(Vatican City) Papal spokesman Cardinal Gordo Pollo S. J. declared today the Vatican believes the Universe is full of intelligent life. Cardinal Pollo puts the number of intelligent extraterrestrials as 'about a trillion' just in the Milky Way. The Church also believes these intelligent species do have souls and 'are closer to the Creator' than mankind.
Cardinal Pollo is a Jesuit and holds several advanced degrees in astronomy. He also heads the Papal Astronomy Center. Cardinal Pollo believes First Contact will be made by the Church within a decade.
"We must face the facts. The Universe is immensely old and incredibly vast. Our Lord is pro-life. We are not and can not be alone." stated the Cardinal.
The Catholic Church doesn't want to repeat the same mistake it made with Galileo and is much more open to the idea of extraterrestrials than many other Christian religions.
"A race millions of years older than mankind must be less sinful and closer to God. When these advanced beings die their souls must go to heaven." said the Cardinal. "If you are lucky enough to see Paradise, you just might also see some Little Green Men or some slit-eyed Grays. There might even be some Vulcans in Heaven!" he said.
Cardinal Pollo says the Afterlife is probably a very crowded place and Mankind is just a tiny minority.
"I'm sure anyone going to Heaven will feel very strange. You might meet an alien that looks like a vacuum cleaner or a flashlight. You must be very open to diversity, wherever you go in the Afterlife." he said