Vatican Looks to Heavens for Signs of Alien Life E.T. phone Rome. Four hundred years after locking up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church. The Church of Rome's views have shifted radically through the centuries since Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for speculating, among other ideas, that other worlds could be inhabited. The Roman Catholic Church's relationship with science has come a long way since Galileo was tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant his finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe. Today, top clergy, including Funes, openly endorse scientific ideas like the Big Bang theory as a reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter. Earlier this year, the Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species." Recent popes have been working to overcome the accusation that the church was hostile to science a reputation grounded in the Galileo affair. --------------- Amazing how much death and destruction came from unprovable "mystical beliefs". Burned at the stake? Could it be more painful.