My GetReligion posts run under the rubric "Global Wire," so I may be stepping outside my designated orbit with this one. But since our Hubble site -- excuse me, that should be humble website -- provides us near infinite space (Anyone know just how big the internet actually is?) in which to indulge ourselves, I figure, "Why not indulge?"
(Corny lede, you say? Well, excuse me.)
To get to the point, we're talking universalism. Not the sort of doctrinal universalism you might expect on a site devoted to religion journalism. I'm referring to the spacial universalism of, you know, the universe.
Why? Because of this piece spotted earlier this month on the Website of the Washington Post. How could I pass up a story headlined, "Why the Vatican doesn’t think we’ll ever meet an alien Jesus"?
The story followed July's NASA announcement that it's Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft had discovered one of the closest analogues to our own planet found to date, a planet little more than one and a half times as big in radius as Earth and called Kepler 452b. The plant, said The New York Times, "circles a sunlike star in an orbit that takes 385 days, just slightly longer than our own year, putting it firmly in the 'Goldilocks' habitable zone where the temperatures are lukewarm and suitable for liquid water on the surface -- if it has a surface."
So we're talking the possibility of organic life, no matter how primitive, of a sort recognizable to humans.
Which brings us back to the Post, the Vatican and Jesus.