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As the veil thins, we are in the uncomfortable position of evaluating phenomena long relegated to the "lunatic fringe."

Among these are unexplainable aerial lights -- UFOs (in the current jargon).

Of late, astronomers, astronauts, politicians, and other prominent personalities have indicated their belief that there may be extraterrestrial life, as has the Vatican observatory, causing bloggers in this realm to speculate that mankind is being prepared for a revelation.

"Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a theologian member of the Vatican Curia, and an insider close to the Pope, has gone on Italian national television five times, including recent months, to proclaim that extraterrestrial contact is a real phenomenon," noted one UFO newsletter. "Balducci provided an analysis of extraterrestrials that he feels is consistent with the Catholic Church's understanding of theology. Monsignor Balducci emphasizes that extraterrestrial encounters 'are not demonic, they are not due to psychological impairment, they are not a case of entity attachment, but these encounters deserve to be studied carefully.' Balducci revealed to a visiting American professional that the Vatican is closely following this phenomenon quietly."

Other newsletters have gone so far as to claim sightings right there in Rome. "Italy is buzzing today with news about the apparent filming that was made of some UFOs over the Vatican by some U.S. ambassador security guards," says another blog.

"The security guards filed a police report regarding their UFO sighting the next day. In a further development other residents of Rome have located what seem to be the spot where the UFOs seen earlier this week touched down. Unusual round marking in the grass can be clearly made out: The hallmarks of many UFO landing spots. Recently the Vatican declared that it is fine to believe in aliens. Now speculation is rife that meetings are taking place between other-worlders and senior Vatican officials." It gets beyond speculative (to the fairly bizarre).

It is true, however, that the Vatican observatory has been issuing statements on the possibility of extraterrestrials. Last November its Pontifical Academy of Sciences held a conference on the subject during which the Pope's chief astronomer, Father Gabriel Funes, was quoted as saying that the existence of extraterrestrials does not preclude a belief in God and that it's a question which can be legitimately explored by the Church.

"Just like there is an abundance of creatures on earth, there could also be other beings, even intelligent ones, that were created by God," said Father Funes, echoing some of the views of Monsignor Balducci. "That doesn't contradict our faith, because we cannot put boundaries to God's creative freedom. As Saint Francis would say, when we consider the earthly creatures to be our 'brothers and sisters,' why couldn't we also talk about a 'extraterrestrial brother'? He would still be part of Creation."

No doubt, there may be life on other planets. In fact, for all we know, the universe is teeming with life. God is a Creator. It even seems logical. The famed scientist Stephen Hawking addressed it recently. Meanwhile, there was an eerie spiral in the skies over Australia last week (perhaps remnants of a rocket) and also -- or so it was claimed -- a strange object over Siberia. "Some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft," physicist Stanton Friedman, who has studied them for half a century, told AOL News (again last week), calling the vast cover-up of their existence "the biggest story of the millennium."

In light of the recent statements from Rome, we still urge caution -- not only because there are hoaxes but also spiritual dangers.

We have warned for years that UFOs are often connected with occult-like settings (seen for example in harmony with New Age or pagan sites); frequently exhibit preternatural (as opposed to mechanical) qualities (appearing and disappearing); and go back to ancient times, including those of the American Indians, who called them "spirit lights." They have been associated in some well-known cases with old Indian burial mounds (see the Allagash abduction in Maine, or Trevor Walton one at Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest). Many "UFOs" are very similar to luminous "orbs" associated with spiritual phenomena (and indeed, there is a "face" in the Siberian object).

Meanwhile, when "aliens" come from these objects, they often exercise psychic phenomena, haunt families for generations, and walk through walls. The fruits of encounters are not usually good, causing stark terror as "aliens" materialize with the appearance of classic slanty-eyed demons; in at least one case we have seen, an ancient voodoo statue matches modern alien depictions.

In some cases, they walk through walls and leave behind the smell of sulfur.

That seems more like spirits than an ET.

Spirits are as clever as they are adaptable. In older times it was leprechauns and gnomes and fairies. In the space age, perhaps it is outer-spacemen. Why would a spaceman who can walk through a wall need a UFO to fly in?  

It is thus dangerous to dabble in this realm. What about those rare cases where physical evidence was allegedly left behind?

The most famous one, at Roswell, New Mexico, may have been a military project. Still, it must be admitted that there are some aspects that remain perplexing. There are crop circles -- strange, otherworldly symbols formed in wheat and corn fields as huge geometric impressions, as if by a hovering craft seeking to communicate. In God-starved, occult-bound England, one such "circle" resembled a giant screened image of a large-eyed alien, along with another pattern with a stunning resemblance to a binary code sent in the 1970s by astronomers as a radio transmission from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico in the event that there is life out there (especially in the Hercules constellation). The crop circle seemed to be using the same code and was found near an English radio-telescope. (It claimed to come from a civilization that inhabits three planets where life is based on silica instead of carbon and the population is several times our own.)

Of all such oddities, the "circles" from around the globe are the most compelling.

A message or an elaborate hoax (in the case of "Arecibo," by astronomers)? Meanwhile, in cases where these circles cannot be explained (and these do exist), might they have been formed by the "prince of the power of the air"?

Our advice: Vatican, beware; move slowly.

For those who like wild speculation, we ask this: would it not be the ultimate deception if after a prolonged period of acclimation "extraterrestrials" were to reveal themselves to us, mesmerize us with their "technology," and present us with a leader, only to turn out to be demonic? (This gets into the realm, of course, of another hotly debated item: the anti-christ.)

However unlikely, the point: demons masquerade. They can have physical effects.

These are musings at a time of much phenomena when we should be duly suspicious of any wonders that do not have Jesus attached to it.

[see also: New crop circle, Discovery leads to speculation on alien life, and Another sky spiral]

[Photo above is not a "UFO" but a mooonlit chapel under lunar circles on the island of Rhodes by Tamas Ladanyi]

[see also: spiritual warfare books]


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