updated 5/13/2008 3:57:50 PM ET 2008-05-13T19:57:50

The Vatican's chief astronomer says that believing in aliens does not contradict faith in God.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures.

The interview was headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother."

Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom.

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