said and quickly eliminate some
of the things he has not said:

Setting the Record Straight

He has not said that he his speaking on behalf of the Vatican.He has not said that his opinions are
those of the Vatican or of the Church or of the Pope.He has not said that the Church is investigating
UFOs and gathering information on alien abductions.He has not said that there is a secret Vatican
commission that is gathering information on UFOs and which will soon issue a statement to the
public. He has never discussed UFOs with the Pope nor has he presented the Vatican with
information on the topic.

All that aside,what Balducci did say and has said about UFOs and alien abductions is definitely
interesting and worthy of attention.Here ore some excerpts of his statements made during an
interview with Hesemann as published in Confirmation.

"It is reasonable to believe and to affirm that
extra-terrestrials exist.Their existence can no
longer be denied,for their is too much evidence
for the existence of extra-terrestrials and
flying saucers as documented by UFO research.
to assert categorically that they are illusions
and hallucination,or that eyewitness testimony
accounts are not credible,is wrong....This would
have serious consequences for religion itself,
since religion is founded on an historical
incident,on the birth of Jesus Christ....of whom
we have knowledge through testimony,the Gospels."

When asked if some of the angels might be extra-terrestrials from planets located closer to God,
Balducci answered:

"Well,if you ask whether the angels can assume a
body to reveals themselves,I would have to say
yes--that it is possible,but it would be an
exceptional case....I would not assume that angels
use flying saucers.But of course they can utilize
them to show us something....I did not want to
imply....that angels really come to us in flying
saucers.Such a claim requires scientific proof.
Let science prove that angels travel in flying
saucers!I shall neither rule this out or affirm it."

What influence will the discoveries of UFO research....and of extra-terrestrial life have on the
theology of the third millennium?

"They will certainly influence the theology of the third
millennium.I wish theologians would orient themselves more
with the help of scientific discoveries and accept parapsychology.
Parapsychology is a difficult science;it has a small scientific
foundation,but it relies on two facts:
1. It employs a scientific method,as does UFO research.
2. The parapsychological phenomena originate in nature,a realm
we do not yet know compleatly.We should seek the explanations(for
such things as)telepathy,telekinesis,psychometrics,etc.

Although these statements have not yet been publicized in the U.S.,they have sent a shock wave
through both the international UFO community and the Catholic Church.

What it Means

Catholics as well as Ufologists are asking:What does this mean?How official are Balducci's
statements?Who is Balducci anyway?What is the significance for religious doctrine and for Ufology?
At issue here is the official authority of his remarks.Is he speaking only for himself or is he stating
the official doctrine of the Catholic Church?The answer to this last question must be both yes and
no.Balducci is giving his personal opinions,but then again,he is a priest.And priests cannot say just
anything that is on their minds.The Church does have something to do with what priests are allowed
to say.Additionally,Balducci is no ordinary priest.He is a very well-connected one.

Until the words come from the Pope,or through some official pronouncement,they cannot be
considered official Church doctrine.But,if such statements were to become official Church doctrine,
it would most certainly have dramatic implications for the entire world.Such a statement would be
as close as we have come to official recognition of the reality of UFOs by a major world
government.And that would surely get the attention of the world's leaders and the news media.It
would create an international debate on the subject of UFOs at the highest levels of government
and perhaps even spur the United Nations to address the issue seriously.

Additionally,Additionally,Catholics the world over would see it as official approval to speak
openly about the subject both in and out of church.It would go a long way toward breaking down
the curtain of ridicule that has obstructed the free and open discussion of UFO information for so
many years.

But will this happen?To answer this,we must realize just who Monsignor Balducci is.The fact that
he was at one time the official exorcist for the archdiocese of Rome,(exorcism is a ritual used to
rid persons of demonic possession)tells volumes about his position in the Church hierarchy.You
don't get this job unless you are well trusted by the highest political levels in the Vatican!

Importance of Exorcism

Exorcism of demons is an ancient practice,having roots in Hebrew culture even before the time of
Christ.The New Testament describes many acts of exorcism performed by Jesus.For example,the
first chapter of Mark relates how one of Jesus' first public acts was an exorcism of unclean spirits
from a man.This act astonished the onlookers and caused the world of Jesus' power to
spread quickly.

In its fight against Satan,the Church elevated exorcism to the level of high importance since its
earliest days.But not every priest is allowed to perform an exorcism.He must be appointed by the
Church.Specifically ,he must be appointed by the department of the Church which has had authority
over the rites of exorcism for the last 450 years.That department is called the Sacred Congregation
for the Doctrine of Faith or CDF.Prior to 1965,this body was known as the Congregation for the
Holy Inquisition of Heretical Error,or commonly known as "The Inquisition".This is a vital part of
the Church's everyday affairs.It oversees the curricula of Catholic schools,investigates heresy,judges
threats to the faith,disciplines priests,excommunicates sinners,and takes action where the faith is
attacked and appoints exorcists.

Although today those accused of heresy(preaching false doctrine)are merely expelled from the
Church and publicly censured,such persons were at one time burned at the stake.Such actions were
justified by the belief that all those who opposed the Church were enemies of God,and therefore
infidels.In the Church,s precieved view of reality,enemies of God had to be eradicated.This
perception served as justification for the mass murder of non-Christians during the crusades,the
witch hunts of the Inquisition and the conquest of lands,such as in the Americas,occupied
by heathens.

During the inquisition tens of thousands,some say millions,of those thought to be heretics or
witches were put to death for consorting with the devil.Often,their only crime was having psychic
abilities or having had paranormal experiences.Among those accused of heresy was Galileo,who
dared to proclaim his belief that the earth revolved around the Sun,rather than the other way
around as the Church believed.He managed to survive only by recanting publicly what he knew to
be the truth.

Another"heretic"was philosopher Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake in 1600 for the
crime of speculating publicly that other worlds might be inhabited by intelligent beings,among
other things.Now,nearly 400 years later,one of the high-ranking officials of what used to be
called"The Inquisition"is making even more provocative statements.Balducci is not saying that aliens
might exists,he is saying that they are here and they are abducting people around the world.This,to
say the least,is a dramatic and important about face in the Church's definition of heresy.

Balducci a Heretic?

Is Balducci worried about being labeled a heretic?Hardly.Balducci is without a doubt in a position
to know that the Church does not think his remarks are heretical.His statements most assuredly
have the tacit blessings of the highest levels of power within the Church and perhaps even of the
Pope himself.of that there can be no doubt.Otherwise,he would have been branded a heretic
long ago.

But why would the Church wish to get embroiled in the UFO controversy in the first place?What
does it have to gain?On the surface,one would have to say,absolutely nothing.The subject of UFOs
is a Pandora's box for any government to deal with,even the government of the Vatican.For if
UFOs and aliens are real and aliens are here,then the Church will ultimately have to explain why
the scriptures do not say anything about them.If the Bible says nothing about extra-terrestrials,then
how can it be seen as the ultimate word of God?Certainly God would have known about E.T.s
when he inspired those who wrote his holy word.

Or,maybe the Bible does refer to extra-terrestrials.Maybe the Church will now begin to reevaluate
its interpretation of those many passages in the Bible that seem to speak of aerial vehicles and of
non-human entities that descend from the heavens in ancient times.

ETs in the Bible?

Such passages as the story of Ezekiel who described seeing a metallic object,shaped like a wheel
within a wheel,descended from the sky before his very eyes,would be a good example.The
mysterious pillar of cloud that led the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years would
be another.And let us not forget the famous star of Bethlehem which hovered over the site of
Jesus' birthplace.Perhaps the Church will admit the similarity between the current abduction
phenomenon and the stories of sexual encounters with the heavenly beings and the hybrid children
in the book of Genesis and other ancient texts.For example,in the book of Genesis,reference is
made to the time before the great deluge:

....In those days,and even afterwards,when the evil
beings from the spirit world were sexually involved
with women,their children became giants(Nephilim)
of whom so many legend are told.Genesis 6:1-7

And in the ancient books of Enoch,found among the Dead Sea Scrolls,we find this passage:

When the evil Watchers(angels)descended,and beheld the
daughters of man,they began to corrupt themselves.When
the sons of God saw the daughters of man,they could not
restrain their inclination.

As punishment for their sins,God destroyed most of the human race and the hybrid offspring of the
watchers by causing a great flood.

Were the Watchers(beings who were given authority over the Earth by God)Extra-terrestrials,or at
least what we would call extra-terrestrials today?Is the UFO phenomenon an ancient one?If so,will
the Church acknowledge this?Or will the Church side with some UFO researchers who see UFOs
as a modern phenomenon?

These are crucial questions and their answers will determine how the alien presence will be
interpreted by the Catholic public.For if this is an ancient phenomenon that is the basis for many of
the world's religions,then the aliens claims that they seeded life on Earth and created the human
species is likely a valid one.And if that's the case then what of the Church's view that God created
Man in in image?Will the Church revisit those words in the book of Genesis and attempt to explain
why the Bible tells this story of the creation of man:

And God said,"Let us make man in our own image,after
our likeness:and let him have dominion over the fish
of the sea,over the fowl of the air,and over the
cattle,and over all the Earth....(Genesis 1:26)

Throughout the book of Genesis,the Bible refers to God in the plural form,"Elohim."The
term"Elohim"is plural for the Hebrew term,"El",meaning God.So who were the Elohim?Was the
human race created by God or by gods--an advanced race of beings who descended from the
heavens hundreds of thousands of years ago?

Sticky Issues for the Church

If this is so then is the Church ready to deal with such a radical change in doctrine?Or can
the Church simply rationalize this br saying that even if an advanced race of beings did create
humankind,they did so by the will of God,for it was God who created them.Such a solution would
serve to make the bible understandable to many who have found it confusing in the past.It would
also place the current UFO phenomenon in it's proper perspective,in the opinion of this writer.

But don't hold your breath until this happens.Changing the Catholic Church in the past has taken
hundreds of years.Balducci's comments certainly mean that there is a thaw in the Church's views
about extra-terrestrial life,but it is not to be seen as official by any means.We are likely to see a long
and vicious battle between conservative elements of the Church,which are opposed to change,and
proponents of a more liberal view.And it may be that the Vatican simply does not want to be left
out the UFO discussion should some event occur which proves that UFOs are real.Certainly,the
Church would want to be seen as a leader in the intense discussions that would follow such an
event.By allowing Balducci to speak out now,the Church can say later that it has had an open mind
about such matters for a long time.

But however it unfolds,the Church's efforts to address the issue of UFOs is certainly going to make
for interesting news in the weeks,months,and years ahead.And at least one UFO researcher will
continue to monitor the situation closely.

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