VATICAN CITY – Two dozen Roman Catholic priests have completed a top-secret program preparing them to serve as missionaries – to outer space!
And the Vatican has ordered the clerics on standby alert – ready to fly off to the stars the minute we make official contact with life on another planet.
“This is a truly staggering development, because for the first time the Church is recognizing that human beings are not the only intelligent creatures in the universe,” theology professor Dr. Rudolph Koller told reporters in Salzburg, Austria.
“And it signals that the Vatican is prepared to spend millions, even billions, of dollars to convert extraterrestrials to a religion that is almost certainly foreign to their own.”
Weekly World News first reported that the Church was training a bold new breed of missionary to travel to Mars and beyond back in January 2004, after word leaked that a secret UFO section had been established at the Vatican University’s Alfonsian Academy.
The program was designed to assure that the Catholic Church leads the way “when the time comes to Christianize alien societies,” a Vatican source said.
During the five years since then, 23 handpicked priests from around the world – including four Americans – have undergone intensive training in “approaches and techniques” to be used in spreading the gospel in space.
“These men are now fully trained to take on the most challenging mission in the history of organized religion,” the source said.
“Pope Benedict XVI has ordered them to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
Father Pierre Sorel, a Vatican theologian, insists it’s vitally important that the Church prepare itself to begin missionary work among the stars.
“The existence of alien races in outer space is hardly certain,” he said. “Still, we cannot afford to ignore space exploration or the possibility of meeting other living creatures.”
But Franco D’Alema, newly elected president of the Rome-based Citizens for Non-Intervention in Alien Affairs, urged the Vatican to abandon its “foolhardy” plan to convert aliens to Catholicism.
“We are about to embark on the most mind-boggling period of discovery mankind has ever seen, a time when we will be introduced to beings unlike anything we can presently imagine,” D’Alema said.
“Let’s not mess it up by preaching and thumping our Bibles. That will only make other residents of the universe grow to despise us.”