It looks like conspiracy theorists will grasp on to just about anything.
While the world was watching the white smoke billow from the Sistine Chapel signaling that the Cardinals had elected a new pope in 2013, ufologists noticed something else: what some say is a UFO flying over the Vatican.
Here’s the purported video evidence:
Now, to be clear, UFO stands for “unidentified flying object,” so it doesn’t take much for something to fit that definition. But when people use the term, they usually mean they think the object was an alien spacecraft.
So was the speck of light an alien spacecraft?
It’s highly unlikely, to say the least. One YouTube commenter by the name of “Webelieveinaliens” said simply: “Thats a helicopter. please watch other video’s other angles.” [sic]
But not everyone is convinced.
YouTube commenter “Greg Tyler” writes: “Satan is ‘an angel of light’ … and the pope is about to announce ‘aliens’ but in fact they are the ‘fallen angels / nephilim’ in ‘Genesis 6’ … that are about to bring the beast … compliments of the illuminatti.”
Indeed, there is a whole genre of crazy conspiracy theories that claim the Vatican has already made contact with aliens and is on the verge of “full disclosure.”
Though the Church doesn’t have any definitive teaching on the subject, the Church does not appear to be necessarily opposed to the idea there may be other intelligent life in the universe or that such life may visit earth. The Vatican has hosted at least two conferences on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life (though focused on the non-intelligent variety) and the Vatican astronomer Fr. José Gabriel Funes has said he personally thinks the existence of alien life is likely.