Would you baptise an alien?
That is the unusual question posed to students in Leeds by one of the Pope’s astronomers.
Scientific theories and religion look set to collide in a talk by leading papal astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ.
The acclaimed astronomer and Jesuit will share why astronomical research is so important to the Vatican.
Brother Guy is based at the Vatican Observatory headquarters in Castel Gandolfo and he curates the Vatican meteorite collection, which is believed to be one of the largest in the world.
He will deliver a lecture called “Would you baptize an Extra-Terrestrial?” at Leeds Trinity University, which is based in Horsforth.
He said: “I am excited to be coming to Leeds.
“I’ve always enjoyed visiting the north of England and have never actually visited Leeds itself, so that will make this visit special for me.
“And of course, the universities are well known, so I am looking forward to meeting people.”
The leading speaker is reported to have said he would be happy to baptise an alien - but admitted the chances of communicating with life outside the Earth were low.
Brother Guy, who was born in Detroit, studied planetary sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his research explores the connections between meteorites and asteroids.
He spent six weeks collecting meteorites with a team on the blue ice of Antarctica and has published more than 200 scientific publications.
The astronomer will share more about the history of the Vatican Observatory and the importance of astronomical research to the Vatican.
Brother Guy’s lecture forms part of a joint lecture series between the Leeds Trinity University’s chaplaincy and department of theology and religious studies.
Patricia Kelly, senior lecturer in catholic studies at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I’m delighted that Brother Guy has agreed to visit Leeds Trinity - it’s a real honour to have him here.
“He’s one of the best and most exciting speakers on science and religion and having heard him speak before on astronomy and God, I can’t wait to hear him again.”
The lecture will take place in the university’s auditorium from 6.30pm on Friday, April 25.
It is free to attend and for more information email Patricia Kelly at: firstname.lastname@example.org